Christ Church, Fort Lauderdale
Thursday, March 30, 2017
In the late 1950’s, a group of people from Park Temple Methodist Church realized the opportunity for reaching new people for Christ in the rapidly developing Coral Ridge section of northeast Fort Lauderdale. They helped organize Christ Church, which held its first service on April 13, 1958, with the Reverend Lee Van Sickle as its new pastor.
Constructed at a cost of $150,000, the present sanctuary was opened for service February 21, 1960. The church experienced rapid growth and, as the congregation grew, additional buildings to house developing ministries were built—including, in 1970, a two-story education building which also became home to the newly organized Christ Church School.
A Sunday morning fire in that education building in 1991 helped to fuel a new era of growth, physically and spiritually, for Christ Church. That same year, the senior pastor, Dick Wills, experienced a powerful spiritual renewal while attending the World Methodist Conference in South Africa. He returned with a new passion to ensure that Christ Church would always be fully invested in God’s design to redeem the creation. Flowing out of that passion, the congregation named and embraced a clarifying new vision, formed dozens of small groups for spiritual growth and accountability, organized significant ministry with the poor and homeless, purchased a three and a half acre tract across the street for future growth and parking, and built the multi-purpose Life Enrichment Center to enable new kinds of ministry and worship.
Christ Church is now led by Brett Opalinski, who has been lead pastor since 2013. All of the leaders and pastors have continued with Christ Church on its journey to becoming a prevailing church.
The Pompano Beach campus, a result of the 2006 merger with First United Methodist Church in Pompano Beach, has given us a place to reach people in need. We partner with other churches and ministries so that the entire property in Pompano can be used to build God’s Kingdom.
All of our history symbolizes a commitment, still in place among leaders today, to be, not a “fortress” where people go and hide from the brokenness of the world, but instead to be a powerful “force” that God can use to transform the lives of people God made and loves more than we can even possibly imagine.
With that commitment, and the focus of God’s clear four-fold vision— introducing Jesus, growing faith, relieving suffering, and shaping children— we’re convinced the best days for Christ Church are still ahead! We’ve never been more committed to the assignment Jesus gave his church to invite people into new-life relationship with him. We know this will not always be easy— it will require commitment of our time, energy, finances, and prayer— but the reward will be more than worth it as we participate in God's transformation of our own and other people's lives. It’s why Christ Church was organized in the first place; it’s why we’re still here today.