WHEN PASTOR THOMAS MILLER was hired to be Gateway’s worship pastor 15 years ago, he made a list of all the things he hoped to do through Gateway Worship. On this list, he held nothing back—the sky was the limit. It was a rather unorthodox approach to taking the job because at the time, Gateway’s attendance was around 100 people, and his list included high-level musical productions, album releases, choirs, a songwriting community, and a training program for worship team members. “The Lord told me to write these things down,” he says, “but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen or how it was going to look in the end.”
He set up a meeting with Pastor Robert and presented his grand vision for Gateway Worship. “That sounds great—let’s do it,” Pastor Robert responded simply. And with that, Gateway Worship was born.
Now, on Gateway’s 15th anniversary, every huge goal on Thomas’s list has been reached—and exceeded. There have been many key moments along the way—including the first time he led worship at Gateway. “Pastor Robert was on his knees with his hands raised, pouring his heart out,” says Thomas. “It confirmed to me that he’s the worship leader. And I knew that because of his heart we would see God give Gateway a strong culture of worship.”
Through the years, powerful times of worship have become synonymous with Gateway Church. Much of that has to do with Thomas’s vision to develop leaders who have a heart for worship—a vision he’s had since there were only a few leaders to develop. “I remember when the worship team would gather together for family time each weekend and all of us were able to fit into a small room,” says Tim Sheppard, executive pastor of worship artistry. Nowadays, you would need a warehouse to hold all of Gateway’s worship leaders and musicians. Gateway has expanded to five campuses with services being held almost daily, and the worship department is able to draw from more than 400 committed worship leaders and musicians.
As Gateway has grown, each campus worship team started developing their own unique style and sound. They all contain Gateway Worship’s DNA, and they all have the same goal in mind: to experience God in the greatest way possible. “It’s about unity, not uniformity,” says Thomas. Over the years, strong leaders began to emerge, contributing songs that have now been heard around the world. Gateway Worship has released five live worship albums along with a myriad of singles and studio recordings.
That’s one of the things Thomas wrote down when he started at Gateway, but he could not have predicted just how much of a global impact these songs would go on to have. “It’s funny because when the Lord told me to write that list, I was trying to figure out how we were going to put a band together,” he says. “I had a lot of dreams, but I never thought it would be what it is today.”