Remembering a time when he was new to South Florida, Pastor Eddie Bevill recalls the uncertainty and exhilaration of starting a new church in a town that wasn’t his own… yet.
“It’s kind of interesting, we were started by a church in Hollywood, Sheridan Hills, when they helped us make 25,000 phone calls,” Eddie explains.” We had a script to introduce ourselves, calling everyone in Parkland and the northern edge of Coral Springs. When we received a positive response, we mailed invitations to visit us.”
The first service, Sunday, September 20, 1992, brought 225 people and Parkridge began to grow, meeting at Douglas High School for 7 years. In 1996, they began constructing today’s campus on Coral Ridge Drive, with services starting in 1999.
Before coming to Parkland, Eddie was at Seminary in Texas and felt God calling him to begin a church somewhere. He thought perhaps California, New England or overseas. Growing up in Alabama, he thought he would be called to more “unchurched” areas of the US or the world. He soon received a call that Sheridan Hills was interested in starting a church in Parkland. “I’d never heard of Parkland,” Eddie chuckles. He relates that moving here wasn’t quite so difficult because his wife, Laura, was raised in Hollywood, Florida.
To get an idea of their church’s whirlwind beginning, Eddie tells us he graduated seminary in May, he and Laura moved here in June, had their first child in August and started Parkridge in September. He explains, “Between July and August was when we made the phone calls! We were actually supposed to make a few more, but hurricane Andrew hit.” Involved in hurricane recovery efforts, Eddie was also attending in-home meetings with a few Parkland residents prior to that first official service. And in typical Pastor Eddie humor, he adds, “Amazingly, people still come every week after 25 years! It blows me away!”
As attendance and the Church’s involvement in the community grew, Parkridge began a preschool program and today their Christian school educates 300 children from pre-K through 8th grade. In the process of a major campaign to build a third building on the property, plans are to add more than 40,000 square feet including a gym and 15 classrooms by 2019. Part of this addition will be focused on utilizing sports in ministry with young children.
Pastor Eddie believes that one of the main reasons Parkridge has continued to grow in our area is because, “We try to emphasize relationships with people and the teaching of God’s word. We know relationships are important….we count them as significant. It is so fast-paced here. We think it’s good to pour into people’s lives. Relationships, authenticity and teaching the Bible are what we focus on. It’s what’s most important to our church family.”
From a visionary standpoint, Eddie and the church are already affecting change through International missions in France, Guatemala and Haiti, influencing connections and leading the charge all over the world. He tells us, “South Florida WAS a place I only viewed as a mission field, but now I view this as HOME! I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else.“ Since the church began, Eddie and Laura have had four children, Lucy, 25, Max, 22, Victoria, 20 and Billy, 18. And in classic Eddie humor, he adds, “Please emphasize that I married way over my head! I have been super blessed!”
As we close our thoughtful reminiscence and look to the future, Pastor Eddie says, “People of all faiths are cordially invited to check out Parkridge Church and become part of the family. God has given us such a great church! Some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known are people I’ve met here. I’m honored and privileged to be part of it.”
Please join the celebration for Parkridge Church’s 25th Anniversary! For details, see www.ParkridgeChurch.com or call (954) 346-9009.