Multiplication Center

Multi-site Church Road Trip – Craig Groeschel and Shared Communication

September 9, 2009

This is the first of a series of posts containing conversations that we recently had with some of the senior pastors featured in our new book – A Multi-site Church Road Trip.  In each post you will gain additional insights by getting updates about the featured church and hearing the heart of the leader. 

First up – Craig Groeschel,

Q: Craig, you and the team at have really pioneered the most effective model of using what we call a shared communicator in the Multi-site Church Road Trip.  Beyond your excellent communication skills, what are some of the primary reasons it works for you to be the primary teaching pastor and directional leader for a campus that is literally a couple of time zones away?
A: Greg, first of all, I’m actually doing less teaching now than in the past. We are working hard to develop more speakers on our team and effectively using guest speakers. Even with this shift, we still generally have one communicator broadcast to all the campuses. Having only one person preparing a message, frees the other pastors to spend more time shepherding people and leading their teams. Rather than being the directional leaders for the extended campus, we’re also allowing our campuses more autonomy to make decisions in their community.

Q: You have developed a model for connection with that has three tiers – Open, Network and United. Why “qualifies” a church to become a part of the tightest affiliation – United?
A: Far more churches are becoming a Network Church rather than a United Church. As of today, we have 74 Network Churches. These are totally separate 501c-3s that use our weekly teaching. (Many also use our kids curriculum and worship all at no charge.) Churches who are part of the Network are reporting great responses and stories of changed lives from their members and attendees. In order for a United partnership to occur, we’re looking for a unique set of circumstances where we can do more together than apart. Only in rare situations is it worth uniting since merging churches can be painful, and there are so many effective ways to partner.

Q: It is not news that you, and other pastors of large multi-site churches, are sometimes accused of building your own kingdom … of limiting the leadership potential of others because of your “celebrity status”.  When you get these calls and emails, how do you respond?
A: People may say that, but I rarely hear it. Truthfully, we believe that we are building great leaders and don’t pay a lot of attention to uninformed criticisms.


roadsignsQ: What is new about the multi-site ministry at since we last talked?
A: We continue to become more passionate about serving the broader body of Christ. Rather than simply focusing on building more campuses, we are focusing on building the Church at large. On our personal learning curve, we have learned that our multi site strategy works better in medium sized and larger campuses. We haven’t learned to do multi-site at small campuses well. We’re trying to learn from others who do church in small venues effectively.

Q:What have I not asked that I should have?
A: You didn’t ask me what I’m pumped about! I’m pumped to see generosity and Kingdom mindedness in churches across the world. So many anointed Christian leaders are working together. I honestly believe that together we can make a significant difference in the world! I’m also very excited about what God is doing through church online. This is a fantastic tool to take the message of Christ to people who might not experience it otherwise. I’m excited about all the different ministries God is blessing.


Stay tuned for tomorrow’s conversation with Dave Browning, author of Deliberate Simplicity and lead pastor at Christ the King Community Church.  You will get the behind-the-scenes scoop on International Campuses – the multi-site church gone global!


We would love to have us help spread the word about Multi-site Church Road Trip.  We have developed a free online resource – Multi-site Church Toolkit: Launch Analysis that we will send to anyone who completes one of the following. 

  • Buys a copy of the book
  • Posts this tweet – Get a copy of Multi-site Church Road Trip Now at
  • Posts a comment on this blog or creates a post on your own blog.
  • Posts a review on

Once you have completed one of the items above send an email to indicating where you purchased the book or made your post and we will send you the free resource.

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To see all posts for the tour, select tour stop from the category sidebar.

Twitter – @gregligon @geoffsurratt @warren bird #mscr  #leadnet

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