On August 6, 1998 I held a public meeting in Chancellor Park to discuss the need for a church to serve the growing community. As a result, on September 27, 1998 Chancellor Park Community Church was launched.
But we’re jumping ahead; let me take you back a few years, because even though this date marks the church’s birth, its beginning came about years earlier, as people from different corners of the world prayed for the region and prepared for the ministry.
A few local Queenslanders recognized the growing need and started praying; Rachel and I travelled to the USA to engage in theological studies; and a church in Colorado committed to pray for Australia. Of course, it took God to bring us all together, but by mid-1995, plans were well underway for a church plant in Queensland that would become CPCC.
The path that led to where the church now finds itself was paved by committed people getting on their knees. These people are too numerous to mention, but many were from a church in Colorado called Rocky Mountain Bible Church.
In 1995, RMBC invited four international students from Dallas Theological Seminary to present a missions conference at the church. I was one of them. Following this conference, the church developed an ongoing relationship with us, and after two summers of interning at RMBC, we were asked if we would prayerfully consider church planting back home in Australia. The thought terrified us. But God wouldn’t quit whispering it in my ear.
The combination of circumstances, advice, Scripture, and prayer that God used to pave the path from there to here would take longer to put into words than time now allows. But it stands as an irrefutable testimony to God’s hand in this ministry. In fact, no other church can claim the same beginnings as CPCC.
Even so, when Rachel and I arrived in Queensland, doubts started to surface; Who am I to pull this off? What on earth have I agreed to do? We had no job, a two year old boy (and another about to arrive), no home, no building, no people interested in joining us, and we knew no one on the coast. Hindsight proves that God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect will!
God directed us to the Buderim/Sippy Downs region as the site for this ministry after an extensive survey of Queensland, demographic studies, and a three week inspection of potential areas. Initial funds from Rocky Mountain Bible Church provided the means to get started, a public survey revealed a community desire for the church, and those who had been praying for the area met for a home Bible study following the initial August meeting in 1998. Within a month, we were meeting on Sundays in Alcooringa Hall, Buderim, to prepare for a public launch, but the road that led there started many miles and many years earlier.
I’ll never forget the first week. As people turned up, I was both terrified and excited. More than that, I was surprised when they kept coming back! By keeping our purpose and approach clear we did lose a number of people. But that was as necessary then as it is now, to keep this ministry unique.
In 2002 we outgrew Alcooringa Hall and shifted into Chancellor State College, which had just built a hall perfect for our growing congregation. We soon outgrew this hall and shifted into a Performing Arts Centre while the school renovated and expanded, giving us our current facility.
There have been numerous milestones along the way. The most exciting have been the people who have come into a relationship with their Saviour. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.
We’ve also seen home grown missionaries raised and sent out from Chancellor to different corners of the globe, missions trips, Israel teaching trips, and local ministries such as our Uni-Shop bus serving our local students. Our charity, One Step Alliance, is heavily involved in the lives of those who are disadvantaged in our region. It’s helped reverse unemployment, boost the self-esteem of disengaged teens, and show God’s love in hands-on ways.
The developer of Chancellor Park once said, “It’s the major residential area of a whole new town on the Sunshine Coast, which is built around education as the main industry… It will result in increased and higher quality services and facilities… whatever the needs of the population are, they will be met.” The population expressed that church was a need in an extensive community survey, so the Community Church works toward meeting this end. They also expressed their disinterest in churches that were either “dry and dull” or “weird and wacky.” Of course, we make no claim of being the answer; there’s room for more than one type of church in the region. But we are aware that churches are often not relevant to the culture outside their walls, and that the culture shock people feel when they step into a church is the main reason they never return! So at CPCC we’ve purposed since day one, to offer a relaxed service that can be watched without involvement, and a ministry that seeks to be relevant to our culture, yet grounded in our Scripture.
The journey to this point has been exciting, fulfilling, and rewarding, and I invite you to join us on that path as we look to God for the future.