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We are excited to announce that Riverside and Grace life are coming together as ONE church. The leadership team and staff of both churches have been spending some intentional time praying, planning, and preparing for this merger. We understand that you might have some questions about how this came about and how we are going to move forward. Please let us know if there are any questions you might have that are not covered below.

How did this all come about? Who/What is Riverside Church? Who/What is Grace Life Church? Why are we doing this?

Needs to be full of vision. Tell the story. Riverside then to GL then to one church. 30 years ago there was a church in Coral Springs. Church felt called to something different. Sold building. Relocated. Found building, renovated with vision for community. Church has grown to be representative of the community.

In 2018, Winston was then a pastoral resident at Rio Vista Church in East Fort Lauderdale preparing to plant a congregation in Lauderhill, FL. Winston had for many years felt called to central Broward county where he had spent his formative years.

In 2019, Winston and a group of believers began to meet for Bible studies in Parkland, Florida. During this time, Grace Life had also begun to meet on Zoom as a virtual life group of Rio Vista Community Church. While the virtual group continued to grow, Winston and his family also began renovations on a home with the hope of it being a central hub from which to launch.

Then came the global pandemic. The Grace Life Group was able to continue with their virtual fellowship and studying through the worst of the pandemic and in February of 2021, Grace Life launched as a congregation in the student center of Riverside Church. The pandemic had created almost insurmountable challenges in finding a meeting space for a new church plant, but through a providential introduction by Pastor Tom Hendrikse of Rio Vista Church, Winston Miller and Brian Brookins met. Pastor Brian Brookins and Riverside Church graciously opened the doors of their student center to Grace Life Church.

This small church plant set about meeting on Sunday afternoons with the intent to love and impact the community in whatever manner God directed, to devote themselves to the apostles teaching, to fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. Over the next year, the Lord faithfully blessed the ministry of Grace Life with impact into the local community and schools.

Throughout the first year of meeting in the Riverside Student Center, ministry of Grace Life Church and Riverside Church intersected multiple times, 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, and very soon it became clear that should both congregations combine the leadership, giftings, abilities and resources, they could more effectively fulfill their shared gospel mission.

What is the benefit of coming together as one church?

To put it simply, we are better together than we could be apart. Grace Life Church and Riverside Church bring much to the table, primarily a commitment to the word of God in our lives and the work of God in our community. Both congregations have a heart for families and the next generation with a deep desire to also honor those who have brought us to where we are.

Coming together as one church will greatly maximize the vision and mission to our community— using the best of both congregations to make disciples of every nation.

What is the nature of these two churches coming together as one?

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

This union is the result of an extended time of prayer and dialogue between both churches, and with counsel from some of the Church leaders in the city.

What will be the name of the combined churches? Will any of Riverside Church or Grace Life Church branding change?

The combined church will be known as Riverside Church. The name and branding of Grace Life Church will change to that of Riverside Church. There is no current plan to change the existing branding of Riverside Church.

What will stay the same? What is going to change?

Grace Life Church and Riverside Church continue to have a shared vision for Central Broward county and will continue to trust God and work faithfully to see gospel impact locally, and then to the further reaches of our world. The most recognizable change will be that where previously there were two churches there will now be one.

Who will lead Riverside Church?

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 ministers 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.

Is Brian Brookins leaving Riverside Church? Will Winston Miller be the next pastor of Riverside Church?

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

The elders of Riverside Church share a conviction 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 invite the people of Riverside Church and Grace Life Church, as we become one, to join together in the pursuit of a healthy succession plan.

Who will preach on Sundays?

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

Will there be any staff changes?

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

When will the joining of the two churches take place? What are the next steps?

Following the public announcement (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 Worship Q&A

November 27, December 4, 11, 18
Combined Worship Services

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

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

What Should I Do Now?

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.