Some churches develop strategies to grow quickly, concentrating their efforts around a professional presentation during their Sunday morning worship experience. They often draw people through their gifted pastor, who casts a vision for the church to follow. These churches are similar to bamboo plants who sprout up quickly. Even though they bring large crowds, the friendships and community within the church may not have a lot of substance. At times they can resemble a group of work colleagues more than they do a large family.
At Gateway we desire to become "rooted and grounded in love," as the apostle described. This cannot be done overnight. It takes time to get to know members of the body, to build trust with each other and to deepen our love and care for each other. Just like an oak tree, our church may grow at a slower rate than others, but our congregational family will have substance and meaning. In the end we will bear much fruit.