Columbia Falls has been ranked as one of the safest places to live in Montana, but it lies in a state that is lost. Despite the beauty of the landscape, most people in Montana do not know what it’s like to have a relationship with the Creator. Churches there are far and few between, and Gateway Church is one of the few shining light into its community. Last month, Bellevue members Andrew Robinson, BJ Berryhill, Chris Causie, and Jeremy Wilbur made their way to Gateway Church to help display the love of Christ to the children and families of Columbia Falls.
BJ described the residents of Columbia Falls as some of the “most genuine and hospitable people,” but they are still missing something: an eternal hope. Gateway Church shows them what is missing through love and service, and our team joined that effort.
“Teams like Bellevue give us manpower over the course of 4–5 days to multiply our efforts of engaging the community,” the Lead Pastor of Gateway Church, Bruce Crockett, said.
Our small but strong team came alongside Gateway Church in more ways than one. They hosted a kids’ camp, painted picnic tables and pavilions in the local park, and started restoring the local baseball fields. Over just a few days, they watered seeds that had already been planted.
“It was neat to see how the Lord uses Gateway Church to continue to be known in the community, and people see Bruce and his team as an important part of the area,” Jeremy said.
Gateway Church has a small congregation with 35 active members, but they send out 10–15 of those members each year for missions. To them, it’s not solely about the number of people who attend. It’s about so much more.
“Their focus is not on church growth, but it is on Kingdom growth,” BJ said.
Chris and Andrew both noted that Kingdom growth should also be the focus of any mission trip, not checking off a to-do list or fixating on results.
“A mission trip does not have to see immediate results with many people making professions of faith in order for it to be considered ‘successful.’ Our role is to help the local church in that area bring people to Christ,” Andrew said.
“All you can do is say, ‘Here I am Lord, send me,’ and let Him take care of things,” Chris said.
Gateway Church is just one of the many small churches trying to reach their communities for Christ. As part of the Church, it’s important that we’re faithful to support that mission. As Paul puts it in Philippians 1:27, we must strive together:
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
One way that we can strive together with Gateway Church, even from Memphis, is to contend for them in prayer. Specifically, you can pray for Gateway Church as they consider merging with a sister church in Columbia Falls. Above all, pray that they will continue to boldly proclaim the Gospel.
You can find out more and get involved in future missions opportunities by visiting bellevue.org/missions.