How it All Started
We didn’t actually plan anything. We didn’t have a five, ten and/or twenty year vision to start off our church. We didn’t really know what each week would look like, let alone an entire year or three down the road. Heck, we didn’t even know where we would meet at, let alone have a grand opening. See, we only knew one thing and this one thing united our hearts in this journey: “yes!”. iGate started with a “yes”, it’s sustained by our “yes” and it will continue with this “yes”.
We simply said “yes” to God’s heart for us. We said “yes” to diving deeper in relational connection with Him and in commitment to one another. We said “yes” to the Father’s call of becoming a community that empowers our city and region, through Him. We said “yes” to a church that was more about pursuing Oneness in Christ, the presence of God and His Heart and less about…well, you know.
If I could summarize how we started in a song it would sound like this (you guessed it):
“yes, Lord, yes Lord, yes, yes Lord AMEN!”
When we first started in November of 2013, we were simply a group of fewer than ten friends with relationships that are now close to a decade in age. Our friendships became bonds, that became a community, that became a family united in Christ. And while we didn’t have all the answers (and still don’t…at all), we were humbled by how God would move mightily in our Saturday meetings in the early days. When we didn’t know what to do, God would come and just Be amongst us in powerful, life-changing ways. Over the years, we’ve gotten to understand the blueprint over our House with increasingly more clarity, constantly evolving as the Lord leads.
From meeting in dorm apartments to our parent’s houses, our small beginnings set up a foundation of friendship and love that cannot be shaken. And while over the years, much has occurred to try and shake us – whether it be persecutions, conflicts, trials and the like – it only contributed to the strengthening of our connection to God and each other.
In a song, (yup, there’s a song for everything) it would sound something like this:
“whatever may come our way, through fire and pouring rain, we won’t be shaken/ whatever tomorrow brings, together we’ll rise and sing that we won’t be shaken, no we won’t be shaken!”
Our approach to church from the day we began was simply oneness. Pursue oneness with the Lord and pursue oneness with each other. When we started, Imperial Gate was and is our answer to the Lord’s prayer in John 17: 21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us”. Because we emphasized on family from the beginning, we were able to continue to sustain that culture of family even as our numbers grew. We can be compared to a forest of trees that covers a great field with our roots all intertwining underground. Even if the trees are far apart, their roots create a web of connections that support and empower each other. Now, what was once a small gathering of friends has branched out to a huge family reunion in Christ every Sunday!
You already know…Here it goes:
“Love will hold us together, Make us a shelter to weather the storm, And I’ll be my brother’s keeper, So the whole world would know that we’re not alone.”
Nothing new here, but in moving forward, we plan to move forward in, well, oneness. It’s pretty much what we went and will continue to go for. Oh and world transformation for the Glory of God of course. Can’t forget about good ol’ breaking down of strongholds and establishing His Kingdom and Will here on Earth! It’s always been our desire to be able to become catalysts of change in the government, marketplace, education, media, technology, business etc., Each new family member that is joyously added to our family brings something unique to our community that contributes to this vision of transformation. See, iGate isn’t called to do just church on Sunday. We seek to empower one another daily, to embrace and pursue our destinies so we can become the Face of Jesus to the world. Righteousness, peace, joy, generosity, miracles, signs and wonders, freedom to the captives, hope for the hopeless, love to the broken, equipping and commissioning the saints to walk in the fullness of their inheritance. All these things are passionately embraced by our House as part of our adventurous, Spirit filled journey as the Bride, the Body, the Church; iGate.
To a more perfect union, to a lifetime of friendships and to eternity in Christ. Simply put: “Falling in love with Jesus was the best thing (we’ve) ever done.”
Written by Hawi Bekele