Episode 92: Pastoring A Movement Part 1

Episode 92: Pastoring A Movement Part 1

Through 25 years of ministry service, James Grogan has learned that the healthiest way to grow your church and expand God’s Kingdom is through coming alongside other churches and working together as church leaders. He is currently lead pastor at EastLake Church as well as a founder of the San Diego Church Plant Movement, whose mission is to bring spiritual renewal to the community.



  1. EastLake Church: https://eastlake.church
  2. EastLake Church Network Mergers: https://merger.church
  3. Revé Church: https://reve.church
  4. San Diego Church Plant Movement: https://sdcpm.org
  5. Instagram: @jamesgrogan619
  6. Book: Exponential by Dave and Jon Ferguson

Episode Quotable

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About Episode 92

As the lead pastor of EastLake Church, James Grogan knows a thing or two about healthy, God-led pastoral succession.

James began working at EastLake 16 years ago under the mentorship of Pastor Mike Meeks. He served in almost every possible role within the rapidly growing church, and eventually he and Mike came together to plan James’s succession to the role of lead pastor, while Mike would become pastor emeritus.

“We walked that out in a super healthy way,” James says. “God’s grace was all over it.”

James points out one of the key aspects that helped them to ease into the transition was Mike’s confidence and secureness in his role as a leader. “Mike never has viewed the church as his; he’s always viewed it as Jesus’s. He never was holding anything back and I was never grabbing for anything. I think that’s why it’s worked so well.”

EastLake is now gaining recognition as a powerful movement church, building its foundation on a Purpose Driven vision. After reading Exponential by Dave and Jon Ferguson, James was inspired to help EastLake become a movement church and to grow the number of Jesus-centered communities and churches in America.

The Exponential Group has defined Five Levels of Church Multiplication:

  • Level One: churches that are declining
  • Level Two: churches whose growth has plateaued
  • Level Three: churches growing in members, devotion, and services
  • Level Four: churches intentionally reproducing disciples, leaders, and churches
  • Level Five: churches that are multiplying exponentially (movement churches)

This October, EastLake will be recognized as a Level Four church in Outreach Magazine’s list of 100 Reproducing Churches in America, and James is hoping to soon reach Level Five.

James’s vision for the next two decades of growth for EastLake includes launching 50 new churches, not only by building them within the EastLake Network, but also by coming alongside independent churches to help foster new life within them (more on this in Part 2 of our conversation).

However, James has learned that it’s the small things, from raising up apprentices to adding new church ministries, that are critically important as a foundation for healthy church growth.

“We will never do the macro (starting new churches) if we can’t do the micro – making disciples, raising up leaders in every ministry and every circle in our church… To get to the macro, you have to become really good and infuse it at every level of your culture on the micro.”

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