For many high school students, summer church camp is the defining moment of their spiritual lives. But this year will look different for students at Gateway. Instead of going to a traditional church camp, the Gateway Stu- dents Ministry is holding its first ever Gateway Student Conference, a three-day event (July 23–25) for junior and senior high students.
Brian Cromer, Pastor of Gateway Students, describes the purpose and heart behind this change: “We want to set up our students for constant, long-term growth, not just for brief moments where they get close to God,” he says. “If we don’t plan strategically, they can end up with massive spiritual peaks and valleys.”
Strategic planning is what led Gateway Students to reevaluate every aspect of their weekly services—including their spiritual depth. The goal was to create a consistent experience that nurtures a spiritual ebb and flow, including more events for students to press deeper into their relationships with God and experience steady, upward growth. This new approach is already yielding spectacular results.
After the launch of Gateway Students, weekly attendance skyrocketed to around 1,200 students, which is fantastic! The problem? Last July, around 600 students went to summer camp. There wasn’t a bed or bus seat to spare. With double the students this year, there’s not a camp in America that can accommodate what God is doing in the hearts of our youth.
The second hurdle had to do with something that’s been on Pastor Brian’s heart: “Our vision for our students is to see them saved, healed, set free, discipled, equipped, empowered and serving. But it’s bigger than that,” he says. “It’s also our vision for the students in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex—for this entire generation.”
Camp at Gateway, while an awesome week of intense worship, deep teaching, late nights and some seriously energetic competition, has been exclusively for Gateway’s students. How could they incorporate kids and other ministries from around the Metroplex or even the world?
The Solution: Gateway Student Conference
Pastor Brian explains the heart of Gateway Student Conference: “A big part of Gateway’s DNA from the top down is to be a blessing—not just to our church, but the Church as a whole. Hands down, this will be the biggest event in the history of student ministry at Gateway Church.”
The inaugural conference will be packed from start to finish with creative elements, media, special guests and surprises. Speakers include John Gray, Rich Wilkerson Jr. and his wife, DawnCheré, along with Pastors Mike Guzzardo, Jason Laird, Brian Cromer and Tim Ross. Gateway Generate will lead the students in worship.
The conference will also feature a special opportunity for student ministry leaders and pastors to get resourced, poured into, revived and encouraged for ministry—no burnout allowed!
In an effort to help families with multiple students, ticket prices have been set at $69—a fraction of a typical ticket price for camp. The lower price not only helps families, but it gives the Gateway Students Ministry the potential to reach many more students than they could with a summer camp.
The Missing Link
Like any other event at Gateway, volunteers are needed! Gateway Student Conference needs anywhere from 200–300 volunteers to help in the parking lot, facilitate small group sessions and cover all the shifts necessary for an event of this magnitude. If you would like to give your time to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of our students, your help will have a much larger effect than you can imagine.