Scott and Jebraun Clifford founded Ascend Church with a dedicated team in 2004. After moving their young family from the Central Coast of California to Auckland in February 2003, they shifted to Rotorua in October 2004. They wanted to plant a fellowship based on Biblical teaching, a heart for the community, and a desire to see people know Jesus in a powerful way.

Originally associated with Calvary Chapel, Ascend Church changed its name in 2015 to more accurately reflect the varied Christian heritage of its leadership team as well as to launch a fresh vision for empowered worship, a greater dependence on the Holy Spirit, and a higher impact on the community.