“Probably the most attractive thing about Gateway is that people sense straight up that we are a church family that is so very real,” shares Kate Petersen. “We’re a group of people who are definitely not perfect, we are not polished, but we love well.”
Kate and her husband Michael once found churches and Christianity quite confronting. “We first came to Gateway in 2010,” Kate explains. “We weren’t Christians at the time, but we’d both admit to feeling ‘at home’ at Gateway right from the beginning.”
“I love that someone could walk in off the street, having never been to church, and would be captivated or inspired by the teaching from our pastors. Not only that, but they would understand it. Using normal, everyday words, our pastors explain the bible in such a way that is relevant, accessible and value-adding to everyday life.”
Despite feeling comfortable at Gateway, Kate and Michael weren’t really sure what it meant to surrender their lives to Jesus. “This concept was foreign and intimidating, so we warmed the pews for four years before we made any decisions,” Kate says.
“We were welcomed just as we were, and invited to get connected without committing to something we weren’t ready for,” she continues. “Gateway created the environment for us to encounter God in our own way and for Him to speak directly to us.”
“Gateway strikes a unique balance of supernatural God encounters and down-to-earth, real people,” says Kate. “It feels like family. There are people here who are ready to love you, warts and all. There are people you can go to when you need support.” Kate and Michael appreciate that Gateway is an outward-focussed, missional church with no lack of vision. “We’re a church who is passionate about serving God and loving people in the community, nation and world like Jesus does.”
Kate acknowledges that Gateway has a big piece of her heart. “At Gateway we are forgiving, we are accepting, we have fun and we are welcoming to everyone. Encouragement is in our DNA and generous hearts are expressed in the way we show hospitality, the way we walk alongside others, and the way we give our time, money and skills.”
Life is full for Kate and Michael and their three kids. They make coming to church each week a priority, and appreciate that church is more than just Sundays.
“I love that we can always turn up to a Gateway service and see a familiar face, and we can do life with a smaller group of people in our home when we lead a Life Group during the week. Our Life Group is made up of four families all with kids the same age. We’ve met people through volunteering at church but we also meet new people most weeks, just by saying hi to someone sitting near us.”
“Our kids love coming to church,” Kate smiles. “The Generations ministries have been an incredible blessing to our family. When Michael and I were still learning about Jesus, the Children’s and Youth pastors were teaching our kids what we couldn’t. Each of our three kids – Sam, and our twin daughters Charlotte and Chelsea – are on their own journey of discovering their Heavenly Father, but I also love that we learn together.”
Kate and Michael love being parents and love watching the unique people their children are becoming. “There are always challenges in parenting,” Kate acknowledges, “but because of our faith, I would say we are more committed than ever before to communicating with each other well, making decisions together, seeking help when we need it and prioritising the relationships with our children.”
“We value discipline and see the benefits of it in our children, and we love sharing a faith and Christ-like values as a family and looking for opportunities to love other people well, just as Jesus does. Our faith has taught our whole family to be more grateful, more others-focussed and more compassionate towards one another.”
“We try to offer one another more grace than we used to, and we try to reflect on the mistakes we’ve made in order to learn from them. We try to practice humility and teach our kids to do the same, whilst finding the careful balance of self-awareness and confidence in how God has made us. Not always an easy task – so we are grateful we have Jesus as an example to look to!”