Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas has announced an unconventional location for the church’s newest campus: The state’s largest prison. On Sunday, Morris told his congregation, “We have a new campus. And you’re gonna be really surprised.”
He then shared a video revealing that in November, the church launched a new campus at the Coffield Unit in Anderson County, which houses more than 4,000 criminal offenders. More than 650 inmates attended the megachurch’s first service, and about 500 men made decisions to follow Jesus.
“Gateway has really impacted my life, because a lot of us do not have visits, and you guys comin’ in here and sharing y’alls love of us has really impacted our life,” one of the inmates says in the video.
Morris revealed that Stephen Wilson, an ex-offender who went to seminary school and has been ministering in prisons for years, will serve as the Gateway Coffield campus pastor.
“We welcome you guys and we love you. We are your brothers and sisters in Christ,” Morris said amid applause. “We’re excited that we have a campus there now.”
According to Fox News, the Coffield Campus runs like any other church campus, with inmates serving as greeters, ushers, operating the sound, video, and audio, and leading the worship team.
Over the next two years, the church reportedly plans to open 10 prison campuses within 100 miles of existing Gateway campuses. Additionally, there are small groups at every Gateway campus for families of the incarcerated.