Coral Ridge Church Installs Tchividjian as New Senior Pastor

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church installed the Rev. Tullian Tchividjian as its second senior minister in five decades during a special ceremony on Easter Sunday.

The famed Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based megachurch also witnessed more than 5,000 people gather in worship Sunday, when it joined Tchividjian's New City Church for the first time since the two congregations agreed to merge as one.

"Together, we celebrated our risen Lord Jesus with passion and determination," reported Tchividjian on Monday.

"God's presence was indeed thick and unmistakable. He was 'surely in that place,'" he added in his personal blog.

Sunday's services marked a new beginning for Coral Ridge, whose founder, the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, was considered by some evangelicals as one of the Church's "truly significant figures.The conservative pastor and broadcaster had built a Christian media empire with his radio and television ministry, which today reaches more than 3 million people. He also wrote more than 65 books, was inducted into the National Relgious Broadcasters' Hall of Fame, and developed the "Evangelism Explosion" ("EE") method of evangelism.

"I can say with absolute certainty that because of his evangelistic ministry there are more Christians in this area (South Florida) now than there were 25 years ago," commented Tchividjian on Sept. 5, 2007, the day Kennedy died. "He was an amazing man."

Since Kennedy's retirement and his death soon after, Coral Ridge has been in search of a new senior pastor to lead the more-than-2,200-member church.

When the church's Pulpit Nominating Committee (PNC) narrowed the list of more than 150 candidates down to Tchividjian, they not only found a rising Christian leader to recommend to the congregation, but also a proposal to merge with the more than 600 attendees of Tchividjian's church in nearby Margate.

On Sunday, that proposal finally became a reality after weeks of discussions, paving the way for God to do great things for His Kingdom, according to Tchividjian.

"I believe this one new church will thrive beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine if it's packed with Gospel intoxicated people: people who understand that since Christ laid his life down for us, we must lay our lives down for others; people who love sacrifice over safety-serving others rather than being served," Tchividjian shared Monday.

"If God can make us into that kind of a church, he will use us to do great things for his Kingdom," he continued. "Watch out South Florida!"

In addition to being the founder of New City Church, Tchividjian is also a grandson of renowned evangelist Billy Graham and author of a number of books, including his latest book, Unfashionable, which hits bookstores next Tuesday.

Coincidentally, it was Graham who preached the dedication sermon for the then-new sanctuary of Coral Ridge on Feb. 3, 1974. Coral Ridge was also the church that Tchividjian attended as a young man before straying from the path at the age of 16 and returning again at the age of 21.

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