Gateway Center for Israel is an initiative of Gateway Church in Southlake, TX.
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Gateway Center for Israel

Born out of over 25 years of making Israel a priority in our church.

Gateway Center for Israel combines the heart and history of Messianic Jewish Bible Institute and Gateway Church to train and equip pastors and leaders to demonstrate a Biblical, sincere love for Israel and the Jewish people.

Our credibility is built upon over 40 years of shared experience teaching balanced, healthy Biblical understanding that has impacted pastors and leaders in dozens of countries around the world.

A Church that engages with God's heart for Israel will never be the same.


Israel and the Jewish people play a central role in God's story of redemption for the world. Yet most pastors don't understand how they and their church fit into the modern version of this narrative.

Gaining a heart-based revelation of the centrality of Israel in the Scriptures sheds light on the faithful character of God. It unlocks a richer understanding of Scripture, a rootedness of the Church's identity, and an unexplainable blessing on the Body of Messiah.

Read our perspective papers to learn more

How does Gateway Center for Israel help me and my church?

Israel Trips

We take pastors and church leaders to the Land of Israel, guiding them in the historic, present, and future importance of Israel, and introduce them to local believers in Jesus.

Engaging Media

We're building a robust, trustworthy suite of educational media on a variety of Israel and Jewish topics. Rolling out in 2020, our resources will help church leaders gain a healthy understanding of Israel in a way that is relevant to them.

The King's University

Working closely with TKU, we are building new educational resources for seminary students and leadership training.

Roundtables & Events

Pastors from around the world work together at roundtables and events to advance the Church’s understanding of Israel and the Jewish people internationally.

Israel Weekends

Pastors are invited to Gateway Church for three days to learn the theology of To the Jew First, attend Gateway’s Shabbat service, then form relationships with local Messianic Jewish leaders.

Meaningful Relationships

We journey with and mentor pastors and leaders who feel they have a distinct calling to Israel and the Jewish people. We help them build custom models for their church to engage with the Jewish people in their communities.

Get to know our Leadership.

Nic Lesmeister

Nic Lesmeister

Director, Gateway Center for Israel
Pastor, Church & Jewish Relations, Gateway Church

After a successful career as an entrepreneur in the finance sector, Nic earned a Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2015. He then led the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI) until it merged with Gateway Church to create the Gateway Center for Israel in 2019. Nic and his wife, Tabatha, have three children and live in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Dr. Wayne Wilks, Jr.

Dr. Wayne Wilks, Jr.

Executive Pastor, Church & Jewish Relations, Gateway Church

Wayne spent his formative years in ministry at Shady Grove Church (now Gateway Church’s Grand Prairie campus) with Pastor Robert Morris. In 1996, he was the first elder sent out To the Jew First, to found the Messianic Jewish Bible Institute (MJBI) which started in Odessa, Ukraine. In 2014, Wayne joined the Gateway pastoral team, turning over MJBI to Nic, his "Joshua." Wayne has a PhD in College Teaching from the University of North Texas, and is Special Advisor to the President on Church & Jewish Relations at The King's University. Wayne and his wife, Bonnie, have a married daughter and two grandchildren, and live in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Robert Morris

Robert Morris

Senior Pastor, Gateway Church

Pastor Robert founded Gateway Church in 2000. Today it is one church in many locations with more than 100,000 people attending each weekend. Spending sixteen of his earliest years of ministry at Shady Grove, he developed an unwavering love for Israel and the Jewish people, making To the Jew First a foundational priority in Gateway's culture. Pastor Robert firmly believes God has blessed Gateway Church because it has engaged with Israel and the Jewish people. He serves as Chancellor of The King’s University and is the bestselling author of numerous books. Robert and his wife, Debbie, have been married over 40 years and are blessed with one married daughter, two married sons, and nine grandchildren.