Gateway Center for Israel is a think tank of Gateway Church, based in Southlake, TX. It was formed in 2019 with a vision to inspire, resource, and model a biblical and sincere love for Israel between the Global Church and the Jewish people.
This is something you've probably heard said by many Christians or Christian organizations. But what does that mean exactly?
Most pastors realize Israel is important to God, but aren’t sure what to do about it.
We guide church leaders to a Biblical, healthy understanding of Israel, knowing this will impact their personal lives, churches, and communities.
What We Do
Our vision is inspire the global church to a biblical, sincere love for Israel & the Jewish people. That might sound like something you've heard before. But let us explain the nuance...
For nearly 2,000 years — up until the horrific events of the Holocaust in World War II — the Christian community's relationship with the Jewish people leaned heavily on a "biblical" love: Share the Gospel of Jesus, become a "Christian" and join the Church. Biblical love, yes. Sincere love, usually no.
Christian theologians concluded that this edgy relationship with the Jewish people led to numerous unhealthy theologies and practices in the Church. So the pendulum swung the other way. Biblical love diminished and sincere, non-confrontational love through friendship increased.
We believe the Bible presents a balanced integration of both at the same time. Our pastor, Robert Morris, deeply believes in sharing the Good News about Jesus with everyone — "to the Jew first," and then to the nations. But this cannot lack the sincerity of true friendship and relationship.
Our mission is to guide pastors and Christian leaders into understanding the importance of this biblical model. We do this mainly through the educational resources available on this website. We also do this through personal relationship with hundreds of global ministry leaders, events, tours, and one-on-one coaching.
At Gateway Church, we're all about people. And you cannot be all about people without being all about relationship. We're constantly learning from our friends (old and new), from those who think differently than us, and, most importantly, from what we sense the Holy Spirit is saying to us. Our team's 40+ years of doing this has taught us a lot, but we recognize there's always more to learn.
We're committed to the the Jewish people with an unbreakable love. But we also love the Arab community, including the Palestinians. Our approach is not based on a "zero sum" framework. We believe it was in God's creative plan to make an earthly and eternal distinction between Israel and the Nations — Jew and Gentile — because He wants us to love, serve and bless one another equally while remaining distinct as Jews, Arabs, Americans or Texans (yes, there's a difference! 🤠).
Gateway Church affirms that Jewish people who put their faith in Jesus should continue living a Jewish life. We have hundreds of members who are Jewish followers of Jesus, and we celebrate this, encouraging the global Church to do the same.
We believe that how we say something bears similar importance as what we're saying. We're committed to approaching the complex issues surrounding Israel and the Church with humility and curiosity. And we're constantly evaluating how we can deliver information to leaders in innovative ways so they can immediately deploy it to impact their churches and communities.
In 1975, Pastor Robert's spiritual father, Pastor Olen Griffing, had a direct encounter with God's love for the Jewish people. Out of this experience grew relationship with local and global Jewish believers in Jesus. These leaders help influence our theology and understanding of the Bible as a whole, and in particular God's plan for redeeming the world. Romans 1:16 — the whole verse — became a foundational value for Pastor Robert and eventually for Gateway Church.
Our commitment "to the Jew first" took on numerous expressions in the culture of our church. We donated the first of our missions dollars to ministries sharing Jesus' love with the Jewish communities of the world. We started a "first" Friday Sabbath service as a place for Jews and Christians to fellowship, learn, and hear the Good News. Our elders prioritized taking our pastoral staff to Israel in order to capture God's heart for the Land and People.
In 2020, we took our boldest step yet and created the Gateway Center for Israel. We knew that pastors felt Israel was important, but most were not sure what to do about it. After thousands of years of unhealthy thinking on Israel in the Church, we want to be a guiding hub of resources and relationships that can inspire a new model of relating to the Jewish people. We believe it was always in God's fatherly heart for Israel and the Nations to work alongside one another, mutually distinct but fully equal, for the sake of world redemption.