Our mission at Gateway is to connect people to Jesus Christ and one another. The key way we do this is through life groups where people connect to each other becoming like a family who can share the ups and downs of life together. In life groups, people also grow in their walk with Jesus as the Scriptures is studied together and then applied together.
Today we would like to highlight some strong believers in life groups, Mike and Chrissy Montgomery. They are life group leaders and passionate followers of Jesus Christ. Check out what they have to say about life groups!
Connect: Tell us a little about your family.
Mike and Chrissy: We have four children: Luke (13), Ryan (11), Nash (8) and Sadie (4). They attend Findlay City Schools.
Connect: What do you enjoy doing as a family?
Mike and Chrissy: Our family likes to watch and participate in athletic activities. We also love spending time with friends and family!
Chrissy: Some of our Life Group women even play on my girls volleyball team.
Connect: How long have you attended Gateway?
Mike and Chrissy: We have been attending Gateway for 13 years.
Connect: When did you join a Life Group?
Mike and Chrissy: We jumped into a Life Group within the first year we started attending Gateway. Then ten years ago, we helped start a new Life Group with another couple who were the leaders.
Connect: How did you help grow the new group?
Mike and Chrissy: Through personal invitation - we invited other couples we met them at church and in life outside of church! Talked up how much fun our Life Group has together and how close of a bond we have with each other’s families, and how we walk through life’s ups and downs together with biblical wisdom and prayer and love.
Connect: In what capacity did you volunteer or serve at Gateway?
Chrissy: I first started volunteering in the nursery and got involved in the Fall Festival and served alongside other moms. I also helped lead a Wednesday night women’s Bible study.
Mike: The Upwards ministry. I helped as a referee for the basketball games. A couple of the men from our Life Group helped too.
Mike and Chrissy: Then we both took over as Life Group leaders of our group. We were challenged to step into this role by our leaders.
Connect: How have you grown in your faith? How have you been discipled?
Mike: I had some men older than myself who invested time in me. They challenged me to be a spiritual leader for my family… they challenged me to be a Life Group leader… they encouraged me to commit to Joshua’s Men. Chrissy: We have a large Life Group. 8 out of 10 of the men have gone through Joshua’s Men.
Chrissy: I have had several women touch my life in several ways; for example Mary Claire Petro giving some of us cooking lessons with a devotional, women’s bible studies at Gateway and BSF. Close friendships in my Life Group that challenge me and keep me accountable in my walk and who walk through life’s highs and lows alongside of me. All, Bible study friends like Lindsay Norman and Tracy Rath who have both remained close genuine friends and always share great Biblical wisdom with me.
Lastly and probably most importantly, taking time by myself to spend with God, studying, reading and praying has grown me the most and leaning heavily on Relationship with Christ to help me in all areas of life.
Connect: What is your favorite ministry memory?
Mike and Chrissy: Serving together - buying Christmas gifts for another family, spending time wrapping the gifts with our Life Group and delivering it to the family. Doing things anonymously - behind the scenes to love on families - this idea came from a sermon we all heard. Serving together as a group in Backyard Mission - didn’t know we could put together a chicken coop fence and helped clear debri. It was a great day of serving with our Life Group and all our children. We also served (alongside other Life Group members from Gateway) a family who had a large crew of children they had adopted... we put up a fence around their backyard for the kids to play. We have also served at VBS and Fall Festival!
Connect: Serving together seems to be some of your greatest memories.
Chrissy: Yes, we grow close through serving together. We also remember how we rallied together and helped at Fall Festival.
Mike: We also want to be examples for our kids. The guys committed to once a month to serve at City Mission. We would meet there and bring one or two of our kids to help sort food.
Connect: Any other favorite memories or thoughts?
Chrissy: To see all... ALL of our Life Group men and women serving the church in different areas. To see moms make some radical decisions in their life and seeing the blessings from those decisions that were uncomfortable and scary. We have seen many called to jump out of their comfort zone… becoming a stay at home mom, starting FCA or Young Life at their local schools, seeing couples embrace a new idea for their family to tithe 10% from their salary… truly living life together and it not just being an every Sunday thing - modeling that idea in our group.
We have experienced some messy things in our families... accidents, loss of jobs, family health issues, marriage struggles, walking through different seasons of life with our children, praying over extended family hardships and for their salvation. We have been there for each other. We have seen the power of prayer in our group through these times.
Connect: What would you say to someone who is not in a Life Group?
Mike and Chrissy: It’s like one of those things... like working out. You feel pulled away and you don’t want to go to the gym. But once you do it (go workout), you don’t regret it. You need that accountability. You need to be filled up regularly. There is the connectivity side and the accountability side. Being in a group with like-minded people who can encourage you in your values, raise children, live life… you know you are going to get Biblical wisdom (at your Life Group). Genuine friendships are born there. We have people (in our group) who will walk through anything with you. You just have to be transparent and committed. You can’t show up once a quarter and expect to feel connected and have that idea that you are really living life together.