As one of the nation's top 10 largest congregations, Gateway Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is influencing the 21st-century church through its extensive ministry, global missions and innovative technology that it offers for the benefit of the church worldwide.
The church partners with 173 ministries in 47 countries, says Lawrence Swicegood, Gateway's executive director of media.
"Collectively, these ministries reach tens of millions of people worldwide," he says. "We are providing leadership training, pastoral guidance, financial aid and various ministry support. It's very important to us to partner with pastors and ministers already doing great work in those cities and countries around the world."
Swicegood says God is moving in the world and that the work of the Holy Spirit is evident as lives are being changed and large numbers of people are being saved and baptized.
Gateway, a multicampus church listed as the 24th fastest-growing church in America, began in 2000. It has since grown to more than 26,000 active members.
"Although hundreds and thousands are being influenced, we really focus on the individual in everything we do," Swicegood says. "We believe every number has a name, every name has a story and every story matters to God."
The church is probably best known for the best-selling book of its founding senior pastor, Robert Morris, called The Blessed Life. Teaching from personal experience, Morris presents a biblical message of blessing that speaks in terms not only of abundance but also supernatural power. The Blessed Life is also weekly television program that reaches more than 90 million homes in the United States and into more than 200 countries around the world.
The church is known for its annual Gateway Conference, where thousands of pastors, leaders and ministry staff come together to hear from God, to rejuvenate and to receive ministry insight and training.
"Many churches look to Gateway in terms of the way we do ministry and our healthy church environment," Swicegood says. "They reach out and ask how a growing church can have a healthy balance of ministry, family and seasons of rest."
In the technology realm, Gateway serves up "The Table," a tool that helps churches provide their members with real-time engagement, community and discipleship. Offering self-assessment tools, personal growth opportunities and an online giving mechanism, the social platform is designed to bring the church to the people 24/7 and operates on smartphones, tablets and the Web.
Additionally, Gateway places a significant focus on Paul's teaching "to the Jew first" (Rom. 1:16; 2:10) and considers that teaching to be one of the cornerstones of the church. As Swicegood says, the Great Commission calls every believer to be involved in taking the gospel into all the world—to the Jew first and then to the Gentiles.
"The church has a full-time Jewish pastor, offers a monthly Messianic service at its main campus, and partners with Jewish and Messianic ministries throughout the world," Swicegood says. "One of our missions is to reach, help and engage with the Jewish people because God's hand of blessing is upon them."
In his recent annual report message, Morris said he was amazed by how God moved in 2013, sharing that the year brought 4,775 professions of faith in Christ, a 21 percent increase in weekly attendance and $13 million donated through Gateway Global, the church's giving arm.
"We never want to forget the vision of Gateway is being met as people are getting saved, healed, set free, discipled, equipped, empowered and serving," Morris told his congregation. "It gives us the faith to move forward!" —Troy Anderson
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