Beliefs + History


College Church History

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The Olathe Church of the Nazarene (now College Church of the Nazarene) was born in revival in the winter of 1930-1931 with Evangelist C. J. Garrett and was organized with 18 charter members. Garrett was the first pastor and during the first 25 years, there were nine others that led the church. It didn’t have a permanent home, so the congregation met in three different locations – a creamery, the former Presbyterian Church at Loula and Water, and a former munitions building relocated at Cedar and Walnut Streets in Olathe. During these years, average attendance was 21.5 and peaked at 35.

1930-1931Olathe Church of the Nazarene | Founding

During the pastorate of Ramon Vanderpool (1951-1956), the church made plans for a permanent home and built at Lee and Wabash. Evangelist James McGraw opened the church with revival services on Sunday, May 1, 1955. In 1964, the church entered a new era with the arrival of Paul G. Cunningham as pastor. The church membership was only 46 then and Cunningham’s house-to-house community outreach saw attendance climb. This enabled the church to mark its budgets “Paid in Full” for the first time in 1965, and to raise a record $1,300 for world missions, which remains an outreach focus today.

1951-1956Pastorate of Ramon Vanderpool

Around the same time Cunningham began talking with longtime friend of the church, R. R. Osborne, about the possibility of opening a Christian liberal arts college as part of a General Assembly plan to extend higher education opportunities. It didn’t take long for Osborne to make an offer. He would donate 40 acres and a group of Olatheans would purchase another 40 acres. Utility lines would be brought to the site and the City of Olathe would approve $1.5 million in industrial bonds to fund construction. OFFER ACCEPTED!

R.R. and Mrs. Osborne also donated a five acre site to Olathe Church of the Nazarene for relocation. The first service was held in the sanctuary at 2020 East Sheridan on August 25, 1968, with dedication of the new sanctuary following in November with the new name College Church of the Nazarene.

1965-1968"College Church of the Nazarene"

The opening service coincided with the opening of Mid-America Nazarene College (now MidAmerica Nazarene University) located at 2030 East College Way. The church-college relationship has sent pastors, teachers, missionaries, and Christian laypeople now serving God around the world. Many alumni have settled in the Olathe area and are serving in local ministries. With the growth of the congregation, the church built a second sanctuary in 1972, now called Uphaus Hall to honor longtime members Arthur and Mattie Uphaus. Later, classrooms were added in the lower level of Uphaus, providing space for youth programs.

By 1977, two Sunday morning services were held each week in Uphaus and church leaders realized they had again outgrown the meeting space. So they built a new sanctuary, which opened its doors in 1981. The Vanderpool and King additions provided more classrooms and offices, and were followed by the Cunningham Family Life Center, which accommodates youth and recreational programs for all ages. In 1993, Reverend Cunningham was elected to be a General Superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene.

1968-1993Continued Growth

He was followed by Reverend J.K. Warrick as pastor in 1994, who served until he was elected General Superintendent in 2005. September 10, 2006 marked the beginning of Reverend David Graves’ tenure as pastor. David Graves was elected a General Superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene in 2009. Rick Power, a 1977 graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University, became pastor on Sunday, December 6, 2009 and invigorated the church with a welcome, world-Christian perspective that has fueled the church’s outreach ministries while providing new opportunities for members and guests.

In April 2014, Pastor Power was called back to Hawaii, where he had served for many years, this time as District Superintendent of the Hawaii District.


The church announced in September 2014 that Dave Sharpes would be the new Lead Pastor. With pastoral roles at Crossroads Church of the Nazarene and Fairview Church of the Nazarene and service as District Superintendent of the New York District Assembly, Pastor Sharpes has brought a wealth of experience and a profound love of teaching the Gospel to Olathe. College Church continues to share the love of Christ though their involvement in local, (food pantry, service projects, ministry to single moms, neighborhood Vacation Bible Schools) national (church planting, college scholarship fund) and world wide (missionaries, disaster relief, theological education).

2014-PresentCollege Church Today

What is the Church of the Nazarene?

The Church of the Nazarene traces its anniversary date to 1908. Its organization was a marriage that, like every marriage, linked existing families and created a new one. As an expression of the holiness movement and its emphasis on the sanctified life, our founders came together to form one people. Utilizing evangelism, compassionate ministries, and education, their church went forth to become a people of many cultures and tongues.

Number of Members


# of World Areas Today


Core Values of the Church of the Nazarene

We are a Christian People

As members of the Church Universal, we join with all true believers in proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ and in affirming the historic Trinitarian creeds and beliefs of the Christian faith. We value our Wesleyan-Holiness heritage and believe it to be a way of understanding the faith that is true to Scripture, reason, tradition, and experience.

We are a Holiness People

God, who is holy, calls us to a life of holiness. We believe that the Holy Spirit seeks to do in us a second work of grace, called by various terms including “entire sanctification” and “baptism with the Holy Spirit”-cleansing us from all sin, renewing us in the image of God, empowering us to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves, and producing in us the character of Christ. Holiness in the life of believers is most clearly understood as Christlikeness.

We are a Missional People

We are a sent people, responding to the call of Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to go into all the world, witnessing to the Lordship of Christ and participating with God in the building of the Church and the extension of His kingdom (Matthew 28:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:1). Our mission (a) begins in worship, (b) ministers to the world in evangelism and compassion, (c) encourages believers toward Christian maturity through discipleship, and (d) prepares women and men for Christian service through Christian higher education.