Robert Morris (pastor)
Although raised in a Christian home, called to the ministry at a young age, and married to a Christian woman, Morris – affectionately known by his congregation as Pastor Robert – was an illicit drug user and sexually promiscuous until genuinely giving his life to Christ at age 19. Though he grew up being taught to be wary of Charismatic doctrine, and attending two Southern Baptist colleges, though never earning a degree, after befriending former Baptist turned Charismatic evangelist James Robison, who now serves as an Apostolic Elder at Gateway, Morris became Charismatic and eventually served as an associate pastor at a local church before resigning one year prior to starting Gateway. During that year, Morris preached for Trinity Fellowship Network, an Amarillo-based network of Charismatic churches led by Jimmy Evans (better known for his MarriageToday ministry; Evans also serves as one of Gateway's Senior Pastors).
Morris' show, Pastor Robert Morris Ministries, formerly The Blessed Life, airs regularly on both Trinity Broadcasting Network and Daystar Television Network – Daystar founders Marcus and Joni Lamb are Gateway members. He openly supports Christians being active in the public arena and is a member of President Donald Trump's Executive Council of Evangelical Leaders; not surprisingly this has earned him enmity among liberal Christianity.
The author of 14 books, all of which were taken from various sermon series, Morris and his wife Debbie are the parents of three children (two sons and one daughter) and nine grandchildren.
On Easter Sunday 2000, Morris launched Gateway Church at a hotel in Grapevine, Texas. Gateway would open its original Southlake campus in June 2003 – the campus now hosts The King's University, a non-accredited Bible college started by Jack Hayford, which relocated from California in 2012; Morris serves as the Chancellor – and its current campus in November 2010.
As of 2018, Gateway claims around 39,000 active members, which if accurate would make it one of the largest churches – denominational or non-denominational – in the United States. Gateway holds 27 services each weekend at ten locations, in addition to its main 4,000 seat campus in Southlake, Texas, it also has locations in North Richland Hills, North Fort Worth, North Dallas, Frisco, Grand Prairie, Prosper, Justin, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and two prison campuses (one inside the Coffield Unit, the largest prison in the Texas prison system, and another at Estes Unit), with an 11th location in Plano planned for late 2021.
Gateway also has two independent church plants: Gateway Church Scottsdale (in the Arizona suburb of the same name) and Table Church (located in the Austin suburbs, led by Morris' oldest son Josh), with a third (Gateway Houston, to be led by Morris' son-in-law Ethan Fisher) planned for 2020.
It also produces music through Gateway Worship; notable songs include "Revelation Song" which was popularized by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, but originally performed by Kari Jobe (who grew up at Gateway; her father is the campus pastor at Gateway's main Southlake location).
- Morris reveals his testimony in a sermon series, Room 12, named for the room in Jake's Motel, a roadside inn in Kentucky, where he got saved; the series can be viewed on the Gateway website.
- This was an extension campus of Prestonwood Baptist Church -- a large megachurch in its own right -- which was closed and the property sold to Gateway.
- This was an existing congregation called Northstar Church; when its pastor resigned after admitting to marital infidelity, the church ended up merging with Gateway.
- This was an existing congregation known as Shady Grove Church, a former Southern Baptist congregation which turned Charismatic in the 1970's; Morris was an associate pastor at the church before resigning to start Gateway. The congregation merged with Gateway upon the retirement of its senior pastor, Olen Griffing, who now serves as an apostolic elder for Gateway.
- This was an existing congregation known as River Crossing Church which merged with Gateway in early 2019.
- The name was chosen to avoid confusion with an existing congregation of the same name in the Austin area, which is not related in any way to Morris' organization.