Imagine a tall, Black, former-NFL-player-turned-preacher walking the streets of a ghetto, dragging a ten-foot, sixty-pound cross, and stopping along the way to pray with crack cocaine dealers. In the early days of The Worldwide Christian Center, this is where you would have found the Rev. Dr. O’Neal Dozier every Saturday. Each week he made a pilgrimage through the heart of the infamous section of Pompano Beach, known as Collier City, on a mission to win souls and see lives changed.
“I have no fear of taking the ministry to the streets,” said Rev. Dozier, who first arrived in Pompano Beach in 1955 on a migrant-worker bus from South Carolina. ”They respect me and what I’m trying to do. When they see me, they try to hide their drugs and alcohol.”
The mission, according to Rev. Dozier, was not his idea. ”God told me to do this. That’s why I have no fear. I’ve taken this cross to crack houses. My message is, ‘Stop trying to get money by ways of the world–drugs, prostitution, games of chance.’ I tell them that God will begin to bless them spiritually, financially, and in every way if they will turn to Him.”
Saturday services for the community were held in a open field across from the Masonic Temple on Northwest 27 Avenue and Fourth Street in Collier City. Meanwhile, directly across the street in front of a convenience store, crack cocaine sales were openly made, buyers coming and going with frequency. A stark contrast, on one corner Eternal Life was offered with the price already paid in full. On the next corner, death was sold, at a high price.
Rev. Dozier believes that the church has a mandate to help meet the physical needs of the poor, as well as present the gospel. For the past thirteen years, The Worldwide Christian Center has operated a food pantry distributing food to the poor every Saturday. From time to time, the church provides meals for the entire community, on that same corner where the Rev. Dozier first preached and ministered to Collier City residents.
The Worldwide Christian Center was founded and incorporated on July 18, 1985. Sunday services were originally held in the North Fork Elementary School Cafetorium. In June of 1987, services were relocated to a storefront in the Collier City section of Pompano Beach. In February of 1996, the doors of The Worldwide Christian Center opened at its current location, 450 North Powerline Road in Pompano Beach.