This is the way I’ve heard the story of Lifechurch’s inception, though admittedly it comes second hand:
Craig Groeschel was the associate pastor at First United Methodist Church when it was damaged by the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. In 1996 he decided to confront his senior pastor and his District Superintendent about creating a seeker friendly church that had an online worship component. The answer he got back was “we’re not ready for that.” So he left and created his own church in a two car garage.
Today, Lifechurch.tv has 15 satellite campuses and considers themselves the largest church in the United States with 46,000 weekly participants.
In 2008, they created the popular App YouVersion, an app dedicated to getting people to read the Bible. YouVersion was the first of it’s kind an remains the most popular Bible app. It is available for practically any format.
For a while now, they have had a full time staff person titled “Leader of Innovation.” That persons primary responsibility to get them to constantly think outside the box.
Worship is not tied to Sunday mornings, and a single pastor would not be expected to preach every week. Instead, some of them take a different time slot each week and people from other campuses or the internet can watch them remotely. Each campus is setup like a recording studio. They give over 50 messages a week.
The lack of preaching responsibilities allows for there to be more specialized ministers. Those with the best preaching skills are likely to get featured more for that role.
Individual campuses use facebook as their community hub – if you want to see a video or find the schedule, you have to go to facebook.
In addition to their physical locations, they have a separate location called “Church Online” for those people that see the online environment as their worship community.
Lifechurch.tv raises some interesting questions, like:
Why didn’t it become a United Methodist ministry. Could it have become one?
They’re effective at getting their message out Globally, but is there substantial ministry happening locally?
How often do you see all three “theirs” in a question?