Wilton Manors Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale Community Church, North Star Community Church, Midtown Campus of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale and Harvest Preparation Ministries.
The names have changed over the past fifteen years, but the desire to be a vibrant beacon for the gospel and the hope it offers has remained the same. This is a story not of a church or facility but of the Church as God has moved through pastors, businesspeople and lay members to reach a community and impact the generations.
Fort Lauderdale Community Church
In 2004, five men began meeting for lunch to pray about the explosive growth in downtown Fort Lauderdale and the possibility of planting a church to meet the needs of the community. Fort Lauderdale Community Church was launched in 2005 to be a church with expository preaching, where the gospel was shared and lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Bill Davell shares, “We (Fort Lauderdale Community Church) initially met in a facility we rented at the corner of Davie Boulevard and Andrews Avenue. It was a blend of traditional and modern worship, and we averaged between 60-70 people at our weekly Sunday services.”
North Star Community Church
“The original plan was to be located downtown and to be a part of the rapid growth, but Wilton Manors Baptist Church approached us about merging our congregations. In 2007, we moved into their fifty-year-old facility, and the pulpit was filled with two extraordinary visiting pastors. It was actually the suggestion of one of them – Dr. Jay Strack – that we change the name to North Star Community Church and you can still see a north star embedded in the pavement of the patio.”
“The church was thriving, and three years after we called our first, full-time pastor, he felt called to a church out of state. Church leadership concluded the congregation had several options – search for a full-time pastor, merge with another church or become a satellite.” Bill explains.
Scott Whiddon was chairman of the Transition Committee. “Through a relationship with Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, they offered to help with our music and to fill the pulpit while we searched for a permanent pastor. As we continued to meet and pray, we just felt a draw, a coming together with Calvary, and in 2014 we began to discuss becoming a regional campus.”
Midtown Campus, a regional campus of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
Paul Chastain served as the Campus Pastor for what in October of 2014 became the Midtown Campus, a regional campus of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. It was during this time that the Celebrate Recovery program began to thrive and Trees of Hope established their office on the campus. Paul explains, “It was in the summer of 2017 that Calvary Chapel’s leadership started praying and seeking what God wanted us to do in the east side of Fort Lauderdale. We knew that there is an impact that we can make in the region of East Fort Lauderdale, but how? As we prayed and evaluated the area, we knew an independent culture-specific church model would be more effective at the Midtown campus.”
Harvest Preparation Ministry
“The Lord opened the door for Harvest (Preparation Ministries) to take this charge. We are so excited about this new season for the Midtown property. As believers, we know that the Lord has brought something to an end (but that He is) resurrecting something new. We pray the Lord’s blessing upon the ministry of Harvest Preparation Ministries.”
Steve Carlson, Executive Pastor for Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, confirms, “We felt God lead us to commit to continued outreach to this community but not in a permanent location. Pastor Yorke and Harvest Preparation Ministries was an answer to prayer for us as they are clearly called to minister there. I think this transition is such a reflection of Church United’s vision to be ‘a partnership of local churches across denominations joining together to transform our region.’”
Anthony and Andrea Yorke, founding pastors of Harvest Preparation Ministries, clearly see the hand of God in the changeover. Pastor Yorke shares, “Divine intervention is the only way we can explain us being on the premises at this time. We marvel at His goodness and His faithfulness towards us.”
“We were meeting in Tamarac and found that facility to be much too small for our vision. With the assistance of Calvary Chapel, we were able to purchase the facility and host our first service on the last Sunday of July. This is a very exciting time in the life of our church body and the body of Christ as a whole. What an honor it is to see where God is moving and be invited to join Him there!”
Pastor Yorke continues, “We desire to qualify laborers in the gospel to give themselves to biblical discipleship so that they can become kingdom builders for God. We are thrilled for such a wonderful opportunity to serve the community of Wilton Manors in whatever ways God allows.”
Bill Davell sums it up, “We are blessed and grateful that God’s work will continue on this campus and that it will be a lighthouse for the sharing and spread of the gospel begun almost seventy years ago.”
You’re invited to see God’s faithfulness for yourself.
Harvest Preparation Ministry
116 NE 24th Street, Wilton Manors, Florida