Innovative Australian Youth Church Reaches Brisbane’s Arts Community

by | Dec 31, 2001 | Charisma Archive

Meeting in a warehouse, a church of mostly 20-somethings has rescued people from suicide and homosexuality
By the time *Susan Clark (not her real name) of Brisbane, Australia, was 21, she had moved 25 times, lived with six lesbian girlfriends, marched in four gay-pride parades, spent more than $5,000 on drugs and had flings with more than 50 people of both sexes, including one transsexual.


Then, two years ago, a fellow acting-school student offered her another new experience. They went together to Christian City Church Westside (CCCW), and that day Jesus became Clark’s “best mate,” she says.


“I went up for a prayer. I’d been to fortunetellers, and I thought I was going to experience the same thing. Boy, was I wrong,” Clark said. “I cried: ‘I’m sorry, Jesus. I didn’t know. I wasted so much time.’ The presence of God hit me like a freight train.”


Brisbane’s inner-city West End neighborhood hosts a large student population amid a milieu of theater, music and arts. The lifestyle of the area removes moral boundaries. Drugs and extramarital sex are rife, as is youth suicide.


Grant Windle, senior pastor of CCCW, founded the church in 1995 with his wife, Cheryl; their sons, Joel and Ben; and several who shared their vision to create a culturally relevant church that would connect with the area’s youth. Meetings were held in community halls, but the young church struggled.


“For five years the church I was looking at did not resemble the church I had in my heart,” Windle said. “That can be a pretty tough scenario year after year.”


Then, some 20 months ago, they leased and renovated a West End warehouse. Suddenly the church burst into growth. “It started with one or two from the acting [community] that got dramatically saved, and then they brought somebody, and they brought somebody else,” he said. “Before long we had a crowd.”


The current congregation of 200 has an average age of 24. Windle is careful not to force newcomers into a mold but to accept them for who they are.


Bradford Power, 23, was the friend who introduced Clark to Westside. “After three failed relationships with girls I began to question my identity and sexuality,” he said. “The gay scene introduced me to recreational drug-taking. Every weekend was an escape from my search for love. I was lonely, insecure and afraid that no one could truly love me.


“One night I cried out to God, ‘If You’re real, please help me!’ Two weeks later my flatmate Cindy got saved and led me to the Lord.”


Windle believes social change has stranded many churches, leaving them powerless to influence people such as Clark and Power. Though Windle focuses on genuine conversion and renewing the mind in Christ, he also fosters a party atmosphere.


“We’ve deliberately done that so they can bring their friends to church,” he said. “They’re bringing people all the time. I’d say 90 percent of the unsaved people who walk through the doors respond to the altar call.”


For Korinne Bradley, 19, salvation came just in time. “I attempted suicide at least seven times before I even left secondary school. In 2000 I was a top student at university, politically active on campus, talented and [in] medical school. By all accounts I had a bright future,” Bradley said.


“Despite all I had going for me, I felt no reason to live. Then somehow I ended up at a youth home group and gave Jesus my heart. I knew I really wanted to live, so I began to fight back for my life. I fought through my depression, my past abuse, my lesbianism, my pain. God gave me back my life.”


Bradley was taken in by one of CCCW’s few families, who Bradley said has “built me up so I could face the world again.”


Windle honors God for the growth, but stresses it is only a beginning.


“The evidence is in the changed lives and the mobilization of these young people. They’re going to preach; they’re going to be awesome in what they do.”
–Adrian Brookes in Australia

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

This Coach Can Help You Destroy Your Addiction to Pornography

Let’s talk about a subject most people want to avoid. Let’s talk about pornography. According to Covenant Eyes, statistics show that 28,258 users are watching pornography every second, and 20% of mobile online searches are for porn. Among Christians, 20% of youth...

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

The Real Truth About the Marriage of Politics and Faith

As I look back, I realize that God has given me a career path with some rather unique experiences. I have built bridges at the intersection of faith and government my whole life, and I have learned that serving people through a role in government can be just as...

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

Joyce Meyer: Winning the Battle Against Satan in Your Mind

If you have received Christ as your Savior, then you have an enemy. Did you know that? I know some people feel uncomfortable talking about the devil, but he is real and it’s important for us to face the truth about him so we can have a victorious life in Christ. Now,...

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

It’s Time to Rebuild Love and Unity in the Church—Part 2

Note: As we move towards Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement, Grant Berry, a Messianic believer, speaks about the deeper repentance needed in the Messianic part of the family. As you have read part one of this article during the month of Av and are now reading part two in the...

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

Will Many of the Elect Really Be Deceived by the Antichrist?

The most sobering and troubling statement in the Olivet Discourse is where Jesus says, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24). This statement cries out for an...

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophetic Lessons in the Hurricane-Force Storms of Life

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe34pxhddd4 With Hurricane Ian slamming Florida, it's a time to reflect on the storms of life. As I was preparing for the hurricane, I documented some thoughts about...
Why God Cares About Your Physical Health

Why God Cares About Your Physical Health

God doesn’t care if I am fat. He wants me to enjoy my life. He wants me to live, love and be happy. Food makes me happy so I’m just doing what He wants me to do. That was just an excuse and at its core it is untrue. God really doesn’t care about our outward...

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

An Unborn Baby’s Heart Is Beating—Stop Denying It

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams turned heads last week in Atlanta when she defiantly announced during a political event that an unborn baby doesn’t have a heartbeat at six weeks gestation. “There is no such thing as a heartbeat at six weeks,” said...

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

Prophecy: We Are in a Season of Blessings

We are kingdom citizens, and not of this world. We don’t abide by this world’s economy and the natural things that happen. Repeatedly, over the last four weeks, I’ve been hearing not to look at the circumstances of this world. We are not of this world. Get your eyes...

Pin It on Pinterest