Leaders of Oklahoma City’s Crossings Community Church didn’t set out to create a huge church.
“It’s staggering. We didn’t set out to do that at all,” said Marty Grubbs, senior pastor at Crossings, where worship attendance has tripled from about 1,500 nine years ago to 4,500 today.
Crossings is one of many Oklahoma nondenominational and nontraditional churches that have had phenomenal growth in recent years — even while some mainline churches struggle.
Observers of religious trends can’t help but marvel at the mushrooming attendance at churches like People’s Church in Oklahoma City and Life Church, a multicampus church headquartered in Edmond.
People’s Church began with 65 people meeting in the Quail Springs Mall movie theater in 2002. The congregation had barely completed construction on a new church at 800 E Britton Road when it was forced to expand because of burgeoning attendance that now exceeds 1,800.
Life Church started with a handful of people meeting at a rented dance studio in Edmond in 1996, but has grown to 13 campuses in six states that serve more than 21,000 people a week with the help of satellite television.
Grubbs described Life Church pastor Craig Groeschel as a “visionary” in the use of satellite television and technology to spread the gospel. Grubbs said he envies People’s Church pastor Herbert Cooper for the great job he has done creating a vibrant, racially mixed congregation.
When it comes to growth, Grubbs said he believes nondenominational churches have an advantage over denominational churches because independent churches don’t have to deal with national church leaders splitting congregations by taking stances on controversial issues such as gay clergy.