Last year, as part of Gateway’s Heart for the Kingdom initiatives, parking spaces were added at the NRH Campus. The new parking spaces accommodated new members from the surrounding areas including Watauga, Hurst, Euless, Fort Worth and, of course ... Oregon?
Yes, Oregon. In this faraway, northwestern state, Fred and Vonis Waugh watched Pastor Robert share his testimony on LIFE Today with James and Betty Robison as part of their Living Free series. “We ordered the series, listened, and our lives changed forever.” For their anniversary, they decided to fly to Dallas/Fort Worth and visit Gateway. It wasn’t long before they completely uprooted their lives, moved to Texas and started attending the NRH Campus.
“After we met Pastor Byron Copeland (Executive Campus Pastor of Gateway NRH) at Guest Central, we knew he was family and felt God directing us here,” Fred says. “Pastor Byron spoke into our lives with such authority. He encouraged us to let God grow our lives organically. Over the last ten months, we have grown through attending the NRH Campus and participating in ministry opportunities. All we can say is, ‘Wow! God is good!’”
The Waughs are now involved in the Altar Ministry Team, praying for members and visitors every week. Fred says, “We feel so blessed to be a part of the awesome team at NRH. It’s family, and it’s home.”
The Gateway NRH community has been on quite a journey. Originally founded in 2007 as Gateway’s first extension campus, the NRH Campus has continued to grow while new campuses have joined the Gateway family. Last year, previous Campus Pastor Marcus Brecheen and part of the NRH congregation moved to the new North Fort Worth Campus. Pastor Byron and Associate Campus Pastor Tim Ross took over leadership of the NRH Campus. Now, the two campuses reach the western side of the Metroplex like two cooperative siblings.
In their first year overseeing Gateway NRH, Pastor Byron and Pastor Tim have focused their energy on making sure everyone who attends feels welcome. “There’s a great feel at NRH; a great connection between the congregation and the pastors,” says Pastor Tim. “There’s a lot of new people. There’s a lot of diversity at our campus. We’re all shapes and sizes!”
Indeed, NRH is one of Gateway’s most diverse campuses, partially because the congregation reflects the demographics of the surrounding area, but also because NRH leadership is intentional about reaching all kinds of people. Furthermore, NRH is the only campus to offer a service with Spanish translation and a service with signing for the deaf and hearing-impaired.
Pastor Byron says, “It’s a place where you can come, no strings attached, and worship the Lord and join the family. We consistently hear people say that it feels like home here.”
Worship Pastor Eric Orson agrees. “Every week,” he says, “either Pastor Byron or Pastor Tim will say to everyone, ‘Let’s hold hands and pray for each other.’ I love that! It sets the tone and says that we are a family.”
Later this year, the NRH Campus will undergo some remodeling. Classrooms will be created so Gateway ministries like Freedom and Equip can be added in the future. As the scope of ministry expands, more and more people will be welcomed with open arms to the Gateway NRH community.
That’s something Linda Sharbono experienced firsthand. Linda first visited the campus in September 2012. She says, “The presence of God was everywhere. I had been praying for God to guide me to the right church family. I knew immediately this was where I was meant to be.” Soon, Linda went through Catch the Vision and joined the Greeter Team.
A month later, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Even with God beside me, I still needed the support of my Christian brothers and sisters. When I shared the news with the Greeting Team, they prayed for me. Each time we met, special prayers were offered on my behalf. The words of encouragement they shared with me were soothing to my soul.” Linda also went forward many times to receive prayer from the Altar Ministry Team. She received support in her ladies’ Bible study and connected with Vonis Waugh, who leads a cancer support group.
Now, recovering from a critical surgery and undergoing chemo treatments, Linda is constantly grateful for her fellow Gateway NRH members. “As I recover, my church family brings me food, runs errands, mows my yard and prays for me daily. What a wonderful blessing all of this has been! Here at Gateway, God’s people reach out to those in need. I thank Him daily for my church family and know it was His will that brought me here.”