In September, I first disclosed that Gateway Church founding pastor Robert Morris’ son Josh was going to plant a church in Austin, TX. This news represented a sea change at Gateway because the plan had always been for Josh to take over Gateway when Robert retired. This past weekend, the elder Morris made it official and announced to the Gateway congregation that the plant in Austin was happening.
The church, to be called The Table Church, is slated in early 2019 to open in the second wealthiest area of Austin: the Lakeway/Bee Cave area. Morris will be assisted by Chad Sykes and Cole Novak. Morris disclosed this change and others this weekend and posted his announcement on the church Facebook page earlier today:
(Transcript at the end of the post)
It will interesting to see how this happens over time. Planting a church requires financial commitments and this means that Gateway is apparently going to expand just after a significant and painful staff downsizing.
Looks like there are already several good churches in the neighborhood. I wonder why Morris targeted this one?
I want to let you know, some changes, that are coming up, before I go into the message. And that is, that, um, we’re making some transitions with some campus pastors, so I’m gonna introduce to you all the campus pastors in a moment, just by at least showing you their pictures. Most of them are not able to be here. They’re at the campus. But we’re also making a transition here at the uh, Southlake campus with our campus pastor.
Pastor Josh Morris has been serving as the campus pastor of the Southlake Campus uh, but I wanna get you the, give ya a little behind the scenes, um, information on this. Uh, about 3 to 4 years ago, um, I started feeling like that Pastor Josh might be, in 10 to 12 years, my successor and to take the church here. And so I talked to the Elders about it. And we began preparing him for that. Putting him in, in different departments. We have two succession plans in essence. One for when I’m 63-65, which is like 30 years from now, ya know, so.
But, ha, but the other uh emergency plan, ya know, if an airplane went down or something like that and um. And it’s like life insurance. Ya hope ya never have to use it but ya oughta be wise and have it in place. So, uh, we were preparing him for that. And in August he came and met with me and said, ‘Dad, I just um, I just don’t have peace about, uh, taking the church at, just, I feel stress when I think about it. And, um, I’ve been talking with Hannah and Hannah asked me, ‘would you ever want to plant a church.’ And he said, I actually said, ‘No. I don’t think I want to do that’. And he said but it’s been kind of going off in me and now the Lord’s actually put a city on my heart. And, but I need to talk to you and see what God is saying. Ya know, through you.And I said, ‘Well, I think then since God is stirring this, then that’s the way we need to go. Um, God will take care of whoever is to uh, take my place when it’s time. Uh, we’ll get back on a succession plan, for whoever God says. Uh, but he’s praying about it. I felt strongly as well, that this is what God is speaking to the Elders, all the Elders prayed. We felt the word from the Lord. So, next summer, they’re goin- Josh and Hannah, will move to Austin, Texas and plant a church in our state capital.
So, also Chad Sykes will be an Associate Pastor there and then Cole Novak is going to go to be the worship pastor, Cole wrote the song Open the Heavens that we sing, that’s all over now. I was actually listening on uh, the uh Christian radio station that’s on the XM Satellite and I thought, I know that song. And I know that kid too, ya know, so uh, so, I just, I know these people. So, ah. Um, so anyway. So we’re beginning to start making that transition. It won’t be called Gateway Church because there’s already a Gateway Church in Austin and it might be confusing, we felt like. Um and like we pra- planted Preston, and we, we called that Gateway Church. But we planted Tim Ross in Irving and called it Embassy Church. So It’s going to be called Table Church. Uh, ya know Pastor Josh has something in his heart about coming to the table and the Lord’s table. And then just fellowship around the table.
So it’ll actually be Table dot Church. So if you know of someone in Austin, the church will probably start around the first of 2019, but there are a lot of moving parts to that. But they’ll move this next summer to get started and build the Lead Team and things like that. So, I’m, I’m excited about it. I really am.
We still have an emergency succession plan in place, just so ya know, if something did happen to me. Um, a guy with a little bit of experience, Pastor Jimmy Evans, would actually step in. And take the church as the interim pastor and then, we’d find ya know, what God is saying. So but. Nothing’s going to happened ahem, so. I’ll be around. So.
Uh, but I wanted to let you know who then will be stepping in as the Southlake campus pastor. And so, you just stand up there, Pastor Mark Jobe, is gonna be the new Southlake campus pastor. So, uh. And I, uh, I prayed about it and I’ve known Pastor Mark for many years and of course Pastor Mark and Sandy and then you probably very familiar with Kari Jobe, his daughter and one of th-our worship pastors that travels and ministers and now lives in Nashville so she can travel more and do what God has called her to do with her husband.
And so, anyway. Um, uh, but, so I just wanted you to know all the campus pastors cuz there’s been some switching some around. So if we can put that up. Where you an kind of see. So uh, the Dallas Campus, of course, is Pastor Tom Lane. Uh, at the Frisco Campus, Jelaini Lewis, NOW at the Grand Prairie Campus there’s Pastor Steve Thompson stepping in for Pastor Mark Jobe. At the North Ft Worth Campus Pastor Mondoe Davis. Uhm, and then at the North Richland Hills, Pastor Stokes Collins and just to comment at North Ft Worth it was Pastor Marcus Brecheen. He’s helping us now in the church network that we’re starting to help other churches. And then Pastor Stokes it was Pastor Byron Copeland. Pastor Byron is now overseeing all of the campus, campuses and campus pastors. You have to have someone in that spot to be able to oversee all of them. And then Mark Jobe at the Southlake campus. So, I just wanted to make you aware of what was going on.
And then just put Josh and Hannah on your radar. I think, uh, you know, umm, I don’t mean to say this wrong. Lemme say this the right way. The Enemy targets state capitals. (nods head) Would you agree with that? So, why not a church, let’s target it for the Kingdom of God. And um, see what we can make a difference there. So.
And the church is actually gonna be west. Kind of west of Austin. But take in that whole west Austin portion Bee Cave Lakeway, if you’ve ever been down there it’s just a huge grow- growing area so. Awright.