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In the spring of 1995, Eastgate Christian Fellowship was officially planted as a new church in Panama City Beach.  What had started out as a small home-group Bible study had blossomed into a fuller expression of Christian community.  Nothing about the first few stages of our development could be classified as "run of the mill".  Having come out of a rather legalistic church background, my wife Robbie and I basically took everything we had known and been trained in, and threw it at Jesus' feet, asking Him to pick up what He wanted to be included in building His church.  We began with no real plan or pattern, just a sincere desire for something real, honest, and Christ centered instead of man centered.  Several mistakes and learning experiences later, we have come to be a thriving community of Christians, who love one another, care for one another, grow from one another, and revel in the awesome grace of God.

 

For the first six years as a church, we met in a small renovated former dress shop in the Promenade Mall, which was well off the beaten path. During this time, we began to develop our particular approach to the outward expression of church community. Pushing the envelope somewhat, we have come to a rather unique style of meeting as the church. That style has as it's utmost goal to promote a casual, comfortable and peaceful environment, where we can be real with each other and with God. 

 

Outward style is one thing, but the real community is about the people.  Our community began with a small core of friends that has been added to over the years by the wonderful providence of God. Community, worship, teaching and experiencing God's grace have become our greatest priorities.

 

In March of 2001, we moved to a new location in the Beachwalk Center, a few blocks down from the Promenade Mall.  The meeting room is twice the size, and has more room for children's meetings.  Keeping the same style, but expanding it, has been a fun and creative challenge, and one that is ongoing.  

 

In June of 2003, we moved into a third unit at the Beachwalk Center, for an even larger meeting facility.  The original building is a fellowship hall for women's & men's meetings as well as youth group meetings.  You may even catch us watching a game of football there once in awhile too...

 

I hope this gives you some insight as to where we've been, and who we are as a fellowship.  If there is anything else you'd like to know, drop me a line at eastgate@knology.net, and I'll try and answer it.  God bless you!

Rob Woodrum (the pastor guy)

 

If you want to see an article written about Rob and his father in the Panama City News Herald, 

click here.