Gateway Church

Written byBjørn Koding

Gateway Church

“When Gateway tapped Venn for our Salesforce expertise, we didn’t know we’d end up helping birth a new ministry.”


Gateway is a big church. 39,000 members attend six Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex campuses as well as churches in Austin and Scottsdale. But that’s just the church’s US footprint—not its partnerships with other churches, its outreaches, and its TV programming that reaches millions worldwide. 

But sometimes blessings like growth can turn into problems of scale. And that was the case for two of Gateway’s ministries. 

The first, Gateway Global Ministry, had been struggling to manage the allocation, timing, and disbursement of millions of dollars to 259 ministries in 56 far-flung nations—all the while attempting to maintain effective, regular communication with them. The second was staying on top of Gateway’s relationships with thousands of smaller churches whose leaders it equips through the Gateway Resource Network. Tracking member status, let alone the usage of more than 2,000 resources it offers, seemed like an impossible dream. 

But, one of Gateway’s executive ministers with prior public sector experience proposed that Salesforce could be an effective solution. And that’s when Venn was brought in.

According to Jeremy Silbernagel, the Associate Pastor who led the effort on behalf of the Gateway Network Team, “I can’t tell you how blessed we felt to have Venn come in, ask all the right questions, and then formulate a process around what was—in reality—the birthing of a ministry.”

Excel spreadsheets that were being kept on individual’s computers and relationships tracked through personal contact lists made our processes error-prone, time-consuming, and fragmented. Different Gateway Global staff members were serving as the primary points of contact for different foreign ministries. The proverbial left hand never knew what the right was doing.

But, Venn changed all that. They were brought in to build a Salesforce implementation from the ground up to accommodate both ministries’ goals. Then, they also integrated Salesforce with the church’s custom membership system, MailChimp, and Salesforce Records.

With no Salesforce admin on staff, none of the team knew how this should work. Our Venn consultant helped us bring order, structure, and balance to processes we were totally unfamiliar with. Extremely knowledgeable and ministry-focused, he became the de facto architect of our entire system.

Venn was able to automate it all and put an end to siloed numbers and communications, unnecessary manual processes, and the panic associated with trying to pull together timely reports when asked. Their answer to our problems was to merge Gateway’s Global Ministry and Resource Network under one umbrella, with unified data, and a single account type.

“We used to pull from umpteen places to put together a report. This is 100,000 times better,” said Gateway’s Global Financial Coordinator, Susan Moore, “What took days before takes less than an hour now. And we know the information is accurate.”

Post-system-launch, Gateway is continuing to meet with Venn to improve upon this solid foundation and consider implementation and integration with additional church systems.

Bjørn Koding

About the Author

Bjørn Koding

Bjørn hails from Tallinn, Estonia, and wears multiple hats here at Venn (mostly fur). He's got a knack for making the right connections and having the right conversations—which, in our business—is the name of the game. He's a blast to have around the office and brings a fresh new perspective to the party. Now, if we can only get him to leave the thermostat alone (55° is a tad low for us Texans).