Just over two years ago, Gloria and I decided to make a home in South Austin. Now, coming fresh off of Gateway’s 20 year celebration, we’re getting ready to be on the move again.
As I reflect on my time with Gateway Church in South Austin, I can’t help but celebrate the life change I’ve experienced. This has been a healing and sending community.
In my time with our community, I’ve gotten a front-row seat to God restoring people, renewing relationships, and bringing hope to our city. I’ve witnessed broken marriages becoming reconciled and relationships discovering healthy boundaries and new vitality. I’ve gotten a taste of how God can bring together different cultures and ethnicities to pursue justice, truth, and healing. And it is so good. I’ve come alongside 20 and 30 somethings as they seek out purpose and begin to discover all that they are created to be. I’ve seen our upcoming generation following Jesus and impacting our world in places like Nicaragua and Puerto Rico. Life by life by life, Jesus has demonstrated his faithfulness to us and to this world.
Our Gateway South Staff Team, 2018
Serving with Gateway South has been an unexpected gift. I’m grateful to work alongside some of the most amazing women and men who are on mission to serve our city and our world. My wife often jokes that I’ve been spoiled with incredible bosses and co-workers, and I can’t say that she’s wrong. I’ve been blessed to partner with people who live and serve as wounded healers. The friendships I’ve developed with our staff and our people have changed me from the inside-out.
And yet Gateway Church is not a perfect church. No church is. When I first started, I had my doubts about whether I could sustain my well-being and thrive as one of the few people of color on staff (we have three campuses in Austin). This is not uncommon for many people of color these days. Women and men who have been burned by organized religion can also struggle with questions around safety and belonging. Given the political and cultural climate we live in today and a leadership team primarily composed of the majority context culture, I initially did not know what to expect. And while I have experienced incredible healing over these past two years, there have also been times of personal tension, pain, and frustration. When those difficult moments have surfaced, I have been grateful for our leadership’s commitment to journey with me and others as we strive to become a church that welcomes and pursues all people. From the time when I stumbled across Eric Bryant and Tasha Morrison’s talk on race to our Refugee sermon series and our efforts to serve our homeless neighbors, I saw glimpses of our church’s heart to serve all people. I also experienced firsthand our leadership’s willingness to listen to pain, apologize for mistakes in diversity, and make concerted commitments to learn and grow organizationally. Don’t get me wrong – we still have much to grow in, but I have been surprised by what I sense God doing through Gateway. Even as we celebrated our 20 year, I love that the proceeds of our event will benefit Hope Clinic, a local non-profit that a Gateway participant started to serve refugee families and individuals. I can’t wait to see the new chapters our community will write!
We’re not a perfect church, but we are committed to becoming and being a come-as-you-are community that reflects God’s love and God’s coming kingdom for all people. Not just for some of us, not just for people who look, think, and act like us, but for all of us. Our world needs communities that are unified in loving all people, and we need leaders who are willing to lead through listening. And it’s Gateway’s commitment to those things that brings me to what’s coming soon:
Gateway’s 20th Year Celebration, Sept 23, 2018
Yesterday, Gateway announced our hopes to start a new campus in Pflugerville, where I will be serving as the campus pastor! I’ve loved partnering and growing with our South Austin campus. There’s a part of South Austin, our people, and our leadership teams that I’ll always carry with me (I’m grateful that I still have time with South). I’m also excited about this next season! Recently, I accepted Gateway’s invitation to start something new, and I wanted to invite you to pray for me and my family during this next season. Also, if you’re in the Pflugerville area and want to learn more, leave me a msg below! I’d love to connect with you and explore partnership as we serve our neighbors and communities.
To find out more, check out a portion of the letter I shared with others at our 20 year celebration:
Hi Gateway Family!
5 Fun Facts
- I married up. My wife’s name is Gloria, and she’s definitely the better half.
- I love coffee. It helps me keep up with our little one.
- I’m a Chinese-American who was born in Austria and grew up in Dallas (feel free to ask me how my parents ended up in Europe for a season).
- I love pursuing reconciliation and justice, taking new risks, and inviting others to follow Jesus.
- I have a double-jointed pinky. It made playing piano difficult for me.
Why campus planting?
I believe we all yearn for a different world, a better world. Yet within our lives and across our different cultures and backgrounds, we see ever-deepening divisions, confusion, and pain. While we all long for healing and unity, the vision for a better world often feels too far out of reach. But what if we could cultivate a community that brings healing and learns to celebrate and honor our cultures? What if we could help create that world and usher in God’s love and justice, here and now? Campus planting provides an amazing opportunity for us to connect and serve locally, grow, and point others to God’s heart.
Through campus planting, we will prayerfully join with God to cultivate a new Gateway community sent out to bring life and freedom to every people group we touch. I can’t wait to see what God will do, and I’m excited that you are exploring partnership!
As the city of Austin has grown, Pflugerville has grown right alongside it. With new families and individuals moving in from out-of-state and displaced communities seeking more affordable housing options, Pflugerville has quickly become a destination of choice due to its proximity to Austin and its attractive livability. The recent population boom of Pflugerville has created an opportunity for Gateway Church to serve the unchurched across several different demographics of race, socioeconomic status, spiritual backgrounds, and life circumstances.
- Pray: Commit to praying for our campus plant on a daily or weekly basis.
- Give: Sign up for monthly giving to financially support Gateway’s mission in Pflugerville.
- Go: Explore how you can be part of the Launch Team for Gateway Pflugerville!
You are also invited to join our Gateway U Class (Beyond Colorblind), which I will be facilitating at our North campus in October. Go to www.gatewaychurch.com/gatewayu for more info.
I’m looking forward to connecting more with you in the coming days! Thank you for your desire to see Pflugerville transformed!