Everyone is welcome at Gateway Branson, regardless of what you think about church, God, or religion. We started this church for people who don’t really like church. This is a safe place for skeptics and doubters to ask their questions. We know lots of people have been burned by church experiences in the past. We hope this is a place for everyone to sort out authentic faith in a very real God and begin to experience it themselves. Jesus never saw church as a place to go, but as a people who love Him and who are learning to love others. At Gateway Branson, no matter what your spiritual background or past or where you are now, we want you to come as you are—questions, doubts, skepticism, whatever—bring it! Below are some thoughts on the questions you may be having and is also a great starting point for a conversation.
How we perceive God determines how we perceive ourselves and how we live our lives. How can we know God’s true character? Some of us see God as a traffic cop, aiming the radar gun at everything we do. Some of us see God as a standoffish stranger, satisfied to leave us alone as long as we just don’t bother Him. Others of us aren’t sure there is a God. Too often, the Church has been a stumbling block for people coming to know who God really is. We don’t have to allow hypocrites or cultural Christians to keep us from the One who created us, loves us, and wants a relationship with us.
Many consider Jesus to be a great teacher, a prophet, or even a great example. When we look at the actual words of Jesus, he made significant claims about his true identity. At one point he asked the people following: “Who do you say I am?” Each of us needs to answer this question for ourselves. As C.S. Lewis has pointed out, Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or he is Lord - the One who gave His life for us that we might truly live.
When we need clarity, wisdom, peace, comfort, or rest, we have ancient wisdom which can guide us towards what we want. Unfortunately, many of us have given up on the Bible or consider it irrelevant to life. It is true, the Bible has been misunderstood, misinterpreted, and even used for the agenda of people who did not have the heart of God or were a product of their times. When we come to the Scriptures with an open heart and open mind, we will discover God waiting to speak to us and ready to meet even our deepest needs.
We live in a pluralistic society. Some of us come from Catholic, Baptist, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, New Age, or irreligious backgrounds. Some of us have tried all of those experiences or made up our own. Discover the differences and similarities between these worldviews and God’s heart for all who have struggled with religion. God wants us to know His true character rather than think He can be represented in idols or even man-made ideas. Instead, He creates the opportunity for us to experience a genuine relationship with Him.
What will heaven be like? Does it even exist? Scripture tells us that heaven is going to be more beautiful, more alive, more exciting, and more real than anything we’ve ever experienced. That can be hard to fathom, but God is trying to get our attention and help us understand that He’s prepared a place. Heaven is not unlike what we can see, smell, and touch here on earth, but is exponentially more intense, breaking into new dimensions of time and space.
Science and Faith
Throughout our lives, we are inundated with different perspectives concerning how the universe came to be, how long it’s been in existence, and how different people of different faiths and standpoints might view such matters. Many of us have been made to believe that the Bible and science contradict each other. But is that really true? Are faith and science incompatible, or do they fit together just as God intended?
Doubt and Faith
Are you a doubter? Do you struggle with believing things that seem too good to be true? Many followers of Jesus have struggled with doubt in the same way. We can welcome doubt in a way that leads us to a deeper sense of faith.
Relationship with God
God created us for a relationship with Him. The Scriptures describe our relationship with Him as “closer than a brother,” “a friend,” and even like a loving spouse. Just like any relationship, we will drift apart if we are not intentional in growing in our relationship with God. Discover how to experience the presence and peace of God and the adventure to which He is inviting us to experience with Him!
Racism is real, injustice is real, and we are called to be a healing community that walks toward solutions rooted in God’s Kingdom as we humbly listen to one another. God invites us into a new multiethnic family in which we are called to learn, grow, and repent of our own blind spots and biases because ultimate justice and reconciliation are rooted not in politics, but in the heart of God.