About

Who we are...

Just as in any new relationship it’s vital to know what the person is all about. It’s no different with a church. Below you’ll see what our vision is, what we believe about the Bible, God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit, the Church and more.

Vision

Establishing a community of faith, centered in Truth, grounded in love.

Core Values

  • Community: We believe that God’s Spirit dwells within all who believe and, therefore, we have that connection to one another – thus we are a community.(See 2 Corinthians 13:14). It is also in community where true change comes. At The Gate, this change will happen as we emphasize that in this life we are not alone: we are here to walk with each other and challenge each other on our journeys of faith.
  • Truth: In John 14:6, Jesus says of Himself that He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Therefore, at the The Gate we will always preach The Truth and the truths, no matter how messy or challenging they may be. We also know the the Bible can be challenging, but as we wrestle with the texts we will discover truth and change. We do this weekly through interactive sermons and challenging Bible studies.
  • Love: God is love! 1 John 4:8 says that if we do not know how to love then we do not know God, because God is love. Just as God has loved us and accepted us for who we are, we will endeavor to do the same to everyone that walks through our doors. “This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.”(John 13:35 The Message Bible) Therefore each time you walk through our doors, you will feel welcomed and safe.

Statement Of Faith

What We Believe: Our Core Doctrines

The Trinity:
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, he perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his glorious grace.

The Creation of Humanity:
We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage, and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume their distinctive and unique roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, and each other in a manner which displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God.

The Fall:

We believe that Adam, made in the image of God, distorted that image and forfeited his original blessedness—for himself and all his descendants—by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings are alienated from God. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.

Salvation:

We believe that, moved by love and in obedience to his Father, the eternal Son became human: the Word became flesh, fully God and fully human being, one Person in two natures. The man Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, performed miraculous signs, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven. As King, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s sovereignty, and is our High Priest and righteous Advocate. We believe that by his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross he canceled sin, appeased God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe. We believe salvation is the means by which we begin and attain theosis. That is “is the understanding that human beings can have real union with God, and so become like God to such a degree that we participate in the divine nature.” (http://www.theopedia.com/theosis)  By his resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over it, and brought everlasting life to all his people; by his ascension he has been forever exalted as Lord and has prepared a place for us to be with him. We believe that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved.

Justification:
We affirm that salvation is received by grace through faith, it is the gift of God. Good works and good behavior are not enough to justify us before a just and holy God. Jesus Christ was given by the Father for us. His obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.

The Holy Spirit:
We believe that salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to his people by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ and is present with and in believers. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, baptizing them into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive his sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service. We believe that the Holy Spirit has the following gifts to bestow upon the believing church of the Lord Jesus Christ: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues (languages), interpretation of tongues (languages); these gifts are divided to all severally, as he, the Holy Spirit, wills and that the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, should be put forth, cultivated, and diligently guarded as the resultant adornment, the constant, eloquent, and irrefutable evidence of a Spirit-filled life.

The Sacraments: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
We believe that the Lord Jesus himself ordained water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. The former is connected with entrance into the new covenant community, the latter with ongoing covenant renewal. Together they are simultaneously God’s pledge to us, divinely ordained means of grace, our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipations of his return and of the consummation of all things.

The Bible:

We believe that God has inspired the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both record and means of his saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for salvation, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe, and do the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel. We believe the Bible is a means by which we can encounter the divine. God’s word is a living and breathing document whose intent is not only for instruction, but also for contemplation. Within its pages we find difficult stories which can be understood through the context and lens of culture and history, but there are some which cannot be understood easily. The questions thus are meant to draw us in to conversation with the Spirit in whom we will understanding for ourselves and transformation.

The Church:
The church is the body of Christ and is distinguished by her gospel message, her sacred ordinances, her discipline, her great mission, and, above all, by her love for God, and by her members’ love for one another and for the world. Crucially, this gospel we cherish has both personal and corporate dimensions, neither of which may properly be overlooked. Christ Jesus is our peace: he has not only brought about peace with God, but also peace between alienated peoples. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both Jew and Gentile to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. The church serves as a sign of God’s future new world when its members live for the service of one another and their neighbors, rather than for self-focus. The church is the corporate dwelling place of God’s Spirit, and the continuing witness to God in the world.

The Return of Christ:
We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the just and the unjust—the unjust to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as our Lord himself taught, and the just to eternal blessedness in the presence of him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Christ, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and his people will be enthralled by the immediacy of his ineffable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace.

* Portions of this doctrinal summary have been adapted from the Confessional Statement of The Gospel Coalition and from the Declaration of Faith of the Foursquare Church. They can be found in their entirety here.

Staff

Pastor Eric & Maria Schwartz

Pastor Eric and Maria have been married for over 16 years and have 2 beautiful daughters. They both have a passion to make disciples for Jesus Christ. Pastor Eric has worked as a youth pastor, young adult pastor, and discipleship ministries pastor at House on the Rock Family Church for 7.5 years before obeying God’s call to plant a church. He is also a graduate of Moravian College with a B.A. in religion, and is also currently enrolled in Moravian Theological Seminary, pursuing a Master’s in Theological Studies. Pastor Eric’s desire is for all people to come to know their Creator in an intimate and authentic way.

Maria served as House on the Rock Family Church’s Worship leader for over 4 years. Maria’s love for her Lord and Savior is what drives her ministry. She is not only passionate about music, but using that music to lead others into a more intimate relationship with Jesus. They have two beautiful daughters, Alaina and Carina.

Ministries

As we see it, ministry is about reaching in – to our church family, and reaching out – to our community. Below you’ll find our growing list of ways we reach.

Li'l Gators Kids Church (Grades 1-6)

Since we love kids, we take their discipleship seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. So every Sunday we combine Gospel-centered lessons with fun activities and loving, passionate teachers. Wondering what we’re teaching? Check it out here: The Gospel Project for Kids

Tiny Gators Nursery and Toddlers

Info coming soon.

The Well Youth Group

Discipleship does not start with kids and then skip to adulthood. We feel that the most important phase in the life of a Christian are the teenager years. It is here where they start to forge who they are and who they will be. It’s not an easy time, but we will be there to walk with them as they struggle with faith and doubts.

Victory House

Every third Thursday of the month we are blessed to assist the men of Victory House in cooking great meals. If interested in helping out, either sign up in church or drop us an email.

New Bethany Ministries

Throughout the year we partner with New Bethany Ministries in providing backpacks, meals, clothing, bedding, and gifts for the residents of their Restoration House.

Reach Out