n 1980 Peter and Karen had a BIG year. They became Christians, married, completed their tertiary degrees in Physical Education in Ballarat and began their careers in Melbourne; Karen in teaching and Peter working in gymnasiums.
Peter and Karen attended South Eastern Christian Centre under the care of Mike and Lois Cronin, it wasn’t long before they were involved in youth leadership and eventually sent out to plant a church in Frankston in 1987.
The launching point for their unique ministry was attending Dr Jonathan David’s School of Prophets in Malaysia in 1992. Since then hearing and following the voice of God has been instrumental in them pioneering what is now the hallmark of their ministry, such as the apostolic, the prophetic, discipling, and generational vision.
- In 1998 Excelerate Apostolic Training began with the one a year part time discipling program called, Call to Discipling and then in 1999 one year full time discipling began called ‘The Australian Masters Commission.’ Over 300 people have been now been discipled from every state in Australia as well as two international students.
- In 1999 the ‘Australian School of Prophets’ began, a one week school of training and impartation in the prophetic, the power and the presence of God. Over the years many churches and hundreds of people have attended and returned for annual refreshing, inspiration and equipping.
- In 2010 an ‘Apostolic Intensive’ training school for senior church leadership was established. Again powerful transformation in lives and churches occurred as Peter’s kingdom building strategies are imparted into hearts.
- In 2012 Southern Lights celebrated its 25th anniversary as well as the culmination of the succession between Peter and his son Caleb. Peter has been released into a greater apostolic role and Caleb has taken over the Senior Minister role within the church.
Peter’s inspirational and relational style of ministry have seen him travel extensively throughout Australia and the nations. He is a much loved Father in the body and a source of wisdom and Godly council. The proceeding word of God flows through his life and he is used apostolically to build churches and lives with strength and accuracy. His ministry is marked by an open heaven and continuous signs and wonders.
Karen’s gentle, sensitive and powerful spirit is a perfect balance to Peter. Karen is a mother in the Kingdom, a leader of prophetesses and a pillar in Southern Lights. She is an elder within the church and a key support for her son Caleb is his Senior Minister position.
Peter and Karen are the Australian coordinators for Dr. Jonathan David’s global network, ‘International Strategic Alliance of Apostolic churches’ (ISAAC).
Peter and Karen have been married for 30 yrs, they have three adult children, Caleb who is married to Zoe, Rees and Amelia. They also have their much loved first grandchild, Aurora Love Nicholes.
Caleb and Zoe were married in 2010 and have one child, Aurora Love Nicholes.
Caleb grew up in Southern Lights as the eldest son of Peter and Karen Nicholes. At age 16 he made a strong decision to consecrate himself to Jesus. In 2000 he entered full time discipling with the ‘Masters Commission’ and upon graduating became involved in the youth ministry of the church eventually becoming its coordinator.
Caleb completed a degree in Exercise Science before the distinct calling of God came upon his life to become a pastor at 24 years of age. The next years were spent transitioning from high school teaching into full time ministry and most recently succeeding his Father, Peter as the Senior Minister of Southern Lights.
Zoe came to know Jesus at age 20 and began attending Southern Lights soon after. She has a Masters and a PhD in Clinical Psychology and works as a psychologist when not being Mum. Zoe completed ‘Called to Discipling’ in 2009 and along with much other training has grown into a powerful woman of God and influence within the church. In 2012 she became a pastor and currently oversees the youth and children’s minister as well as new people, pastoral care and small groups within the church.
Caleb and Zoe have a distinct anointing to rouse the spirits of young people and see them come into full truth. They are passionate about raising up a powerful and influencing Apostolic base in Southern Lights while continuing to outwork the heart and vision that Peter and Karen established during the first 25 years of the church.
Born again at the age of 9 when his family was impacted by the Charismatic Renewal in the Anglican Church in the late 1960s, Andrew and his family (father, mother two sisters and brother) were all part of establishing a new church in Melbourne’s outer Eastern suburbs. This church eventually became part of the CRC where Andrew remained until after his marriage to Susan in 1982.
Susan had grown up with a Uniting Church background (her grandfather was a Presbyterian missionary to China and minister in several parishes around Australia). Susan was born again at a Uniting Church youth camp and after she met Andrew was filled with the Holy Spirit at a CRC youth camp.
After moving to the Frankston area in 1984 and not finding a suitable church Andrew and Susan visited the newly established New Life Christian Centre (later to become Southern Lights) and has remained there ever since. After moving into a series of leadership roles at New Life, Andrew felt the call of God on his life and left a successful retail career to work for the church and study at Tabor College.
He soon moved into areas of teaching within the church, an aspect of his calling for which he has a real passion, and developed many training courses for the church. After a period of over 6 years working for Monash University where he was able to combine his passion for training others and his experience in retail, working with retail organisations across Australia, New Zealand and Asia, God gave Andrew a business plan for his own business and since December 2009 he has been training retailers under his own business.
This business has freed up his time to allow a much greater involvement with the leadership team at Southern Lights and other associated churches. His passion is to see leadership teams equipped and strengthened and to see all Christians learning how to ‘correctly handle the word of truth’.
Susan has been involved in a number of areas over the years, including finance and secretarial roles and currently works closely with the Pastoral team in writing manuals, preparing course notes and powerpoint presentations amongst many other things.
Peter grew up in a Christian family in South Australia and in 1981,when he was 16 years oldbecame a Christian at a local youth camp.
Dee Dee, who was born in British Columbia, Canada andbecame a Christian when she was also 16 years old. Along with her family she moved to Australia in 1982 and settled in 1983 where she met Peter.They married in 1986 and they have two adultchildren, Luke and Monique.
Peter joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1983 and served his country in defence until 2007. The latter part of his career was heavily involved in training, equippingsailors in readiness to fight on the frontlines of the battlefield.
Peter and DeeDeehave been part of Southern Lights since 1995, where theyhave served as a son and daughterof the vision in a variety of roles and responsibilities.Peter and the family spent four years out of Southern Lightsdue to military duties, but remained in covenant relationship with theirchurch family. During this time god matured them and prepared them until the distinct call to ministry came upon their lives.
God eventually used Peter’s experience with disciplined training in the defence force into equipping the saints for the work of ministry as they returned to Southern Lights. Peter became involved in leading the part-time discipling course, Call to Discipling in 2003 and eventually moved into full-time ministry in 2007.
Peter currently oversees the ‘Training Pillar’ which includes the discipling arm, ‘Excelerate Apostolic Training.’ Excelerate is the Master’s Commission (full time) and Called to Discipling (part time) courses. Southern Lights has a strong call to raise up righteous leaders through discipling and Peter now oversees this dynamic and transforming work in people’s lives. DeeDeehas served as Finance Coordinator since 2006.
Peter and Dee Dee’s heart’s desire is to see people’s lives set free to passionately follow their God-given destiny as they advance the Kingdom of God.
Phil and Leanne both grew up in Christian homes in the Adelaide Hills but it wasn’t until they both recommitted their lives to Christ in their teens that God could lead them into their destiny in Him.
For all of their adult lives, they have been involved in serving in the church, in particular youth leadership and Eldership. While attending Stirling Family Church, Phil was looking for a speaker for a youth camp in 1994. It was through this that he connected with Ps Peter Nicholes who spoke prophetically the things Phil was looking to be imparted into the youth at the camp.
In 1995, Phil attended a conference at Southern Lights where Dr Jonathan David was the main speaker. This impacted him immensely and in 1997 he attended the Malaysian School of the Prophets.
Being a successful business person, Phil accepted a General Manager’s role in Orange, NSW in 2004 and moved his family there. The relationship between Ps Peter and Karen and the Tanner Family continued over the years. In October 2008, the Master’s Commission team visited Orange and released an “Open Heaven” over Colour City Church in which Phil and Leanne were both involved in leadership roles, Phil serving as an Elder. This transformed the lives of the whole family.
While attending “The International Business Summit” in Muar, Malaysia in September 2009, God spoke clearly to Phil about moving to Southern Lights. At the same time, God spoke the same message to Leanne in the middle of the night back in Orange.
The Tanner Family moved to Skye in 2010. Since that time, both Phil and Leanne have been discipled through “Excelerate Call to Discipleship”. Their 3 children, Renee, Joshua and Luke all have a desire to be discipled through “Excelerate Master’s Commission” when they complete high school in the very near future.
Phil has a heart for Kingdom Businesses to be successful and uses his own business to coach others in this area. Leanne is involved in Southern Lights and works closely with the Pastoral Team facilitating the Networking and Training Pillars. Both have a heart to see people released into their God given destiny.