Happy 32nd Anniversary Eastgate Church!
Over 32 years ago, on Sunday, November 17, 1991, we held an organizational meeting in our home to discuss the idea of planting a church. We invited around 40 people to attend. Fifteen people came. At the end of the meeting, I handed out index cards asking those present to express their commitment to be a part of a church plant. Ten people committed to help. We agreed to name the church, Wilson Community Church.
On Sunday, December 8, 1991, we held the first small group meeting in our home. We invited the fifteen from the first meeting to attend, plus all those we had invited before. Five people came. Counting Robin and I, that made seven people. But we weren’t discouraged. We kept meeting weekly and the Lord kept adding to our number.
By mid January 1992, our first small group had grown to three groups. We averaged around 26 adults in weekly attendance between the three groups. So, we decided to launch a Sunday morning worship service. We thought renting a school would make for a good location. After visiting several schools around Wilson, we felt that Forest Hills Middle School had the best visibility and the most functional auditorium for our needs.
So we launched our first public worship service in the FHMS auditorium on January 26, 1992 . We had 66 people attend our first service. Little did we know that day that we would be renting FHMS for the next 15 years!
After 19 years of doing portable church, 15 years at FHMS and 4 years at Community Christian School, we purchased the former Regal Cinema in September 2010. We remodeled much of the building, turned one of the six theaters into our worship space, and started meeting for worship there on May 1, 2011.
On Sunday, September 27, 2015, we launched our second campus in Rocky Mount, NC, at Rocky Mount Academy. We named our second campus, “Eastgate Community Church.” My son Jonathan, and his wife Nicole, planted our second campus, continuing our tradition of renting a school for our worship services. After two years at RMA, we leased space in a small strip center on Highway 301 and continue to meet there since September 2017.
In 2022, after celebrating 30 years as Wilson Community Church, we changed the name of our Wilson campus to Eastgate Church, reflecting our vision of being one church, two locations. And our vision to continue planting more churches in Eastern NC.
Looking back on 32 years of ministry, there’s so much to remember and to be thankful for. But I mostly remember the little things, the days of small beginnings, and how God has faithfully built His church and helped us to be faithful to be His church.
Praise God for 32 years!