Ministry Today 21:

Technology and innovation in Edmond, Oklahoma, sets the standard for churches in technology development and innovation. (

Technology and Innovation

The church isn't contained to a building, and no one better exemplifies this than, a church that meets weekly in locations across the U.S. and globally online. Following a vision from God of creating a new church model, Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel and a handful of others launched in 1996.

The church is based in Edmond, Oklahoma, with 13 additional locations throughout the state; however, also currently operates campuses in New York, Texas, Tennessee and Florida and is one of America's fastest-growing churches.

Beyond these physical campuses,'s unique online church ministry has literally redefined the ways believers can be united in worship each week. Church Online is available at over 61 different times throughout the week, making the current worship service and teaching accessible in a variety of time zones. Furthermore, LifeGroups even meet online or on Facebook, giving participants unique ways to engage with others interested in discipleship and small group study.

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"As a church, we'll do anything short of sin to reach people who don't know Christ. To reach people no one is reaching, we'll need to do things no one is doing," says Pastor and Innovation Leader Bobby Gruenewald. "That's why we've taken an unconventional approach to using creative media."

With a solid mission to help individuals, families and small groups become fully devoted followers of Christ, has developed online tools for discipleship, including video series, podcasts, apps and ready-made social media content that can be used to study the Bible and draw people into conversations about the gospel. Led by Gruenewald, a media and communications team pays the utmost attention to graphic design, user-friendly functionality and continual ingenuity that provides fresh ways to engage people with the truth of God's Word. It also ensures stays on the forefront of technology and has enabled it to become a true leader in innovation. provides numerous resources for worship, discipleship and spiritual growth—such as the YouVersion Bible App, Church Online platform and Church Metrics—free of charge. This unorthodox gratis model has produced an unprecedented cycle of generosity from users that supports's efforts. It enables it to continue to sustain creativity and produce original tools that allow people in various stages of their spiritual journeys to learn about Christ and apply His teachings to their lives.

With ambitious goals that extend beyond the four walls of a church building or even the confines of a computer screen, has seen denominational and legalistic barriers broken down under a banner of uniting believers.

In 2013, nearly 6 million people visited Church Online, with more than 9,800 reportedly making a decision for Christ. At the forefront of digital technology and leveraging new media to reach people for Christ, is able to bring the gospel message to many who have become disenchanted with the idea of church and to some who wouldn't otherwise engage in traditional worship.    —Lindsay Williams

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