How It All Began
In 1993, the Gulf Stream Baptist Association looked over the Davie area and realized that there was a great need for an evangelical church. They saw thousands of people (60,000 at the time) with very few churches, and not any Southern Baptist churches. About that time, our Pastor, Mark Coleman, was graduating from seminary and felt called back to South Florida where he grew up. Pastor Coleman’s home church, Sheridan Hills Baptist Church, in Hollywood, was already in the middle of starting First Baptist Church of Parkland and was not able to plant another church by themselves. Flamingo Road Baptist Church was also approached, but they already had five missions going and did not feel they could sponsor a new mission alone either. After several meetings with the pastors of these churches and a third church, First Baptist Church of Deerfield Beach, a decision was made that these three churches, along with the association, would jointly sponsor the new work in Davie. This was a relatively new concept since most of the churches in Broward had only one sponsor. All those involved were very excited about this new, cooperative effort.
In June 1993, a core group was formed from the sponsoring churches and a September 19th date was marked for the first worship service. Three neighborhood Bible Studies were started before the first Sunday to reach out to people and then bring them to the new church. To let the community know about New Life, a telephone drive was done involving 150 volunteers working for 3 hours a night, 5 nights a week, for 6 weeks. 15,000 phone calls were made and a mailing list of 15,000 people was established. On September 19th, 206 people came for the first service, which was held in the AMC Ridge Plaza Theater at Pine Island Road and SR 84. About 50 of that first group were volunteers from the sponsoring churches. During the first few weeks, people came to faith in Christ and were baptized. After the initial effort, there remained about 60 people who made up the beginning of New Life Baptist Church.
Six weeks after beginning, the Church moved from the theater to Silver Ridge Elementary School because of a zoning issue with the city over the theater. The new location provided a much more comfortable atmosphere for worship. Sunday morning Bible study at 9:00 AM was begun in January of 1994, and the home meeting that had existed even before September 19th continued.
In March of 1998, God gave us 7 acres of prime property just south of the corner of Pine Island Road and Nova Drive. In December 1997, God led a family outside of our church to give half of the purchase price as a matching gift for the balance. Over the next 2 months, the other half came to us from people here in South Florida and in several other parts of the country. Our own people sacrificed and gave all they could as well. It was a true miracle of God as we watched Him do something that our little church could not have done on its own. It was a God-sized task for which He gets all the glory.
Right away we began to explore options for crossing the canal that runs along our property to Pine Island Road. A culvert was very expensive so we approached the neighbors to our north to see if we could get a road easement to Nova Drive. Both of them said, “no.” We then asked them if they would be willing to sell their houses and property. They said, “yes!” That launched a very complicated negotiating process that took 18 months, but in the end, we settled on both houses and 3.6 acres for $585,000. As we did before, we felt the conviction from the Lord to remain debt-free. We had no matching fund this time but God began to do an amazing work. Our church began to pray like never before. People were in the pastor’s office for almost a month, every night, seeking the Lord, not only for the provision of the property, but all that God wanted to do with our church. Once again people began to give sacrificially and generously. When closing day came, we were still way short of our goal. Even after telling the owners that we could not buy the land, we still believed God was going to come through. Four days later the rest of the money was provided in a God-sized way. We closed on the property and now owned, debt-free, 11+ acres and two houses to God’s glory! In 2004, we acquired the last acre of the land that was available. We now had 11.6 acres to build our church campus.
After several years of construction, our building was opened on December 8, 2013. This approximately 10,000 sq. ft. building has space for our worship gathering and classrooms. We also have plans to expand the building even further as our Church grows.