Episode 93: Pastoring A Movement Part 2

Episode 93: Pastoring A Movement Part 2

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: Becoming a Level Five Multiplying Church Field Guide by Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson with Alan Hirsch

Episode Quotable

Grab your reading glasses and download the PDF here.

About Episode 93

With 25 years of ministry under his belt, James Grogan takes a unique approach to multiplying churches. While most might think of a church movement as building out churches within your own network, EastLake Church Network’s mission is also to help independent churches get off the ground, both spiritually and financially.

The most recent example of this process is in the case of Revé Church. James invited Todd and Shannon Phelps to join EastLake’s six month residency program in preparation for planting their own church in San Diego. He recently announced the launch of the new church to the congregation and encouraged people to join if they felt called to do so, emphasizing that this is part of being a secure leader and spreading the Gospel to more communities.

“I told people [at morning service] today, dude, if you’re sitting here and you feel like you should go, just go,” he says. “I hope you go, because that means there’ll be more room here [in our church] and we’ll all reach more people.”

James hopes to launch multiple church networks through EastLake, all founded on the same mission and same internal structure but serving different communities in the ways they need (for example, the EastLake Network has a church in Playas, Tijuana that offers both English and Spanish services).

“One church, multiple congregations and many communities. That’s how we walk this out.”

Of course, it’s not always easy to take the first steps towards becoming a multiplying church or to avoid feeling threatened by the growth of other churches in your area. What can church leadership do to make this process smoother? What resources are there for pastors feeling called to start a movement?

James recommends Becoming a Level Five Multiplying Church Field Guide as a starting point. For those local to southern California, EastLake is hosting Exponential’s regional conference from October 2nd – 3rd in Chula Vista, which James says is the best way you can help your staff “catch the heart of reproduction and multiplication.”

Another local group is the San Diego Church Plant Movement, founded by James and other leaders a few years ago. Its vision is to nurture a culture and community that will expand the Kingdom across denominations throughout San Diego through prayer, financial aid, and helping each other’s teams. They have already planted seven churches, and James has been inspired by seeing how passionately leaders have been working together to reproduce and multiply.
“It’s happening, man. God’s doing something in San Diego, and I’m so grateful to just be a little part of what’s happening… one of [Jesus’s] greatest prayers is that we would be one. And I’m seeing that in San Diego, I’m feeling it. There’s proof of it happening.”

As a closing message, James addresses the insecurities pastors face when seeing new churches popping up nearby and the temptation to compare your ministry to others. In the back of your mind, you may be asking, “‘You want me to put somebody on my stage that’s starting a church seven miles away? But what if my best people go? What if my biggest givers go?’… You wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t [have that thought].”

He shares a story of a friend who was asked to assist Todd Phelps in launching Revé Church. Although his friend was fully supportive of Todd’s mission, he admitted to James that he had doubts. However, after inviting Todd to preach at his church and announcing Revé to the congregation, he was surprised to receive praise for doing so.

“It ranged from people going, ‘That’s why I love this church, because we’re not just about us, we’re about the community and we’re about reaching more people’… [to] ‘Man, you are such a secure leader. I’m so glad that I serve under your leadership.’”

What’s the takeaway here? It’s only human to be worried about losing members of your congregation if you help other churches grow and multiply around you, but in the end it will strengthen your leadership and help you and your congregation to stay Kingdom-minded.

“Sometimes there’s that tension of like, ‘oh man, I don’t have enough’ or ‘what if…?’ That’s scarcity thinking. We’re not called to have scarcity thinking. [God] owns it all, He has it all, and He promised to do it all. It’s His Church and He said He’ll build it.”

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