Christian Outreach Centre
(often referred to as "COC") is an international movement of churches founded in 1974 by former Methodist
minister Clark Taylor
. Christian Outreach Centre numbers over 1000 congregations in over 30 countries worldwide including the UK.
Taylor launched the first congregation with 25 people in his house in Brisbane
. The meetings were characterised by lively worship, including clapping and dancing, and an emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit
. They regularly included "altar calls" in which people would come to the front of the meeting to receive prayer. The COC Church grew rapidly over the next few years, moving several times as it outgrew its venues. It gained a reputation for welcoming marginalised people, including the homeless, drug addicts and ex-criminals. By 1977 COC numbered over 1000 people, and began planting new congregations in nearby towns. The television programme "A New Way of Living", produced by the church, included many apparent claims of miraculous healing. By 1985, the Brisbane church met in a purpose-built 5000-seat auditorium.
By 1988, the movement had grown to 136 congregations, including groups in New Zealand and the Solomon Islands as well as Australia. In 1990, following the resignation of Clark Taylor, Neil Miers was appointed International President. David McDonald is the current Australian Chairman who also Pastors Sydney COC. Between 1991 and 1996 COC churches commenced in South Africa, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Germany, South America, Tonga, Western Samoa, Spain and the United Kingdom. In 1997 COC opened its first United States churches and in 1998 Argentina and Bolivia.
In 1989, with the help of pastor Clark Taylor a European base was established by Australian Pastors Ian & Sue Spencer who pioneered a church in Swindon, England and stood along with the two churches in Scotland, another two in England one in Germany and one in Holland. They acted as the European Base for the ministry until Ashley and Ruth Schmierer relocated from Australia in 1993 and established a permanent base in Brighton in the South East. Ashley Schmierer was voted in as president of Christian Outreach Centre in September 2008.
Annual Conferences (Australia)
Annual Conferences (Europe)
- European Conference [Recently renamed Eurasia Conference] - usually falls on the first week of August
- Relentless, UK National Youth Conference
- Vivacious! European Ladies Conference
YouthNet is the Youth arm for COC in Australia.
State Directors (Australia)
- NSW/ACT - Jack and Ashya McDonald
- Queensland - Dave and Bec Connett
- Victoria - Craig and Chris Anderson
- South Australia - Tim Howard
- Western Australia - Rebekah and Ryan Prosser
Conferences & Camps
There are generally 2 major conferences within the year for YouthNet states in Australia.
One is the State/Regional Camp held within each state usually in the last quarter of the year.
The annual HUGE Leadership Conference is held in April for NSW & Victoria and in February for Queensland.
Many local YouthNet ministries also plan their own camps and conferences throughout the year.
Some local YouthNet Ministries include:
Uninet provides support services to university parties, functions and events for universities across Australia.
UniNet have market day stalls during O-week at local campuses with year planners, bags with vouchers from local businesses and other, often random, contents.
Uninet provides a harm minimisation strategy with safety/relax areas at parties called ‘chill out’ zones and provides a referral service to party organisers for any students in distress from excessive alcohol consumption or other health issues. They provide water stations, donuts, red frogs and water ice blocks at no cost to the party patrons. In addition to the these stations Uninet also has mobile teams which can work their way through crowds with fliud other than alcohol to assist in keeping hydration. In most cases, 90 per cent of provided chill-zones are run and lead by students from the local university or residential college. `Uninet makes supports drinkers by looking out for them in the 'chill-out' and general party zones.
Uninet also makes effort to support non-drinking students with a message that: "you don't have to get smashed off your face to have a good time" communicating the message in a non-verbal and non-confrontatinal way by means of role-modelling.
Primarily the largest part of Uninet is Hotel Chaplaincy
(or the Red Frog Crew). The largest and most trusted University and Schoolies support network in Australia and South Africa, HC was birthed in 1997 by its current director Andy Gourley. HC is primarily under UniNet and works closely with YouthNet.
HC provides three main services:
- Red Frog Crew Hotel Chaplaincy Support Program
- Red Frog Crew High-school Education Program
- Red Frog Entertainment
Founded in 1986, the Christian Heritage College
, Brisbane, Queensland
describes itself on its website as '"established in 1986 as a result of Christian Outreach Centre
’s vision for Christian higher education"'