By Lance Hickey
Woodfin – Gateway Church in the Woodfin area was the place of worship I attended for this week’s segment of places where we worship in Northern Buncombe and Madison Counties.
Located just off Riverside Drive on the border of Woodfin and North Asheville, moments from the River Walk Subdivision, Gateway Church serves the Woodfin, North Asheville and Weaverville communities. I attended service on September 9.
As I arrived for the church’s 11 a.m. service, I noticed a sign on the front of the property donning the name of the church. Driving up a hill, the church campus began to come into view. The building was contemporary. Painted tan with a green roof, the facility’s design looked to be ranch-style with a modernistic flair. An enormous outdoor gathering port with a metal sat at the back of the building. It was an area that looked to be designed for church concerts and picnics.
I walked into a side entrance of the building and was greeted by several welcoming congregants. Passing several rooms in a long hallway, I found the sanctuary, finding a seat in the back. Music played in the background as congregants chatted around the room.
Service began as the band began to play. The church arose to their feet in expectation. They began to sing “Glorious Day” by Passion Music as the musicians emphatically and passionately played. The passion and energy displayed by the musicians ambiently moved across the room in harmonious anticipation. As music director Jay Christian and the team sang, the crowd sang homorhythmically. Many lifted up their hands as an act of worship.
The band, also known as a worship team, next began to play “King of My Heart” by Bethel Music. The song highlighted on the goodness of God.
The sanctuary, filled with people from many different backgrounds, age groups and ethnicities, resembled that of an avant-garde concert hall. Tan-painted walls with black ceilings surrounded the room. A screen with the words to each song played hung on the middle of the back of the stage. Blue seats packed the room surrounding the alter. Five vocalists lead the congregation into this time of music and singing.
The music team began to sing “Great Are You Lord” by Christian artists All Sons and Daughters as the time for music and worship began to come to a close. Stefan Liner, a young leader in the church, came forward to say a few words, welcoming the crowd to the church before an announcement video played and the offering time came.
The time came for Lead Pastor Will Hasskamp to present his Sunday morning sermon. Hasskamp spoke about the power of a “shared life.” He highlighted on the idea that the local church is a community who cares for one another and part of the Christian life is sharing life with others in good and bad times. Hasskamp also communicated Gateway Church’s desire to be a community-oriented church.
As Jack finished her sermon, he relayed an invitation to those in attendance to come to a potluck lunch being served right after service. Service was dismissed.
Gateway Church has served the community since 1995 when the church was planted by founding pastor and current church elder Jay Liner. The church’s current facility was built in 2006. Hasskamp took over as lead pastor in 2013 and has lead the church since. Prior to taking the pastoral role at Gateway Church, Hasskamp served on staff at Christian Training Center International in Franklin, North Carolina. He is married to his wife, Anna, and together they have four children.
Gateway Church proved to be a house of worship built on community with a congregation infused with an inviting and hospitable approach. The service presentation was relevant and modern. Its people were passionate about their community. The congregation’s persistence and intentionality to serve others is an asset and strength for the community.