Coming Together

Coming Together Announcement

Riverside Church and Grace Life Church have begun the exciting process of coming together as one congregation. We sincerely believe this to be the work of the Holy Spirit, as both churches exist to see God glorified through loving people, making new disciples of Jesus, and serving the local communities around North Lauderdale. Through shared ministry over the past two years, it has become evident that we can do more for the Kingdom of God together than we can apart. This decision was made after an extended time of prayer and dialogue between the leadership of both congregations, along with counsel from fellow church leaders.

We will celebrate the union and unified vision of the two churches becoming one on January 15, 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Riverside Church has been a thriving, loving congregation of believers for over 40 years. In the late 1990s, desiring to have its congregation reflect the diversity of South Florida, Riverside church relocated from Coral Springs to North Lauderdale. Providentially, the congregation was able to purchase an old shopping center and set about renovating it with a vision for serving the local community. Deep relationships have been formed with residents, leaders and organizations in the city.

Grace Life Church began public worship services in February of 2021 in the Riverside Student Center.  The vision of the church was to share the gospel and serve the local communities in central Broward County. By God’s grace the congregation has been able to share God’s love in tangible ways with families and schools in North Lauderdale.  

On multiple occasions, the ministries of Grace Life Church and Riverside Church intersected, as the mission and vision of both congregations were so closely aligned. Riverside Church became a strong supporter of Grace Life’s initiatives and events. Very soon it became clear that should both congregations combine their leadership, giftings, abilities and resources, they could more effectively fulfill their shared gospel mission.

The elders and leaders of both churches are having extended times of prayer, believing that God is leading them to unite the churches. They are also seeking the wisdom and counsel from Church leaders in the city as they continue to dialogue and plan the unification.

To put it simply, we are better together than we are apart. Grace Life Church and Riverside Church bring much to the table, primarily a commitment to the word of God, a commitment to love people, and a commitment to our community. Both congregations have a heart for families and the next generation, with a deep desire to honor those who have brought us to where we are. We are believing God for greater fruitfulness as we come together.

The membership of Grace Life Church will join with the membership of Riverside Church to become one congregation, Riverside Church.

The combined church will be known as Riverside Church and there is no current plan to change the existing branding.

This united church will continue to have a vision for Central Broward County, to trust God and work faithfully to see gospel impact locally. The church will remain committed to a gospel centered theology that seeks to glorify God, love people, and impact our community.

The most recognizable change will be that where previously there were two churches there will now be one. The combined church will worship together on Sunday mornings at 10:30 am. The church is expanding and growing as it enthusiastically welcomes in new family members. There will be new life groups and ministry expressions.

Together we are taking the next step toward the goal of a Christ exalting multicultural community; we desire to welcome our local community as Christ welcomes us (Rom 15:7). God is glorified as we pray and work together to sensitively contextualize to embrace into the family of God those who are yet to believe.

Brian Brookins will continue to lead Riverside Church. The church will now have two ordained pastors, Pastor Brian Brookins and Pastor Winston Miller. Winston Miller will join the eldership and the leadership team of Riverside Church. Other leaders will serve as part of the pastoral team, some of whom will be ordained in the future.

A new executive team will be formed to facilitate the execution of the vision on behalf of the elders. The executive team will consist of Stephany Gallo, Winston Miller, and Brian Brookins.

Brian Brookins has faithfully served Riverside Church for 35 years and will continue as lead pastor. Brian and Winston, along with the elders will continue to chart a course and prepare Riverside Church to effectively minister to our community in the years to come.

The elders of Riverside Church believe that God would have us pray and plan for the healthy succession of our leadership. The expectation and intention is that Winston Miller will be the next lead pastor of Riverside Church. We will use the next 2-3 years to prepare for this transition, contingent upon an established confirmation process.

Brian Brookins and Winston Miller will share preaching responsibilities for Riverside Church, along with other members of the teaching team.

Winston Miller will join the staff of Riverside Church. There are no other staff changes anticipated.

Following the public announcement on November 13, 2022, there will be a brief transition period. During this period we will have several events focused on worship, fellowship, and shared ministry. Throughout these events there will be ongoing communication of the transition’s progress.

See below for a preliminary schedule of events.

November 13, 2022
Public Announcement of Churches Coming Together
After Sunday Morning Worship Q&A

November 20, 2022
After Sunday Morning Worship Q&A

November 27, December 4, 11, 18, 24, 25 & January 1
Combined Advent, Christmas and New Year Worship Services

January 7, 2023
(TBD) Coming Together Workshop for Combined Church Leaders/Staff

January 8, 2023
Final Worship Service as Grace Life Church

January 15, 2023
Official celebration of the union and unified vision of the two churches.

We ask that the friends and families of Grace Life Church and Riverside Church pray for the Lord’s guidance, wisdom, and power in the transition process.

  1. Pray that during this time God’s will is done and His people are shepherded well. Pray for the leadership and staff as they work through the details of the churches coming together.
  2. Celebrate the wonderful work that God is doing with and through our congregations.
  3. Engage intentionally in the meetings and events designed to facilitate our coming together.