December 2, 1967 |
|Occupation||Minister, author, speaker|
Craig Groeschel (born December 2, 1967) is the founder and senior pastor of Life.Church, the largest church in the United States with twenty seven locations in eight states. He is married to Amy and has six children. They live in Edmond, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City, where Life.Church is based.
Groeschel was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in southern Oklahoma, attending Ardmore High School. After high school, he attended Oklahoma City University on a tennis scholarship and was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and received a bachelor's degree in Marketing. Shortly thereafter, he met his wife Amy and the two married in 1991. That same year, Groeschel entered the ministry as an associate pastor in the United Methodist Church. He attended Phillips Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and earned a Master of Divinity degree. He was an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City during the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing.
In 1996, Groeschel and a handful of people started Life Covenant Church in a two-car garage. He later told Business Week that he started the process by performing market research of non-churchgoers and designed his church in response to what he learned. Groeschel’s non-traditional style was successful and attendance of Life Covenant grew rapidly, eventually evolving to become (as of September 2016) the largest church in the United States with twenty five Life.Church campuses. Groeschel began using video to deliver some of his sermons, when his fourth child was born in 2001, and he was unavailable for the Sunday service, discovering that the videos were popular with his churchgoers. In 2006, he set up a website called Mysecret.tv as a place for people to confess anonymously on the Internet. Groeschel also began delivering his services to the Second Life virtual world on Easter Sunday 2007.
Life.Church was named America’s Most Innovative Church by Outreach Magazine in 2007 and 2008. Life.Church innovations include its free resource library with sermons, transcripts, videos, artwork, and a digerati team that develops free software like ChurchOnlinePlatform.com and YouVersion the Bible app, which has been downloaded over 200 million times by December 2015.
According to Newsmax website, Life.Church is listed on the top 50 churches of America in 2015, being the largest church with approximately 100,000 people attending weekly.
Craig Groeschel started a free podcast in 2016 about leadership; he believes that a person does not have to know it all to become a great leader. In his podcast, he focuses on helping people reach their maximum leadership potential.
- "Top 50 America's Mega Churches", The wire, News max.
- "Leadership Team", Life Church, retrieved February 20, 2010.
- Emily M. Bernstein, "Terror in Oklahoma: The Displaced; Its Building Is Shattered, But Church Survives", New York Times, April 24, 1995.
- Julie DelCour, "Public Chapel to Open At Site of OC Church", Tulsa World, June 22, 1995.
- William C. Symonds, "Earthly Empires: How evangelical churches are borrowing from the business playbook, BusinessWeek, May 23, 2005.
- Cathy Lynn Grossman, "Multi-site churches mean pastors reach thousands", USA Today, December 17, 2009.
- Cathy Lynn Grossman, "Pastors debate video's pros, cons", USA Today, December 16, 2009.
- Bill Sherman, "Message in the medium", Tulsa World, August 21, 2004.
- Neela Bannerjee, "Intimate Confessions Pour Out on Church’s Web Site", New York Times, September 1, 2006.
- "Thousands of evangelical Christians confessing on-line", Catholic News Agency, September 4, 2006.
- Stephanie Simon, "It's Easter; shall we gather at the desktops?", Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2007.
- Lillian Kwon, "Life.Church Named Most Innovative Church", The Christian Post, January 16, 2009.
- Lillian Kwon, "Innovative Church Leaders Move Into the Neighborhood", The Christian Post
- "America’s 25 Most Innovative Churches of 2008" at Churchrelevance.com.
- Megachurch Spends Years on Innovations, Then Gives Them Away for Free (Christian Post, June 7, 2013)
- YouVersion Bible App Tops 100 Million Downloads; Releases Series of Infographics (Christian Post, 7/9/13)
- Newsmax's Top 50 Megachurches in America
- "Leadership Podcast". Life Church. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
- Chazown: A Different Way to See Your Life (2006) ISBN 1-59052-547-7
- Confessions of a Pastor (2006) ISBN 1-59052-720-8
- Going All the Way: Preparing for a Marriage That Goes the Distance (2007) ISBN 1-59052-938-3
- It – How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It (2008) ISBN 0-310-28682-4
- The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn't Exist (2010) ISBN 0-310-32789-X
- Weird: Because Normal Isn't Working (2011) ISBN 0-310-32790-3
- Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World (2012) ISBN 0-310-33368-7
- Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are (2013) ISBN 0-310-33371-7
- Fight: Winning the Battles that Matter Most (2013) ISBN 0-310-33374-1
- From this Day Forward: Five Commitments To Fail-Proof Your Marriage (2014) ISBN 978-0-310-33748-5
- #Struggles: Following Jesus in a Selfie-centered World (2015) ISBN 978-0-310-34293-9
- Divine Direction: 7 desicions that will change your life (2017) ISBN 978-0-310-34283-0
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