In the 1970s, UK churches were impacted by a new movement that came to be called both the ‘charismatic renewal’ and the ‘house church movement’. It placed emphasis on living in authentic community, participation in worship, spiritual gifts, and personal discipleship. In Oxfordshire, a group of young Christians inspired by all these things formed a church at Merryfield House in Witney.
They then became friends with Cote Baptist Church, who were much more established, having been founded in 1703. Together, they began more churches across the county under the banner of ‘Oxfordshire for Jesus.’ They also began The King’s School, with its distinctively Christian character and curriculum.
Teams were also sent to start churches overseas in Europe, Africa and Asia, and we are now part of a global family of churches called Salt & Light Ministries.
At the heart of all this, Oxford Community Church began in 1985, under the leadership of Steve Thomas, with a focus on building family, reaching students, and going to the nations. In 2001, after years of meeting in a cinema in George Street, we purchased The King’s Centre, which now forms our primary base in the city.
I became the Senior Pastor in 2005, bringing a greater focus on our local mission, and leading us to develop our small groups into ‘missional communities’. In 2013, we saw Tyndale Community School open, offering Christian-ethos education in the city to people of all faiths and none.
(from our Membership Course booklet)