Every Sunday morning a team of faithful volunteers unloads trailers at Godley Station School. Rain or shine, this core group sets up an entire “church” in a matter of hours. Reece Myran is one of those who dedicates his morning so others can experience Gateway Community Church. “Every Christian is a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” says Myran. “As such, I have the obligation and the privilege of finding a way to serve my brothers and sisters in Christ, and the surrounding community.” It’s a physically demanding routine, but one that wholeheartedly captures the power behind Gateway.
We Get To Do This
The catchphrase originally served as motivation for the volunteers who pour sweat during setup. “We made sure to tell stories to our volunteers each week,” says Sam Martin, executive pastor, Gateway. “We would tell about families that were coming to Gateway and finding healing and hope. We would tell about addictions being broken and marriages being restored. When you keep the stories of why we do this every week in front of people, then you understand that we actually do get to do this!”
Today “We Get To Do This” serves as a foundation for Gateway’s mission. The five words encompass the church’s core values: people, life change, relationships and commitment matter to God.
Each Sunday, Gateway attracts more than 750 people to its services and nearly 250 children in fifth grade or below to its youth program. Its reach extends into the community as well. Every year Gateway holds a special service where it donates $3 for every person in attendance for Backpack Buddies. Gateway also supports Loaves & Fishes, a yearly giant Easter egg hunt, other local events, mission trips and orphanages in Honduras and Mexico.
Same Bible, Different Church
Gateway prides itself on being a different church. From the moment doors opened in 2006, its approach to bringing people closer to Christ has been creative. “What makes Gateway different is our intentional approach to helping people who are new to church feel welcomed and embraced,” says Matt Hearn, senior pastor, Gateway. Whether it be the come-as-you-are invite, the uplifting band or the smiling faces, Gateway has a way of making you feel right at home.
Drew C. can attest to Gateway’s healing power and welcoming style. A recovering alcoholic, Drew is in his sixth year of sobriety. He’s also one of the nearly 300 volunteers who serve at Gateway. “I feel loved and I feel at home,” says Drew. “The opportunity to serve and worship alongside God’s people in an atmosphere of love and grace has forever changed me.”
If you drive down Pine Barren Road in Bloomingdale, you’ll notice an almost-complete building. Slated to open later this year, it’s the new brick and mortar for Gateway. The 18,400-square-foot building will be a welcomed addition for Gateway staff and members; it will be a place to call home. Over the next few years the goal is to add 18,000 sq. ft., making it possible for 1,000 people to attend a service. No matter what changes the future brings, there is one thing that won’t change – the new building will house the same values that made Gateway what it is today. “The culture of the people is what really defines a church, “said Pastor Hearn. “My hope is that people will continue to feel welcomed and embraced in our new environment.”
Gateway meets every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Gateway is also expanding to Southside Savannah, and will open a campus inside White Bluff United Methodist Church in January 2018. For more information, visit gatewaysavannah.com