Welcome to East Park. We have been serving the Lord in the community of Decatur, Illinois for nearly 100 years. While the times have changed, our Biblical mandate has not. We are a Bible-based ministry that exists to glorify God by reaching the world for Christ and making disciples who are sincere in worship, unified in love, and equipped for service. Our desire at East Park is to prepare people to know Christ fully, proclaim Him fervently, and serve Him faithfully.

We believe that the loving grace of Jesus Christ is the greatest need of mankind today. Therefore, our desire is to see people enter into a personal relationship with Christ and see them become committed followers of Him. At East Park, this discipleship takes place in a warm, caring atmosphere which brings the joy and accountability needed for us to strengthen one another in our spiritual walk.

If you are looking for a church where you can grow into spiritual maturity or find answers to the tough questions of life, then East Park is for you!

If you have questions about our church or your spiritual destiny, please let us know. If you are in the area, or are looking for a church, please come see us. We would love to meet you.


Ryan Banman
Senior Pastor

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A native of Kansas, Pastor Banman has been in ministry for nearly fifteen years, serving as an assistant pastor for nine years before being led of the Lord to become the senior pastor of East Park Baptist Church where he has joyfully served since 2003. Through the Lord’s leading he was directed for Bible training to Bob Jones University where he met his wife Jamieson. The Lord has blessed them with two sons. Pastor Banman’s burden is to develop believers who serve and have a passion for God (Psalm 63:1).


Andy Merkle
Assistant Pastor for Youth and Music

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Pastor Merkle joined the staff of East Park Baptist Church in August 2008, relocating from Greenville, South Carolina along with his wife, Erika, and daughters, Emmalein and Celia. He received formal training in Bible and Church Music at Bob Jones University and brings ministry experience in education, music, and neighborhood evangelism. He desires to spend his remaining days furthering God’s Kingdom on earth through the Church by encouraging Christ-centered, Scripture-filled, and Spirit-controlled living in each soul the Lord brings his way.