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.
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.
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..
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.
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 sholarship fund) and world wide (missionaries, disaster relief, theological education)
If you don't already have a church home, we would love to have you become a part of our family. Whether you grew up in a churched home, just found out about the Good News of Jesus Christ or are anywhere else along the faith road, our goal is for you to feel welcome, loved and understood.
THIS IS THE AGREED STATEMENT OF BELIEF FOR THE CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE:
We believe in one God-the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We believe that the Old and New Testament Scriptures, given by plenary inspiration, contain all truth necessary to faith and Christian living.
We believe that man is born with a fallen nature, and is, therefore, inclined to evil, and that (to do evil) continually.
We believe that the finally impenitent are hopelessly and eternally lost.
We believe that the atonement through Jesus Christ is for the whole human race; and that whosoever repents and believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is justified and regenerated and saved from the dominion of sin.
We believe that believers are to be sanctified wholly, subsequent to regeneration, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We believe that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the new birth, and also to the entire sanctification of believers.
We believe that our Lord will return, the dead will be raised, and the final judgment will take place.
To Read a complete version of our Articles of Faith CLICK HERE to visit the Nazarene denomination's main website.