Gateway launches a new apostolic ministry.

One morning earlier this year, I was having my quiet time with the Lord, and He told me Pastor Robert was going to talk to me about something very important. Having a significant conversation with him wasn’t unusual since we’ve been close friends for 25 years, but the Lord said this one would be different and that I should say yes to whatever Pastor Robert asked me to do.

A few weeks later, we were teaching together at a Pastors School seminar that I host, and he asked me to pray about coming on staff at Gateway to help develop and lead an apostolic network for churches. I told him I didn’t need to pray about it. God had already prepared me and told me I’m going to come work for him. So last June, I joined the Gateway Church staff, which was the fulfillment of a promise I made to the Lord many years ago.

My first ministry job was at Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo, Texas. I was hired to be a marriage counselor, but through a series of events, 10 months later, I became the senior pastor. It was a 1,000-member church, and I was a terrified 29-year-old with absolutely no experience. I had gone to school for business, not ministry, so I had never prepared messages, never led a staff, never taken an offering. I even had to ask a guy at the funeral home how to perform a funeral because I didn’t know how to do one. I was lost, and I felt completely isolated. I didn’t have anyone to mentor me and answer my questions. The benefit of that was it created a desperation in me to draw closer to God and His wisdom. Even so, I made a lot of mistakes. One day, I sat in my office and told the Lord, “If You get me through this, I’ll help other people.”

By God’s grace, I survived, and Trinity Fellowship flourished and grew. We did some unique and exciting things—listening for the Lord’s guidance through it all—and even though it was an imperfect situation, we built a godly model for church leadership. That model is what Gateway is built on. When Gateway first started, I spent the first three to four months helping Pastor Robert. I prayed with him, talked with him about how to create healthy church leadership, and counseled him through issues as they arose. As Gateway has grown, he hasn’t needed me as much, but he knows I’m here if he ever needs me. That kind of support is difficult to come by for most pastors.

How many pastors have a phone number they can call to get someone to come sit next to them, cry with them, and hurt with them? How many pastors have someone else who will say, “We’re in this together” and help them through a crisis? Not many. This is why we’re doing what we’re doing—because hands-on, relational ministry is crucial.

Our vision for Gateway Network is to provide churches with spiritually rich resources, counsel, support, and, ultimately, committed relationship. We want to lovingly raise up, patiently equip and train, and passionately release gifts within the global Church.

The two main passions of my life’s work are to help people with marriage and family issues and to help the Church develop healthy leadership. That frightened, isolated young pastor is in my DNA, and I’m thrilled God has given Gateway the wisdom and a platform to bring resources, support, and health to churches all over the world, so other pastors don’t have to go through what I did.

Over the next two years, you’ll see the launch of several initiatives within the Gateway Network, starting by making resources available to churches so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel to teach their congregations and manage their churches. This includes Equip classes, children’s ministry curriculum, staff development tools, seminars, departments’ best practices, position papers, HR policies, and more. And as we grow, we’ll provide more advanced relational opportunities to churches.

The early Church made disciples and grew in number because people traveled long distances and laid hands on one another to impart training and the Holy Spirit. The Gateway Network is doing a new old thing by returning to that model. We’re going back to the roots of the apostolic church as seen in the book of Acts, which was the perfect picture of what the Church was designed to be. In the kingdom of God, everything is transferred relationally, and I know we’ll see God continue to move powerfully as we return to this apostolic movement.

 

Pastor Jimmy Evans is the lead apostolic senior pastor at Gateway Church and has served as an apostolic elder since the beginning of Gateway. He is also the founder and CEO of MarriageToday and is the author of more than 10 books. He and his wife, Karen, have been married for more than 40 years and have two married children and five grandchildren. To learn more about Gateway Network, visit network.gatewaypeople.com.