CORAL SPRINGS, FL - For 25 years, Pastor Randal Cutter has looked for a perfect home for his growing New Dawn Community Church congregation.
Through Coral Springs’ good and bad economies, the charismatic preacher with a penchant for local politics has moved his flock of faithful congregants from building to building, trying without success to find a permanent location.
His luck changed, finally, in December when his church purchased a 7,000-square-foot space in a building intended for a medical imaging center, just south of Sample Road in the downtown. It may not be the perfect spiritual spot for a congregation aiming to get “closer to the Lord, while at the same time growing closer to each other,” but Cutter feels blessed to have found it after such a long search.
“This is a great step forward for us,” said Cutter, whose church is now leasing space in the outdated downtown strip mall on Sample Road and University Drive, which will eventually make way for a major renovation project.
In the coming months, the congregation will add plumbing, air conditioning, sprinkler system and much more at its new location at 9955 NW 31 Street, which is close to other congregations, including St. Andrew Catholic Church. Cutter hopes to be in the new building by the fall of 2020.
“We’ll now be building equity instead of paying the rent,” he said.
In the meantime, the plans for shopping center where the church is currently housed remains unclear, Cutter said. The property is part of a roughly four-to-six block track targeted for redevelopment projects in the heart of downtown Coral Springs, where new homes, movie theater, restaurants, shops, and other attractions are planned.
Cutter supports the rebuilding of the strip mall and said it was a matter of time before his congregation had to move out.
The church, under Cutter’s leadership, has a long tradition of doing public service and being devoted to ministry work (90 percent of the congregants are involved). After all, the pastor has served as co-chair of the Clergy Coalition of Coral Springs, Parkland, and Northwest Broward. He has also run twice for local office, unsuccessfully -- in 2016 for Broward County Commission against Michael Udine and in 2019 in the Coral Springs City Commission special election. He plans to run again in a city election, he said.
Politics aside, Cutter’s primary focus has been on New Dawn Community Church, which grew out of a 1995 merger between two Coral Springs congregations: Shepherd of the Springs and Praise Harvest Church.
Their first location was a 13,000-square-foot building on Wiles Road.
“We built it out so nicely and so comfortable and the rent was so good. We didn’t feel any pressure to move from there. But after the economic bottom fell out (in the Great Recession), people weren’t coming as much. If we were going to make an impact, we had to leave our comfortable facility and find another location.”
And so they did, moving across the city to the current downtown space in 2011. But from the moment they got there, Cutter said they knew they would need to move out eventually to make way for the redevelopment of the property.
“We’re all looking forward to settling in at our new place,” said Scott Auld, the church’s worship pastor who has worked alongside Cutter since 1991. “For us, Coral Springs has long been our home. It’s the place we serve our community.”
The congregation’s weekly attendance averages about 130 people, Cutter said. In the new building, they can easily double, triple or even quadruple that number if they have multiple services on Sundays and throughout the week. The new facility will also have a fellowship hall, allowing people to eat and share time together.
It’s taken a long time to get to this point, Cutter said.
“This is a good move for us. We’re all excited about the future,” he said.