The History
Lighthouse has been an integral part of the Illawarra Region for over 50 years. Hear our story and be inspired to dream big.
  • Lighthouse History


    Lighthouse was first established in 1969 as Lighthouse Christian Centre. Pastor Bill and Joan Beard founded the church in a Port Kembla home.
    Pastor Bill and Joan had a passion to:
    See Spirit-filled believers raised up
    Establish a church that emphasised and experienced the power of God through the Holy Spirit
    Build a magnificent house for the Lord

    After a series of different locations around Wollongong, Lighthouse Christian Centre was finally established in its current location next to Wollongong train station.

  • 1980’s

    In the 1980’s Lighthouse Community Care was established. Lighthouse Community Care included Youth Housing and meal programs.

    Throughout their 31 years as Senior Pastors, Bill and Joan literally led thousands to the Lord, not just in Wollongong, but also around the nation and the world.

  • 2000

    In 2000 Pastor Bill and Joan passed the leadership of the church onto their daughter and son-in-law, Paul and Annette Bartlett.

    Paul’s father, Ted Bartlett, founded Wollongong City Mission in Wollongong out of a desire to demonstrate the love of God through meeting the practical needs of the community. Between 1983 -1997 Wollongong City Mission grew into a large organisation that employed 300 staff and 200 volunteers across NSW. It provided a wide assortment of programs including: welfare services, financial counselling and training and employment assistance programs.

    Paul and Annette’s vision for Lighthouse Christian Centre was to move beyond a traditional Sunday church format and create an organisation that cared for the community while inviting them to experience the power of God 24/7.

  • 2001

    Myplace Youth housing, a refuge for homeless youth, was established under Lighthouse Community Care. Myplace became Lighthouse Youth Initiative in 2012.

  • 2005

    In early 2005, an opportunity to take on the leadership of Shellharbour City Church was presented to the Lighthouse Christian Centre.

    Lighthouse Christian Centre became Lighthouse Church as way of establishing the one church in two locations (Wollongong and Shellharbour).

  • 2009

    Beat the Streets served its first free BBQ to the community. Every Thursday, people would come to have a free BBQ lunch. After a few years, Beat the Streets became Lighthouse Community Kitchen, a 2 course sit down dinner served to the marginalised and socially isolated every Thursday night.

  • 2010

    Lighthouse ran the first ‘Ride Around the Lake’ in 2010. Ride Around The Lake is a community fun ride held in May every year that raises money to support Lighthouse Youth Initiative.
    Lighthouse purchased the iconic community space, affectionately known as ‘The Woolshed’. Plans to turn this space into a church and community innovation hub began.

  • 2012

    In 2012 Lighthouse was established as the organisation head over Lighthouse Church and Lighthouse Community Care.

  • 2016

    The Woolshed was re-opened to the public after a complete internal and external refurbishment. The Woolshed now operates as a Café-restaurant where people can gather and connect over gourmet food and coffee.

  • 2019

    Lighthouse celebrates its 50th! Fifty years of serving the Illawarra through Innovation and the power of God to see people’s lives transformed for the better.

  • 2020

    Senior Leaders Paul and Annette Bartlett celebrate 20 years of leading Lighthouse.

  • 2021

    Continuing to Innovate in the way that we care, connect and disciple our church family and our community. Come be part of our journey today!