||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (January 2015)|
|Assembly of God Paradise Inc|
|Country||Australia and United States of America|
|Denomination||Australian Christian Churches|
|Senior pastor(s)||Ashley Evans
Influencers Church is a multi-campus Australian Christian Church, with its main campus located in Paradise, South Australia, and a campus in Atlanta, Georgia. It also has a successful strong men's ministry with dinners at the north campus every 6 weeks and a breakfast at the central campus every 8 or more weeks.
The church was founded in 1907 by British evangelist Smith Wigglesworth., later becoming known as Adelaide Assembly of God, when down-town property on Franklin Street, Adelaide, was purchased in 1944. In 1951 Tom Evans, a British missionary from India, became senior pastor. Pastors John and Beryl Jobe commenced as senior pastors in 1959. Their vision was to move into the suburbs where the people lived, so the Franklin St. property was sold, and the church relocated to Payneham before it shifted to Main North East Road Klemzig.
In 1970, Andrew Evans, the oldest son of Tom Evans, became the first non-founding senior pastor of Klemzig Assembly of God. Under his ministry the church grew from weekly church attendance of 150 to over 2,000 people. In 1982, the church moved to its current location in Paradise, becoming known as Paradise Assembly of God, and later changing its name to Paradise Community Church. At this time, Paradise AOG also set up Paradise College of Ministries, as an accredited bible college in South Australia. In 1994, members from the Paradise church formed a sister church originally called Southside Christian Church, but later renamed Edge Church. Similarly the church fostered the formation of Youth Alive Australia.
In 2000, Andrew's eldest son Ashley and his wife Jane took over as senior pastors at Paradise, and in 2004, Andrew's younger son and 11 other members from the church moved to Melbourne to form Planetshakers City Church. In the 2000s Paradise's church attendance grew to over 6,000 people, and it expanded to three other locations (Adelaide, Elizabeth Park, and Atlanta - U.S.A.), introduced a Friday night service, and had become the fifth-largest church in Australia. In 2012, Paradise Community Church changed its name to Influencers Church (Global) to reflect that the church is expanding internationally.
Some political figures have connections with the church, including Andrew Evans who is father of current pastor Andrew Evans, a pastor at the prior Paradise Church for 30 years and was leader of the Family First political party. Liberal Party of Australia foreign affairs minister Alexander Downer commented positively on the church's focus on God, the Bible and the message of Christ.
The profile of Paradise was boosted after the inaugural Australian Idol Guy Sebastian publicly announced his connection with the church as a singer. The church was also featured on A Current Affair, Compass, The Australian, and The Age. Peter Goers has commonly cited the church in rhetoric light. As a result of market perception of the church with Guy, the church launched its Paradise School of Music. Famous persons who have attended Paradise include Channel 9 journalist Kate Collins and actress Debra Byrne. Apart from media interest, the church has also has a television program which screens in different countries and recently started airing each Sunday on Channel 9. Paradise also utilises regular television and radio advertisement for marketing communications, particularly during the Christmas and Easter seasons.
Paradise launched the Influencer's Conference, the organizers of which have engaged several celebrity keynote speakers including Bishop TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Jentezen Franklin and Matt Crouch. The conference is a direct competitor of Hillsong Conference, although focuses more so on the leadership. Paradise also ran a philanthropy arm, that offered community services between 2006 - 2011, more than 10,000 clients were given food and clothing. Paradise also partnered with fast food chain McDonald's to launch Adelaide's Biggest Easter Egg Hunt and city wide Christmas carols, from which donations were directed to the Women's and Children's Hospital in North Adelaide.
As the largest church in South Australia, Ashley Evans has held the office of State President of Australian Christian Churches of South Australia and a previous member of the National Executive of the Australian Christian Churches. His wife Jane Evans has been influential as the national board member of charity Compassion Australia. Paradise is regarded as ecumenical, training several key non-Pentecostal leaders, including Dean Eaton, father of radio and television host Tessa Eaton.
The church was noted amongst five of the largest Australian megachurches which have seen growth after the founder has passed the church along to his son, which "suggests the value in continuity" of vision.
- Accessed 2014-04-15
- My Father – Thomas Lever Evans 1901 – 1996 Accessed 2014-04-16
- Building of Paradise Assembly of God - Part 1 Accessed 2014-04-16
- Alexander Downer (27 July 2008). "Pope's visit had a deep impact on Australia". The Advertiser.
- Paradise Community Church Online. Paradise Live: Adore. Retrieved 4 March 2009
- Gold Records USA. Featured Release. Retrieved 4 March 2009[dead link]
- Anne Johnson (21 October 2006). "What's Guy done to deserve this?". Sunday Mail.
- Peter Goers (11 November 2006). "Just a phone's throw away". Sunday Mail.
- Genevieve Meegan (6 January 2007). "James' toast to fitness". Sunday Mail.
- "The last temptation of Debra". The Advertiser. 3 April 2009.
- Ashley Evans (24 December 2010). "A life of great joy within reach of all". The Advertiser.
- Shepherd, T (8 April 2007). "Many more flock to church". The Advertiser.
- Jane Evans intro for Paradise Community Church Influencers Conference 15-17 January 2008 (accessed 23 January 2008)
- Sam Hey (9 August 2013). Megachurches: Origins, Ministry, and Prospects. Wipf and Stock Publishers. pp. 264–. ISBN 978-1-62564-322-3.