Merging Churches Announce They Are Better Together


merging churches- featuredCalvary Sawgrass and The Lighthouse Church joined forces as Calvary Lighthouse United celebrating their first weekend together February 6 and 7. With the word UNITED as a backdrop on the stage, Gary Mauro, formerly senior pastor of Calvary Sawgrass for 25 years, and Eric Gamero, formerly lead pastor at Lighthouse Church for almost four years, each shared their vision for the marriage of the two churches where they will share leadership. “It’s two histories, two God stories, two families united as one to reach the world and to serve our city for Jesus,” they agreed.

Worshipping to the song “Salvation’s Tide” by Kristian Stanfill, the lyrics focused on “Your house forever undivided; All Your sons and daughters one; At the cross we are united; Our hope is in the blood…”

“Have you ever prayed for revival?” asked Pastor Eric. “I believe God is going to revive our dead community and not because we’re hoping. No — it’s because we’re doing something about it. God does the supernatural and then says, now do your part. John 13:35 says the world will know we belong to Jesus, that we are his disciples, if we have love for each other. Not only is this church coming together but the Church in Broward County is coming together because we realize we are better together and God is going to do something amazing to revive this community,” he said.


How it came about

This was not a step that was taken lightly, however. Both men stressed the move came only after many months of concentrated prayer and deep consideration. The Lighthouse Church formerly met at Lakeside Elementary School in Pembroke Pines. Having met at a pastor’s network, Gary initially offered the Calvary Sawgrass sanctuary for our student ministries, explained Eric. A friendship developed and Eric said, “Gary invited my wife and I over to his house. And we started to ask, what if we believed we really are better together, and what would this mean for the Kingdom? We began to fast, pray and meet a lot. It is very complicated, but God kept opening doors and giving green lights in our communication to our churches. These really are two life-giving churches coming together. And we’re committed that what God has joined together let no human separate.”

With a common sense of vision and values, Pastors Gary and Eric will be sharing leadership with both churches contributing staff and pastors to the team. They will meet at what was formerly the Calvary Sawgrass 10-acre campus and facilities on Flamingo Road in Davie. “It is an amazing, perfect fit,” said Pastor Gary. “The two churches complement each other. Where Lighthouse has a need, we can meet it, and they have things we need for the future with a talented staff of young people.”

Gary explained, “As you get older, you start thinking about what happens after me? It’s God’s will, from generation to generation, that everyone will praise his name. And we wanted to do something on purpose to be relatable. We’re interested in making sure the Gospel message of Christ continues for generations.”


Producing fruit

During their opening weekend service, Pastor Gary said, “We really are better together… It’s a big beautiful thing God is doing.  We’re going to humble ourselves, set aside our egos and our logos and focus on what matters most, and that’s reaching people for Jesus Christ.

“For me this moment can be summarized in John 15:1-2: ‘I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more’ (NLT). Every good branch He prunes so it bears even more fruit,” Pastor Gary said. “Pruning is really a compliment… You’ve produced fruit and now God wants to produce even more fruit for our community. Over the past 25 years, Calvary Sawgrass has done a service with as few as two people and with as many as 4,000. We’ve experienced the highs and lows. God has blessed us. We’ve planted other churches, seen thousands of lives impacted…and the good news is no matter how great it has been in the past, Jesus prunes so there will be even more fruit.”

In concluding his remarks, Pastor Gary said, “What God is telling us this weekend is that the best is yet to come. ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Pastor Eric encouraged the congregation to “look around. Look at some of the faces of our new family. This right here is a witness of Jesus Christ — that two churches would come together and realize it’s not about our names or our kingdoms we’ve been building. It’s about the name of Jesus and His Kingdom alone. This is a witness of Jesus and what He is going to do in this community… It starts right here that we would love one another and show the fruits of the Spirit to one another… but then it expands because it is so much bigger than us.”

Calvary Lighthouse United meets Saturday nights at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. and noon at 1775 S. Flamingo Road, Davie. Visit or call 954-424-8046 for more information. For more articles by Shelly Pond, please visit

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