“Growing up, I’ve always been open to trying new things. I played football, tennis, sang in the choir, and participated in many extracurricular events at school. But when I thought about church, my attitude was different. I felt like it was a place to sit in a chair and learn about God. Then one day when I was playing football, my viewpoint changed. I ran a receiver route and broke my femur clean in two. The recovery process was tough physically, but I felt like God was leading me on a spiritual journey of humility and confidence to try new things and see church in a different way. It was during this time I truly received Christ and dedicated my life to Him. My dad had volunteered as an usher for the Gateway North Fort Worth Campus, and a few months later I felt like the Holy Spirit gave me a push to try volunteering too. I wanted to grow in my relationship with the Lord, but I was still shy to the idea of volunteering. After all, as a 15-year-old, I saw adults all around me volunteering and thought, Where could a kid fit in with all these grown-ups?

Then my dad introduced the idea of ushering with him on weekends. I was excited to volunteer, but I thought ushers just help people find a seat, but I found out it’s much more than that—it’s making sure people have the right spot to encounter God. It’s an awesome thing to think about: God had you sitting where you did for a reason. My dad introduced me to the usher captain, and within a few weeks I began serving alongside my dad every Sunday. At that time I was the youngest usher at the North Fort Worth Campus.

Looking back, I’m thankful to God for nudging me to pursue a deeper connection with Him. He helped me see Gateway as a home to help out in—not just a place to sit and watch someone speak. As far as volunteering in a position mostly adults do, I’m not shy anymore, and I even started volunteering as a captain at Gateway Students. I am confident God is working in my life and giving me more opportunities to connect and serve with more of my church family at Gateway.” Thomas and his family attend the North Fort Worth Campus.