Eastview Baptist Church Origins…
The Growth of its Calling and the Construction of its Present Buildings
The mission’s committee of the First Baptist Church of Belton met September 25, 1959 to recommend a mission on O’Neal Street. A census was taken which indicated a large number of prospects. Dr. M.T. Haynie agreed to build a building that may be later converted into a house, on any one of several lots in the area.
Two old school buses and two old city buses were purchased which would provide Sunday School and Nursery space.
January 24, 1960, services were held for the first time in the chapel (house without partitions). Max McGee Rice brought the first message and there were 49 persons present. Mr. Rice preached until May 1960. At that time Frank Shirley was called to be the first pastor of Eastview.
On December 11, 1960 with membership of 92 Eastview Mission became Eastview Baptist Church and at that time was accepted into the Saluda Baptist Association.
Eastview had grown so fast in their membership that it was evident another building was necessary. Easter Sunday 1961 services were held in a wing of the building that had been constructed. This wing had a temporary auditorium and several Sunday School departments and class rooms. This wing cost $48,000 and the First Baptist Church gave $15,000 toward the cost of the building.
A home for the Pastor of Eastview was needed. Our Pastors were being housed in rental property in the area. A lot had been given to the church by Dr. M.T. Haynie and he built the pastorium; it was completed across the street from the church on Meeks Drive in February, 1963.
Sunday morning October 31, 1965 the church paid the debt owed on the temporary auditorium and education building. On November 7, 1965, a special service was held for the burning of the mortgage on the education wing.
Frank Shirley, the first pastor, served the church until May 1962. He resigned to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rev. W. H. Harbin served as the interim pastor until August 1962. Rev. Hal R. Hovis came in August 1962 and served until February 5, 1967 as pastor. Rev. William E. Tisdale served as interim pastor until June 11, 1967. Rev. Bruce Clampitt came June 11, 1967 as pastor.
Ground was broken October 12, 1967 for the erecting of our present auditorium. Contract was awarded to M.L. Garrett Construction Company for the amount of $93,000. Services were held for the first-time June 23, 1968. After entering the new auditorium, the temporary auditorium has been remodeled and made into a nursery and church office.
A third building program was begun on November 30, 1980. This was for the construction of a new Office Complex and Fellowship Building. The contract was awarded to M.T. Construction Company for $165,000. The total cost of construction was $175,000 including landscaping and furniture. The church had in its building fund $85,000 which resulted in having to borrow $80,000. This building was dedicated on November 15, 1981. The value of the property of Eastview Baptist Church exceeded $750,000 and the total enrollment was 725. God had truly been good to Eastview. The pastor of Eastview Baptist Church at that time was Dr. Robert Miller.
Our building programs have ceased and without question, changes have come and gone over the years, Pastors have come and gone and the congregation and its leadership have changed as well. However, the desire of the church remains the same…to be true to the Lord Jesus and His calling. We seek to be Salt and Light to our community and all who enter into these buildings that I like to call the church-house of Eastview Baptist Church.
Yes, things have changed, and people have come and gone and will continue to do so as Eastview Baptist Church seeks to be true to the calling received back in 1960. But one thing remains the same…The Church called Eastview is not the buildings that the Lord has provided over these 57 years of which we are so very grateful. It is so vital that we always realize and appreciate the fact that “The Church is The People” who are called the Family and Fellowship known as Eastview Baptist Church. We remain committed to our call from the Lord as we remain steadfast in our commitment to the Lord saying that we are committed to this vision… “Sharing the Light and Love of Jesus Christ in Belton and Beyond.” (April, 2017)
Praise the Lord!
Rev. Randy E. Blank