A Brief History of Orlando Community Church
Orlando Community Church started in August of 1982, when a group of about 60 people planted a new church in the downtown Orlando area. Orlando Community Church (OCC) was a spin off from Northland Church in Longwood, a suburb north of Orlando. Northland Church was founded in 1973 by Lyle and Marge Nelsen, Doug and Donna Swenson and John and Nancy Christiansen and their families. John Christiansen was the lead pastor for these first nine years. As Northland grew to requiring multiple worship services and began pursuing the purchase of a building, these founding families along with others felt the call to plant a new church.
The vision of OCC is to be a “body life” church in which every individual in the community discovers and shares their gifts given by the Holy Spirit. When the body grows too large, then a group will spin-off and plant a new church. This has happened with the births of Winter Park Community Church, Vista Community Church, Church at the Ranch in Umatilla, Florida and others.
OCC has committed to not owning any buildings in order to emphasize that the church is the people and to prioritize funds for ministry and mission support. OCC’s first meeting was in a charter member’s manufacturing plant on Orange Blossom Trail. Soon after the church moved to Loch Haven Park near downtown Orlando, meeting in various buildings including Neighborhood Center, Junior Achievement, Edyth Bush Theatre, Orlando Science Center and The Orlando Repertory Theatre (The REP).
The Servant Leaders
John Christiansen was the lead pastor for the first 30 years of the church. On the church's 30th Anniversary we celebrated John and Nancy’s retirement. Josh Christiansen, one of John and Nancy’s sons, was then promoted to lead pastor and continues in that position, alongside his wife Murray. OCC has employed and supported many gifted ministers and missionaries over the years.
Virtual services began in 2020 and have continued to be a vital part of worship and connection at OCC.
Currently, OCC in-person services are held at The Plaza Live on Bumby Avenue in the Colonial Town area of Orlando.
Our 40th Anniversary celebration was held in August 2022.
We invite you to join us in the ongoing adventure God has for Orlando Community Church.