At the end of 2011, David Cunningham returned to the US with his family and Peter Bradbury became the full time pastor of Christ Community Church. Prior to his leaving, we sat down with David and asked him to talk about the history of the church. What follows is a pseudo-transcript of that conversation, but if you just want the essentials, here is the summary:
Brisbane is a long way from Griffin, Georgia. What brought you to Australia?
DC: In 1998, I joined Mission To The World (MTW) to come to Australia for campus ministry. There was already a team at Griffith University and we were invited to join the ‘small but important work’ at The University of Queensland.
When did the idea of a church plant in Brisbane come up?
DC: Well, as university students involved in our ministry began to graduate we realised there was a need to further help them grow into lifelong labourers for Christ.
A church home is important when you think about building a labourer for God’s kingdom. You have four years on the campus but you need much longer than that. You need a relationship with a church that students can come into and grow as young workers. It’s essential if you want to have a big impact.
We looked around at churches to partner with, but most of them were a long way from the uni. We had about one hundred students involved; we had to do something.
Yet other good reasons to plant became obvious when we began to ask, “Is Brisbane saturated with Bible-teaching, mission-oriented, gospel-focused churches?” So it was a mix of good opportunities and difficult circumstances.
And you put up your hand and said, “I’ll be the pastor!”?
DC: No, we asked someone else and I was going to be the offsider. When he took another opportunity, everyone turned and looked at me. I was headed towards becoming a pastor, maybe in the US, but as this came up, we thought, “Maybe this is what God would have us do.”
We didn’t commit straight away, but had a furlough in the US. We put our possessions in storage with a shipping company, because if we got over to the US and stayed, we could just make a call and it’d be ready. That’s how much in limbo we were. But as soon as we returned to the US, and I started interacting with churches and people, I knew my heart was in Australia. Within weeks, we were like, “No, we’re going back.”
Who made up the Launch Team of Christ Community?
DC: There were nine staff members from Uni-Impact, a church-planting couple from MTW and a young engine