Eastwood Baptist Church seeks to 'plant trees' for the present and future generations


MARIETTA, Ga. — Dr. Randy Cheek was approaching 70 years old when he was called as senior pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church in Marietta. His first Sunday he preached a message that has become his personal prayer, “Lord, whatever you want, I want.”

Nearly four years later, Eastwood is experiencing growth in all areas. This year they are seeing more people baptized, they are giving more money to missions, and seeing incredible fruits through programs such as Celebrate Recovery.

In late April, the church gathered on a Sunday evening. There was a full house for a business meeting, where Pastor Randy, alongside executive pastor Kevin Scott and the lay leadership of the church, shared the vision God has given them for a new phase. Pastor Cheek explained, “We decided that we would move forward by ‘Building on the Past and Believing in the Future.’ My prayer continues to be, ‘Lord, whatever you want for Eastwood, I want for Eastwood.’”

Pastor Kevin Scott outlined the plan that had been developed by the church’s leadership and indicated that three issues had risen to the surface over months of deliberation which the staff and lay leadership felt needed to be addressed.

First, Scott stressed the importance of reaching the community. He indicated that the church was tucked away in a corner and not facing the most traveled road nearby. He was direct and candid, saying,  “We have a visibility issue.”

Scott told members that the church leadership proposed building a tower facing the main road, which would be illuminated to draw attention to the church.

“Pastor Randy and I believe God is calling us to reach future generations,” Scott said, “but we want our building to look like a church. Jesus is the Light of the world, so we want our church to be light, bright, and open.”

According to Eastwood’s leadership, the second and third phases of construction will include features to make improvements for the congregation and the children. Those elements of construction and renovation include relocating the church offices and the preschool area, reconfiguring the worship center and increasing the seating capacity by 100-125, installing an elevator, and constructing an amphitheater for outdoor revivals, concerts, etc.

The total cost of the three phases, according to Scott, will be close to $4 million, but the first phase could be completed for $1 million. He explained the desire of the staff and finance committee to enter the first phase without incurring any debt. The church Is seeking to have 80 percent pledged and 50 percent of the money in the bank before beginning the project.

Scott added, “We need to be a lighthouse for our community. This community may be done with God, but God is not done with this community, and it is only good news if it gets there in time.” Scott, who grew up at Eastwood, challenged the older members with this statement, saying, “It has been said that a society grows great when old men plant trees under which they will not sit.”

“Are we content to stay like we are,” Scott asked, “or do we want to move forward and make decisions to do what we believe God has in store for us, and are we willing to make those sacrifices that will benefit future generations?”

Senior Pastor Cheek then held up an envelope given to him by a lady in the church containing a few pennies. “Let these pennies serve as seed money,” he said, “to inspire us and just watch God blow us away with His blessings.”

After a thorough presentation of the plans articulated by the pastors, the congregation enthusiastically and loudly expressed its support for proceeding with the first phase of the building program. The “yes” vote was expressed with shouts of support and celebration.