John and Linda Schneider are empty nesters, but every other Sunday their home is buzzing with young men and women, the same age as their children. “We began with two or three people and ended up with nine or ten,” Linda says. This is their Gateway Group, and the Schneiders started it with the sole purpose of reaching millennials with the truth of God’s Word.
John and Linda met years ago in the United States Air Force—he was a captain-select and she worked as a program analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense. Like most military families, they moved around a lot. They were part of communities in Alabama, Virginia, and Arizona. Both believers and lovers of God’s Word, the Schneiders stayed active in ministry no matter where they landed. After Linda became a stay-at-home mom to their two children and John left the military, their family moved to Greensboro, North Carolina, where they lived for 10 years. It was in Greensboro where Linda received her ministry calling. “I was voraciously going to women’s Bible studies and people spoke words over me—one woman put her hand on me and said, ‘You’re supposed to teach,’” Linda says.
Although Linda wasn’t convinced at the time, she pursued training to teach Bible studies, flourished in it, and now believes teaching is her gift. After a breast cancer diagnosis in January 2015 and a subsequent double mastectomy, Linda found joy and energy in ministering to others in need. During this time, their family was also facing another out-of-state move as headhunters began pursuing John for executive-level positions. “Right before my mastectomy, John was contacted by a headhunter to be the president of an aerospace manufacturing company in Fort Worth,” Linda says. “He wasn’t going to entertain it—he said, ‘It’s not the time; you’re fighting breast cancer.’ I said we needed to be open to it.”
Linda’s breast cancer surgery was a success, and she was able to recover fairly quickly. Meanwhile, John accepted the job in Fort Worth, and they soon moved to Colleyville, Texas. John and Linda immediately began looking for a church in the area and were familiar with Gateway Church through watching Pastor Robert Morris Ministries on television. When they purchased their new home in Colleyville, they found out the previous owner was a Gateway member and their new neighbor was too. Linda’s new oncologist was a Gateway member as well, and when she suggested Linda and John start attending the church, Linda felt it was a sign.
“I told John, ‘We’re supposed to go to Gateway Church,’” Linda says. “We visited and never left.”
The Schneiders soon joined a Gateway Group for married couples, and Linda started leading a group for women. Then, they felt called to go further. “We had a group leaders’ training meeting and Pastor Mark Jobe was appealing to us to raise up leaders,” Linda says. “I thought there was no way John would go for this—he’s going to say we’ve bitten off more than we can chew. But John looked at me and said, ‘Truth Project,’ and I knew we needed to do it.”
The Truth Project is a small-group curriculum from Focus on the Family that teaches people how to live with a biblical worldview. John and Linda thought it would be great to share The Truth Project with couples their age and couldn’t wait to get the word out. But after Linda mentioned the idea to a good friend of hers, their target group shifted in a surprising way. “My friend told me millennials needed to hear that message,” Linda says. “I told John, ‘She’s right.’”
Linda connected with a Young Adults pastor from the Southlake Campus to discuss moving forward with the idea of hosting a Gateway Group for men and women ages 18–30. Although John felt good about leading a much younger group, Linda still wondered if their age would be a turn off to the younger crowd. “My concern was, we’re pushing 60—are we culturally relevant to these young people?” Linda says. The Young Adults pastor assured her the seemingly unlikely match would not only work well but young adults would appreciate their spiritual maturity and sincerity.
In October 2018, John and Linda started their Gateway Group they call “Truthseekers,” where they open their home every other week to young adults seeking truth in a time where relativism runs rampant. They pray for them, offer advice, and share biblical truths on topics ranging from science to anthropology to psychology and more. Linda also makes their favorite desserts, a pastime she enjoys. Although their 25-year-old daughter, Alex, offered them helpful tips on connecting with millennials, John and Linda have found the best way to quell any concerns is simply allowing the Lord to lead them.
“God has put a love for these young people in our hearts,” Linda says. “When God puts ministry in your heart and He’s running the script, it’s like you can’t wait [to get started].”
The ultimate goal of the group is to turn truthseekers into truthsharers, John says. “Our hope is that young adults become more and more aware there is a Christian worldview and are able to defend it against the secular worldview that is so prevalent in our society,” he says. “It is also our hope that the young adults we lead would lead others to Christ as they articulate truth.”
Alex ended up attending her parents’ group as well. “I’ve seen her faith explode,” Linda says. “And what I’m finding is these young people want to get involved in ministry. We had a teacher who can speak life into her students, a nanny who can speak life into the children she nannies, and my daughter has prayed to be a light at work. John and I plant the seeds of truth so that they know the truth and can share it.”
Tate Inderlied, a student at The King’s University pursuing his Master of Divinity, wanted to get involved in a Gateway Group to add community to his life outside of school. He says he joined John and Linda’s group during a difficult time in his life and will always be grateful. “They were there to help pray me through it, go through the storm with me, and help me get to the other end,” he says.
Tate also says while he enjoys the Bible study content, he appreciates John and Linda’s care for the group even more. “It’s the family dynamic—the moment I walked through their door, it felt like I had found a second home,” he says. “They don’t come across as they know more because of their experience, but we can trust them, and they have the love of Christ in them. It’s not about age with millennials—we’re looking for something real, and I feel John and Linda embody that.”
The Schneiders say their home is always open to anyone they’ve met through the group, and they maintain relationships with them after the group ends. “We still pray for them, and they still come over—they’re on our hearts and minds always,” Linda says. “Our door is always open. We’re just a text away.” John and Linda attend the Southlake Campus.