From its first Sunday morning worship service of 180 founding members at a Hilton Hotel in April 2000, to welcoming 26,000 weekend attendees on five campuses 14 years later, Gateway Church has never been a stranger to growth.
Yet, as its staffing increased, something changed. Allan Kelsey, Associate Senior Pastor admits, “We felt the shift in our workplace. We realized if we kept adding staff, the culture we loved would be diluted, and we would have done nothing to fix it. Rather than feeling like victims, our leadership decided to take a more intentional role to invest in staff relationships and empower those relationships.” With that, Gateway put rubber to the road to grow the quality and effectiveness of its staff from within.
“As pastors we carry licenses that afford us the opportunity to practice what we do,” says Kelsey. In professions such as law and public accounting, licenses are managed by ongoing continuing education requirement. Yet, the church is the only organization that doesn’t seem to think it’s essential to have continuing education requirements, a minimum level of knowledge. We decided that shouldn’t be so.”
Gateway’s commitment to “continuing education” is called “First Tuesdays.” After morning worship and updates, staff members choose three one-hour classes from 15 sessions offered among five learning tracks:
• Leadership basics
• Pastoral leadership
• Hands on office systems
• Administrative/leadership effectiveness
• Lominger workplace competencies
Now in its second year “First Tuesdays” is a reason why staff believe Gateway is an exceptional place to serve and a great place to work.
Says Kelsey, “Gallup research reveals that people need to be instilled with trust, hope, stability and compassion to follow an organization. ‘First Tuesdays’ has definitely helped us move in this direction. But it’s not the only thing that makes this a great place to work.”
Next: The Gateway Church Story Part 2: A staff covenant like no other