Our name | Mission | Vision | Leaders

Ministries | Schedule | Directions | Contact


Gateway Church gathers
worship Sundays
at 10:30 a.m.

Location: 6425 Jefferson Rd.
(Hwy. 129) in Athens, Georgia.

For directions, click here.

Ministry of the Word:
Recent sermons

Our quarterly e-magazine
Gateway Today

For the Gateway family
Pastor Jerry's Weekly E-Mail

Our mission

Simply put, our mission at Gateway is helping people experience God, through vital worship, biblical truth, positive relationships, and hands-on ministry.

To the degree that we demonstrate God's grace and truth in our worship, our teaching, our personal relationships, and through the ministries of the church, people will experience the character and presence of God.

Our vision

We envision a renewal of Christian life and commitment throughout the Church of Greater Athens, as well as widespread spiritual awakening among those who have yet to believe the gospel.

Our vision: seeing Greater Athens become a habitat for Divinity.

Our ministries

We minister the love and power of Christ in many ways, including through corporate worship, Bible teaching, music, prayer ministry, small groups, and Holy Communion.

Gateway members participate in Walk to Emmaus (a renewal ministry), Kairos (a prison ministry), and the Lay Witness Mission movement.

Once a month, a team from Gateway Church conducts worship services at Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto, Ga.

Gateway members also conduct services weekly for Alzheimer's patients at Arbor Terrace, an assisted living facility in Athens.

In addition, Gateway helps support a number of local ministries, including Covenant Care Services (a crisis pregnancy and adoption ministry), Overcomers (a ministry to people overcoming addictions), The Sparrow's Nest (providing clothing to the needy), Athens Urban Ministry (an outreach to the homeless, the disabled, the working poor, and the lonely), and the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia (distributing food to those in need).

We also provide support for mission work in Brazil, Ethiopia, and India.

Our leaders

Jerry Varnado

In 1980, Jerry Varnado was a broken man. Though a well-known and popular attorney in Athens, his life was in shambles.

Pastor Jerry
by Jerry

Then he had a life-changing experience with Jesus and learned first-hand about One who can "bind up the brokenhearted" and "set the captives free."

Jerry eventually gave up practicing law and became a pastor. A dynamic Bible teacher and preacher, he has served Gateway Church since 1985.

Jerry also serves on the boards of the University of Georgia Wesley Foundation, Cross Over Athens, Rick Bonfim Ministries, and the Athens Area Emmaus Community.

He is a member of the United Methodist Renewal Services Fellowship, Good News, and the Confessing Movement Within the United Methodist Church.

He and his wife, Beverly, a certified UM lay speaker and an accomplished songwriter, are the parents of a son, Aaron, and a daughter, Bethany. An adult daughter, Mari, her husband, Brent, and their two children live in the Atlanta area.

E-mail: pastor@GatewayUMC.org

Beverly Varnado
Worship Leader

God has put music in Beverly's heart and it flows out freely to bless people who need a touch from Jesus.

Bev is involved in the Lay Witness Mission movement as well as in the Athens Area Emmaus Community. She has recorded two collections of her compositions: One Word (1988) and By a Cross (1995).

Beverly is also a wife, mother, and homemaker. She and her husband, Jerry (Gateway's pastor), have two children, Aaron and Bethany.

Kathy Tasker

In addition to juggling many administrative balls at Gateway, Kathy has a passion for ministry to prisoners and and ex-prisoners.

Kathy and her musically talented husband, Alan, have three grown children and several grandchildren.

E-mail: office@GatewayUMC.org

Joseph Slife
Web servant

Before moving to Royston, Georgia in 2006, Joseph served as Gateway's Lay Leader from 1997-2005.

He is a freelance writer for Crown Financial Ministries in Gainesville, Georgia, and teaches part-time at Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia.

Joseph is a certified UM lay speaker and served as Gateway's lay delegate to several sessions of the North Georgia Annual Conference.

He and his wife, Joye, have three sons: Gideon, Reuben, and Jared.

E-mail: WebServant@GatewayUMC.org


Rick Bonfim
United Methodist General Evangelist

Sometimes referred to as "a walking revival," Rick is on the road much of the year, preaching and singing the life-giving good news of Jesus Christ. In addition to his ministry in the U.S., Rick preaches frequently in his homeland of Brazil.

Rick and his wife, Mary Lucy, have three grown children: Rick, Sammy, and Sandy.


Gene Acuff, Ph.D.
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Retired

Formerly a college professor and pastor in Oklahoma, Dr. Acuff has "retired" to Georgia.

Gene and his wife, Marion (a widely published author), live in Watkinsville, just south of Athens.

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