"I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6)
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (PCA) exists solely by God's grace. The Bible teaches that ever since Adam and Eve first fell into sin and as a result, plunged the entire human race into sin along with them, God has been on a mission to redeem for himself a people. This group of people, the New Testament calls the "church" literally, "the called out ones" and such people are defined by their trusting in God's own son, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of their souls by means of his payment for sin through death and resurrection.
The Church is the family of God, defined elsewhere in the Bible as the very bride of Jesus Christ. The Church is expressed throughout history and includes everyone at every point in time who has trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. The church though is also expressed locally, in specific contexts and in specific places and these local bodies comprise a very small part of the greater historic whole as God continues to work out his plan of calling people out of darkness and into his marvelous light throughout the generations.
Coral Ridge is one such local church and has been since it's beginning along the Fort Lauderdale - Pompano border in 1959, first meeting in the McNab Elementary School cafeteria. Just as the salvation of individual souls is only by God's grace, so too is the corporate gathering of his redeemed people into a local congregation. In 1959, God began a gracious good work - planting a local church eventually to be named Coral Ridge, and calling the church's first pastor, Rev. D. James Kennedy, a man who would shepherd the congregation faithfully for 48 years before entering into the presence of God in Heaven in September of 2007.
God, the creator of the Universe and the author of salvation, is never caught off guard. If the local church makes up a part of the larger, universal Church, the institution the Bible calls the Bride of Christ, then the Father will be sure to guard and protect his Son's bride. Thus, when Dr. D. James Kennedy passed on to be with God, that same God already from ages past had a plan in place. As Moses was called away from his people to be with the Lord and Joshua was raised up, so when Dr. Kennedy was called away, God in 2009 raised up the second senior pastor of Coral Ridge, Rev. W. Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of world-renowned evangelist Dr. Billy Graham. Such appointment is a striking testament of God's faithfulness throughout generations as 35 years earlier on February 3, 1974 Dr. Graham had been the guest speaker for the dedication of Coral Ridge's current sanctuary situated in Fort Lauderdale along US1. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
God is faithful to his promise of beginning good works and continuing to care for them until they are one day brought to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
A Timeline of Events in the Life of Coral Ridge
June 22, 1959 - First worship service in McNab School, D. James Kennedy, Pastor.
May 22, 1960 - Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church officially chartered.
July 31, 1960 - Rev. D. James Kennedy, now formally ordained, is officially installed as minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.
October 1961 - Groundbreaking ceremony for the new church building situated on two and one half acres of land on Commercial Blvd.
May 13, 1962 - The new church building is dedicated; sanctuary capacity of 500.
1966 - An annex is added to the sanctuary increasing the capacity by 300 persons.
1967 - Ten acres along Federal Highway (US1) are purchased for the building of a larger church facility.
April 11, 1971 (Easter Sunday) - Groundbreaking for new church facility on Federal Highway. Mr. Harold Wagoner of Philadelphia, Penn. is selected as the architect.
December 23, 1973 - First service is held in the new church building on Federal Highway with 8,000 in attendance.
February 3, 1974 - The new church building is officially dedicated. Dr. Billy Graham delivers the dedication address to an over-flow crowd of 11,000 people. Nearly 600 decisions for Christ are recorded.
January 8, 1978 - Coral Ridge votes to leave the denomination known as the Presbyterian Church, U.S. and unites with the more theologically conservative denomination known as the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
Easter Sunday, 1988 - Groundbreaking ceremony for flanking expansions added to the main church sanctuary.
December 1989 - The church facility expansion project, which added the flanking, matching structures on either side of the sanctuary is completed.
November 3, 1996 - Church mortgage-burning ceremony.
September 5, 2007 - Dr. Kennedy enters into the presence of God in Heaven.
December 2007 - April 2009 - Dr. Sam Lamerson, Professor of New Testament at Knox Theological Seminary and Dr. Warren Gage, Professor of Old Testament at Knox Theological Seminary shoulder the preaching responsibilities while the church conducts an extensive search for it's next senior pastor.
April 12, 2009 (Easter Sunday) - Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and New City Presbyterian Church, then meeting in neighboring Coconut Creek, FL., officially merge together. Rev. W. Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of Dr. Billy Graham and then senior pastor of New City, is called by the congregation and Session of Coral Ridge to serve as the second senior pastor in the church's 50 year history.
May 10, 2009 - Rev. Tchividjian is officially installed as senior pastor of Coral Ridge. Dr. Os Guinness delivers the installation address.
September 20, 2015 - The congregation nominates the Session as the Pulpit Search Committee in the search for the next Lead Pastor.
March 13, 2016 - The congregation and Session call Robert Pacienza to serve as Lead Pastor, the third pastor in the church's history.
May 22, 2016 - Pastor Robert Pacienza is officially installed as Lead Pastor of Coral Ridge.