In 1997, a group of young people aged between 19 – 22 years, attending church in the suburb of Forest Hills, gained a unified vision to reach out to friends based in the city of Melbourne. They actively sought out literature inspiring them to run campus outreach programs, home groups, and camps. They were enthusiastic and motivated but also required adequate training.
Most of these friends lived in the heart of the city and for them to attend church or youth activities in the suburbs would have required significant planning and preparation. This God-filled desire to share the gospel led that team of youth to dream of one day starting a church in the city.
In 1999, a centralised Friday night program came into existence for the youth attending Forest Hills church. These young people, coupled with a few youth advisors, later took the initial step of modifying the program to a home small group (CARE group) structure by 2000. Youth revival meetings and training programs for effectively sharing the everlasting gospel, and conducting evangelism seminars and CARE groups were organised and continue to present.
Two CARE groups were established in Melbourne city by the end of 2000. While one group focused on University students, the other attracted young adults. Over time these home groups multiplied across the city. In April 2001, a monthly afternoon program was held in the city on each Saturday with an outreach seminar to share the gospel conducted annually for the community.
The CARE groups, which have now become critical building blocks of Gateway, It is called C.A.R.E groups to serve as a reminder: Christ’s Attitude Reflected in Everyone. These Care groups are friendship groups that come together each week on a Friday for a meal, a study of the Bible, and prayer. In the recent past, Gateway alumni have returned to various parts of Asia starting similar-styled Care groups in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Japan and USA.
After two years of conducting monthly programs and three years of running Care groups in the city, a morning church worship service was launched on 15 March 2003. While the initial group consisted of 35 people, the church was blessed with God’s careful leading in time. The first worship service was held in a lecture theatre on 221 Bouverie Street, Carlton under the banner of “Gateway” – a gateway to the city.
One of the core values of Gateway is youth-led training for service while the vision is to become the ‘Church of Antioch’ today! In 2006, Gateway launched a training conference entitled Australia Youth for Christ (AYC) which attracted hundreds of young people from across Australia. In January 2007, Gateway celebrated another milestone by inaugurating the opening of its first permanent facility, a training centre at 161 Pelham Street, Carlton. In May 2008 Gateway launch a second church – Gateway East and a third church in August 2012 called Gateway West. In February 2018 Gateway’s fourth church focusing on the community was launched. Gateway’s vision is to be “a soul-winning and training centre that multiplies churches every three years”. This vision which took its inception with a few has become a part of many and could now also be yours. Welcome to Gateway!