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First Conference

As we trust in the Lord, our strength is renewed. Be refreshed this new year with hope-filled messages at First Conference. Each of our guest speakers is bringing an awesome message you won’t want to miss. Whatever your goals, dreams, and hopes are for this year, take some time to be refreshed and encouraged for your steps ahead!

Join us for First Conference live at the Southlake Campus, simulcast at all DFW campuses, or online! Children’s ministry will be available.

January 6–10

Weekend Services
Samuel Rodriguez 

Samuel Rodriguez is the lead pastor of New Season Church in California and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Samuel is recognized by CNN, FOX News, Univision, and Telemundo as America’s most influential Latino/Hispanic faith leader; he was listed as one of the 40 leaders who changed the world (Charisma) and as the only faith leader on the list of the top 12 Latino leaders (The Wall Street Journal). Samuel was named among the “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America” (Newsmax 2018) and nominated as one of the “100 most influential people in the world” (TIME 2013); and he is the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award presented by the Congress of Racial Equality. Samuel advised Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump and frequently consults with members of Congress to advance life, religious liberty, and biblical justice initiatives. He is the bestselling author of Be Light and executive producer of three films including Breakthrough.

Sunday Evening | 6 pm
Joakim Lundqvist

Pastor Joakim Lundqvist is a pastor and international ambassador for Word of Life Church in Uppsala, Sweden. Even in an extremely secularized nation, the church has grown to over 3,000 and has become the mother church of an international network of over 800 churches in Europe, Russia, Central Asia, the Middle East, India, and beyond. Pastor Joakim is also the director of Word of Life One Year Bible School which has graduated more than 12,000 students in Sweden and 55,000 worldwide. He’s also the founder of New Generation, an organization with more than 15,000 members in Sweden and 25,000 worldwide, encouraging students to come together for prayer and to share the gospel. He has visited over 50 nations sharing his passion for inspiring believers to make a difference for Jesus in their own worlds, and he’s the author of four books. Pastor Joakim and his wife, Maria, have been married for 34 years. They have two daughters serving in ministry and two grandsons.

Monday Evening | 7 pm
Jonathan Evans

Jonathan Evans is a mentor, author, speaker, and former NFL fullback who treasures his relationship with Christ along with the opportunity to use his life to glorify God. Jonathan seeks to impact today’s athletes, men, and young adults by equipping and encouraging them in their faith. Jonathan serves with his father, pastor, and friend, Dr. Tony Evans, both in the local church and the national ministry. They also teamed up together to write Get in the Game, a practical guidebook filled with sports analogies and spiritual truths aimed at strengthening readers with the skills they need for living victoriously. Jonathan is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in Christian leadership. He also serves as the chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys and co-chaplain of the Dallas Mavericks. Jonathan and his wife, Kanika, are the proud parents to five children.

Tuesday Evening | 7 pm
Lisa Harper

Lisa Harper is a compelling communicator who has served the Church for over 30 years. Six of those years were spent as the director of Focus on the Family’s national women’s ministry where she led Renewing the Heart conferences attended by almost 200,000 women. She also spent a decade touring with Women of Faith where she spoke to over one million women about the unconditional love of God. She earned her master’s degree in theological studies from Covenant Seminary and recently completed her doctoral studies at Denver Seminary. Lisa has been a guest on numerous television and radio programs including TBN’s Better Together. She also hosts her podcast, Lisa Harper’s Back Porch Theology. She’s spoken at hundreds of national and international women’s events and is locally invested in the Church, leading the same weekly neighborhood Bible study for 15 years. She’s the author of 15 books including the recent best-selling devotional, Life, and seven Bible study video curriculums including Job: A Story of Unlikely Joy and How Much More: Discovering God’s Extravagant Love in Unexpected Places. Lisa would say her greatest accomplishment is becoming a mom to her adopted daughter in 2014.

Wednesday Evening | 7 pm
Dr. Dharius Daniels

Dr. Dharius Daniels is the founder and lead pastor of Change Church, a vibrant multicampus ministry impacting people of all ages and socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Dr. Dharius has a commitment to not only ministry but also education. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi; a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey; and a doctor of ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Dr. Dharius is a certified personal coach and speaks frequently in seminaries and churches across the country. He launched Daniel’s Den Mentoring Program which includes a coaching group and leadership intensive and serves as an adjunct professor at Princeton. His most recent book, Relational Intelligence: The People Skills You Need for the Life of Purpose You Want, was inspired by his passion for transformation. He and his wife, Shameka, are the proud parents of two sons.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

Prayer and Fasting

Start off the new year by dedicating the first fruits of your year and investing time in your relationship with the Lord. Spending time in prayer or fasting are practical ways you can set aside distractions and invite God into 2024!

Visit to find resources on prayer or if you’d like someone to agree with you in prayer leading into the new year. Check your campus Facebook group or Instagram page to see if they are hosting a special opportunity to join together in prayer with your church family.

If you’re considering fasting at the beginning of the year, read “You Might Be Fasting If …” for some fun encouragement! Participating in a fast is an outward demonstration of giving something up—food,* technology, or an activity—and replacing it with time dedicated to the Lord. This discipline gives the Lord space to take the place of something else we frequently engage with. Prepare your heart to receive whatever God may want to speak to you during your fast; when we silence distractions, we are able to hear His voice more clearly.

*If you plan to fast from food for any length of time, we encourage you to consult with your doctor.

Gateway Devotional

Dive deeper into God’s Word and His love for you this new year with one of Gateway’s churchwide devotionals written for you by our pastors and leaders!

Gateway’s 2024 devotional, Know Love Like This: 21 Days of Discovering God's Heart for You, will be released in your campus bookstore on December 23 and online at