Every Sunday morning, Don and Kay wake up at 4:30 am to get to church on time. They drive 114 miles—about an hour and forty-five minutes—to the Gateway Grand Prairie Campus, where Don serves as a deacon. They probably pass hundreds of churches (including the Gateway Southlake and Frisco Campuses) as they make their way to Grand Prairie, but the reason they are so dedicated to the campus they call home is a simple act of obedience. “At first, our conversation went like this: ‘What are we doing? We’re driving two hours each way to watch a one-hour service,’” says Don. “But God kept telling me to stay faithful. So we did.”
They chose the Grand Prairie Campus because they have friends and family in the area, and in the two years they’ve attended, much has changed. For one, it has undergone a massive facelift since it was added as a campus in early 2013. “The first Sunday we attended was when Pastor Robert came over to welcome the Grand Prairie Campus to Gateway,” says Don. Soon after that, Don became an usher where he was able to do one of his favorite things: care for people.
Another big change happened just over a year ago when Don was asked to be a deacon. This volunteer position came with many responsibilities—so many that he was unsure about accepting the invitation. A deacon’s job includes administering communion, counting and collecting offerings, making sure all the volunteers work together effectively, and a number of other duties. Don’s main concern was that these added responsibilities would pull his time away from caring for people. However, he quickly learned he was able to indirectly care for more people than ever before.
From the moment he gets there in the morning to the moment he leaves, he’s not alone. “I couldn’t do all of this without my wife,” says Don. “She helps me a tremendous amount.” In fact, it’s rare to see Don serving without Kay by his side. Together, they can be seen praying with people at the altar after service, handing out bulletins, talking with people in the lobby, filling in as ushers, training volunteers, and doing a host of other things for the church building and its people.
Don and Kay’s story is one of servanthood, and through their service they’re able to care for people. And while their story is certainly unique, each campus has a team of dedicated deacons who ensure that everything runs smoothly. “Being a deacon is all about serving,” says Don. “It’s the same at each campus. It’s all about meeting the needs of others.”
What Exactly Does a Gateway Deacon Do?
What Is a Deacon?
The deacon’s role was originally created because those ministering in the New Testament often had to stop feeding the flock spiritually to take care of things like collecting offerings or maintaining the church building. So the ministers asked for people to come alongside them and help with the physical administration of the church. The word “deacon” is translated from the Greek word diakoneo, which means, “to serve, wait on, help, or attend to.” The deacons at Gateway exemplify what it means to be “all about people.” We have 175 deacons serving at Gateway.
Who Can Be a Deacon?
The Bible calls for deacons to meet the highest spiritual, moral, and practical qualifications, which can be found in Acts 6 and 1 Timothy 3. They must be full of the Holy Spirit, wisdom, and faith. They must also be sincere, be worthy of respect, not indulge in much wine, not pursue dishonest gain, be the husband or wife of one spouse, and manage their home well.
What Do They Do?
From coordinating communion to training volunteers to greeting weekend guests to praying for people, our deacons oversee the Guest Experience volunteer teams for weekend services. This includes the parking lot team, door greeters, Fresh Start team, Serve (volunteer) Lounge hosts, supply team, Guest Central hosts, Welcome Center hosts, communion teams, and ushers.