Yesterday I celebrated my fourth year of coming on staff at Gateway Church in Austin, TX. I vividly remember driving from the Orange Conference in Atlanta with my little family and my car fully packed halfway across the country. Not only was excited about moving to a new city and taking on a new job that was fresh and exciting, but I was amazed how God seemingly directed events on a major scale to move me into a job that was exactly what I needed and exactly the right time. 12 months earlier, I’m not sure how I would have felt about this kind of role, but as God had been shaping my heart for a different strategy for ministry in recent months, God provided an opportunity to do what he was preparing me for. I have a pretty cool story of how God called me to each church/ministry I’ve been a part of and Gateway was no exception. I know that God called me to this church.

The past four years have been very rewarding, but not without challenges. I spent almost a year as a Children’s Pastor managing vacant positions at two campuses while we looked for just the right person. We made great strides during that time, but it was long and hard. The last year I’ve managed a vacant student ministry position which has been really hard. Very few weeks went by when I wasn’t gripped by the fear that this might be the week where all the leaders and students decide that they’re done and no longer want to come. But they never did and we’ve actually gained some momentum in some key areas while we’ve been on the pastor search. At a much slower pace than I would have liked, we’ve began building a ministry philosophy where parents are engaged much more intentionally. We’ve got a long way to go, but what we do offer is really good and the team pulling this stuff off really gets it.

Gateway Church has been a such a wonderful home. It’s not been perfect by any means. I’ve been frustrated at time and felt lost at other times. Sometimes I’ve doubted my place on the overall team, but I think that those are just the challenges that any leader faces. What I’ve truly loved about my church is how the mission of the church is being carried out in every aspect of the church and staff. We’re not just creating an environment where people can experience God through the services and programs we create. 30-40% of the staff came to faith at Gateway. I saw significant spiritual growth in my own life because of my involvement on staff. There may be a lot of churches that do certain things a lot better than Gateway, but the things that Gateway does get right, they’re probably some of the most important things of all!

So, here’s to four years! It’s not been easy, but it has been an adventure. I think we’ve laid the groundwork for some really powerful stuff that we’ll get to experience in the next 4-5 years. I’ve never been more proud to serve at a church than I am to serve here at Gateway.