Gateway Executive Pastor Works to Mobilize This Oft-Overlooked Church Demographic

Pastor Debbie Morris (Photo courtesy of Gateway Church)

Debbie Morris always believed she would marry a pastor, but she never expected to become one. After marrying Robert Morris—pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas—she expected to simply support him at home. Then she got involved in the women's small group, took on some leadership roles and found out she really enjoyed it.

"I am the most unlikely person to be leading women, especially on the scale of this," Morris says. "I am not a great Bible teacher. I'm not a great speaker. My one secret is that I love women, so I just keep telling people that they can do it."

Gateway emphasizes small groups, and Morris' main responsibility is overseeing the many women's small groups at the church. That includes weekday meetings, some nightly meetings, childcare offered during small groups and ongoing mentoring programs. She steers the various committees, teams and pastors involved to make sure everything lines up with the church's visions and values.

She also coordinates several big events during the year, including the new Pink Impact conference. In 2016, the first meeting attracted 10,000 women to the Fort Worth Convention Center. This year, the stage is set to attract even more women, as the event will feature Christine Caine, Lysa TerKeurst and Kari Jobe.

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But even with all those responsibilities, Morris prefers to stay hands-off. She's in the office only one day every week, though she fits two or three days' worth of meetings into that workday. After all, Morris still views her primary job as being at home, taking care of her family. She joins her husband on "about 98 percent" of his trips around the world. Although her ministry work may not be typical, she sees serving the Lord as "the coolest job in the world."

"About 60 percent of any church is made up of women, and I have a passion to see them get involved in their community," Morris says. "Their community could be their homes or their workplace or their actual community. ... I'm actively looking to develop godly women so they can make a true impact in their world. I just see God doing amazing things through them."

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