On Easter Sunday 1992, our church began with a core group of 33 people. The dream of the church in central Pembroke Pines was given by God to our Founding Pastor, Steve Nerger. It was evident to him that the central section of Pines was left vacant of churches. This understanding proved to be correct as many of our current folks come from the corridor between I-75 and US Highway 441.
The early days saw a core group of about 30 people reaching out into the community of Pembroke Pines. Through worship services, community events, outreach emphasis, and a genuine love for the people around us, God began moving among the community and within one year attendance reached 175 weekly. With Sunday School added in the second year, new believers were being discipled, the faithful were encouraged, the lost were coming to know God’s salvation, and God was honored. Through weekday Bible Study programs, youth programs, and Wednesday night children’s ministries, not only the numbers grew, but the love for God and fellowship, and the deep desire to reach out to the lost was shared by many. Even without a “permanent building” to meet in, our people have provided Bible Study, youth events, ministry to the community, and outreach to the lost.
We have always been mission-minded, which may have slowed us in the building process, but who can criticize us for following the Lord's Great Commission! Concerning missions, we have been involved in foreign mission trips to Costa Rica, Germany, Jamaica, Haiti, and most recently, to Bolivia.
We sponsored our first mission start on Palm Sunday, 1994 with the birth of the Caribbean Baptist Church, which later constituted in April 1997, and now is known as Christ Way Baptist Church. In February of 1997, a Spanish language ministry began, pastored by Luis Acosta. Almighty's Grace Sanctuary, an English-speaking Haitian mission began in 2000 under the leadership of Pastor J.R. Lallemand in the Coral Springs area. Our most current mission project was assisting in the start of the Altar Church on Easter, 2002 in Miami Lakes, with Jeff Marinos as Pastor.
We have traveled to Kila, Montana, to hold VBS (Vacation Bible School) and Mt. Pleasant, West Virginia, to assist in church building and outreach. We have also had more than 70 different ministries in the Broward and Miami-Dade County area. These ministries range from helping after Hurricane Andrew, feeding the homeless, caring for the newspaper vendors, serving dinner and caring at Joe DiMaggio Visitor's Clubhouse, forming a food and clothing closet, block parties, and assisting a mission church that ministers to those on state assistance and in rehabilitation programs.
In the beginning years, our church met at Pines Middle School. We have rented and then owned several office locations, which also served as weekday meeting places for Bible Study and Discipleship Classes. In 1996 we purchased a commercial property next to Pines Middle School to serve as our office and weekday facilities. In 1997 God opened the opportunity to purchase eight-plus acres of land on the northwest corner of Palm Avenue and Johnson Street. This property had remained vacant for many years, a product of the Savings and Loan collapse at the end of the 1980s. Only through the leadership of God were we able to purchase this property for less than one-half the original asking price.
The property was covered in scrub Pines and our people worked many weekends taking down trees, moving large boulders, and clearing the property for the day we would be able to build a sanctuary. As God has shown so many times to us, His provisions exceed our human limitations. We focused on setting up an office facility on the property first, and God provided modular buildings, one of which was ready to move our office right in to. In March of 1999 we re-located our offices and used the remaining three modular buildings for weekday ministries and studies. As God’s people continued to move around the property, the excitement and desire to support a building grew. We also constructed a 6,000 foot pavilion, with complete kitchen, bathroom and shower facilities as we planned on hosting volunteers during our sanctuary building process. We had not fully appreciated God’s plan for the use of that pavilion.
In March of 2000 a great day of celebration was held as we broke ground for the sanctuary building. The forces of nature may have been against us (it rained all night before, and even during the ground breaking ceremonies), but the hand of God was truly on the event. Many chose to purchase bonds to finance the building process and make a true investment in God’s work here on this corner of Pembroke Pines.
Even in man’s delays, God is leading and is glorified. As our building process seemed to go at a snail’s crawl, because of delays with the city building department; and the use of the school for Sunday services became very restrictive, we made the bold move to hold services in our pavilion on the property in October 2001. This is South Florida, where it can rain and storm at a moment’s notice, there is no predicting the coolness of the season, and, of course, there are small flying friends to contend with. But God’s people stayed strong and continued to meet for the next ten months, no matter the weather. Our children used every available space in the modular buildings and we were literally busting at the seams when we finally obtained permission to worship in the sanctuary on July 27, 2002. What a day of rejoicing that was!
Currently our Sunday Worship service is held at 10:30am. There is a Sunday School class for every age, birth thru Senior Adults at 9am each week, also. During worship, all children from birth thru fifth grade, participate in Children’s Church, an exciting time of Bible learning activities. During the week there are activities for middle and high school youth, speakers of other languages (ESOL), and women’s Bible study; just check our newsletter and calendar on this web site!
Our founding Pastor, Steve Nerger, was lead by God in 2004 to enter the mission field on a full time basis with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. On February 5, 2006, Pastor Luis Acosta became the senior pastor with great support from the congregation. Pastor Luis has served in several different capacities at Pines Baptist Church since 1997 and it has been our joy and privilege to watch him mature in his faith and calling to God’s ministry here in Pembroke Pines.
God has been very good to us! If you are looking for numbers, we have an average attendance of 350, but if you are looking for people who love God and who want to love you, you’ve found the more important requirement.
Many people have come and gone in twelve years. God used most of them in a great way while they were here. We come to this juncture not only by ourselves, but in the spirit of all those who have assisted us to this point. Now we who are here are writing the next chapter. What we do next will be recorded on earth as it will be in Heaven. The future looks even brighter than the past.
Come grow with us!