Tag: Gateway Church

Why we stopped going to summer camp

This year we made what would seem like one of the hardest decisions a ministry team would make. After three years of very successful summer camp experiences for kids, middle school and high school, lets not do them any more. When I proposed this to my team back in the fall and explained why I wanted to kill summer camp, it took very little convincing. I was kind of surprised actually.

Why did we kill summer camp?

Two reasons really.

To better align with our strategy
To make room for something better

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Doing Church Strategically

The High School serving trip to Branson I wrote about last week and the strategic view of a spiritual path of lost to leading has had me thinking quite a bit lately. Gateway Branson is crazy focused on reaching the homeless and working poor in Branson. Currently, they are working with about 20 hotels, serving meals to 700 or so people every week. They know that there are about 400-600 more that they need to provide meals for and they’re working hard to get the resources to do this.

Here’s what I love about this model of ministry. They have a hyper specific target, the poor and homeless. They know how many they are. They know where they live. They are actively pursuing ministry to their target. Probably within the next couple of years, they will have a significant presence that saturates their target. I think that success for them is probably where everyone in any one of those hotels feels loved and cared for by Gateway Branson. When that kind of environment is created, people will experience the life and freedom that only comes through Jesus. I’m sure their work will never be done, but with this very strategic target, you could almost set a deadline for “completion.” X Number of meals a week, X number of events at each hotel each month and X number of small groups/recovery groups at each hotel. I love that kind of strategy.

Last night I experienced the same kind of excitement about Gateway Austin.

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Spiritual Path: Lost to Leading

On Tuesday, I wrote a blog post about Gateway Branson, one of my church’s networks that we took 30+ students to serve last week. The way ministry is happening there seems to have struck a chord. It’s so different, but it seems so right… like church in it’s purest form.

Gateway Branson actually started as a non-profit ministry that fed the homeless and working poor. That was and continues to be the mission. People, but Christ followers and those who don’t follow Jesus connected with the ministry because they caught the vision. It wasn’t until a few years later that the ministry began streaming live services from Austin to both volunteers and the people they served. Church as we know it, where we sing a few songs, hear a good message and then grab lunch before the Baptists, isn’t really at the center of who Gateway Branson is. They exist to serve the homeless and the working poor. Everyone helps and serves. Many of the most faithful volunteers every week are homeless and working poor, serving other homeless and working poor. Many of these faithful servants, being the hands and feet of Jesus haven’t even actually put their faith in Jesus… yet. Hmmm, that’s kind of radical.

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Gateway Branson

Last week I helped lead a serving trip for High School students to Branson, MO. I know, people keep asking, “Branson, Missouri? On a mission trip?” Yes, it’s not what you would expect, but yes. Let me tell you more about what is happening in Branson, it’s really cool.

So, about three or four years ago, Brian and Amy Stallings, who have lived in Branson for over a decade became aware of the poor and homeless situation in Branson and felt called by God to do something. They started an organization called “Jesus was Homeless” and began feeding those in need. It just started with 30-40 people and has grown significantly. More on that in a second.

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Promoting Parent Cue

For years now, I’ve been transitioning Gateway into a family friendly church. It’s not that Gateway wasn’t family friendly before I got here, but we’ve been working hard to create intentional opportunities where families are equipped and encouraged and handed tools that empower them to lead their kids on a journey of faith. We’ve got a lot of things in the works right now and will be unveiling some stuff later this year, but a big win has been the Parent Cue app.

Since we use Orange Curriculum (My First Look, 252 Basics and XP3) it makes the Parent Cue app a no brainer for equipping parents. We simply communicate to parents that they need to download the app and now they can better connect with the content their kids get every weekend.

Here’s the video we produced to promote the Parent Cue App. It’s AMAZING!

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How do you know the Bible isn’t just propaganda?

Yesterday I posted about the series we’re doing at Gateway called, “Who do you Know?” It’s a great series that tackles big questions the most Christ Followers ask and pretty much every seeker is asking. Last Sunday, we started the series off with, “How do you know the Bible isn’t just propaganda?” It was probably the best message I’ve ever experienced that set up a case for the truth and dependability of the Bible. You should watch it below.

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The best of Gateway

I celebrated my 4 year anniversary at Gateway a few weeks ago. More than ever before, I’m so grateful to be at this church. I’ve been at three churches since being in ministry and usually by year four, things were changing and I found myself looking for a new opportunity. Gateway is different thought. I’m at year four and I’m looking forward to the next 10 years here. I love my church!

Last Sunday Gateway started a new series called, “How Do You Know?” I think that this series represents some of what makes Gateway so amazing! It’s a creative series asking the questions that most people really struggle with. Questions like:

How do you know the Bible isn’t just propaganda?
How do you know God cares?
How do you know that Jesus is the only way?
How do you know you’re right with God?

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Four years and counting

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.

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Gateway Church: Easter – Your Great Story

I just have to write about why I love my church so much.

There’s something amazing when you get to be on staff at a church that you’d certainly attend if you weren’t ministry. I’m about to celebrate my 4th year at Gateway and I’m so proud to be at this church.

Two of Gateway’s core values is to be a church for those who are far from God and to place a high value stories. Both of those values were carried out at our Easter services this year.

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Does your church have a unified voice?

I’m about to celebrate 4 years of serving at Gateway Church and let me tell you, I’m so thankful. It’s been a wonderful journey so far and I’m looking forward to many more years ahead of me. One of the things I love the most is how strategic Gateway is about reaching a specific demographic. Jim Wideman had done some consulting for Gateway years ago and while interviewing, he told me that Gateway was one of the very few churches he’d worked with that very closely reflected the culture they were trying to reach.

One of the ways that Gateway does this is training leadership in the “Voice of Gateway.” Just a few weeks ago we sat through a 30 minute refresher in an all-staff meeting.

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