In 1996, Preston Morrison visited Phoenix for the first time on a trip to scout out a university he was thinking about attending.
While on that trip, he and his parents visited the nearby city of Scottsdale for a round of golf. On the fifteenth hole, he was standing on a tee box that overlooked the entire city of Scottsdale. Out of nowhere, God said, “Preston, you are going to spend the greater half of your life serving this valley, ministering to this valley and sacrificing for this valley. This is where My anointing for you rests.”
Preston was just 18 years old at the time. His entire family lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, and so he naturally assumed he would spend the rest of his life in Dallas, but clearly God had different plans.
Four years later, Preston was wrapping up his time in college and interning for a church outside of Scottsdale. He had his next steps planned out and was moving full steam ahead. Then, out of the blue, he received a phone call that changed everything. It was a pastor from back home in Dallas named Robert Morris. He said he was starting a new church called Gateway, and he wanted Preston to come back to Dallas to be the part-time youth pastor. Needless to say, this was not a part of his plan. He immediately shared his thoughts with the Lord: “God, You told me I was staying in Scottsdale!” He quickly replied, “No, I told you that you’d spend the greater half of your life here … not the rest of your life. You’ll come back to Scottsdale, but for now I’m sending you back to Dallas. Now go!”
Before Preston was hired at Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, he was completely honest with Pastor Robert about what he felt the Lord had said to him about Scottsdale. He told Pastor Robert he would never bring it up again and he’d wait for him to hear the Lord on the timing of his move. So he submitted his calling to Scottsdale completely to Pastor Robert and the Elders of Gateway. Years passed and no one said anything about Scottsdale.
Seven years passed, and with each year, he became more and more comfortable with working for a senior pastor and thought less about actually being one himself. If his time at Gateway taught him anything, it taught him that being a senior pastor is the most challenging job on the planet. He came to the point where he wasn’t even sure he wanted to be a senior pastor. He was completely content to stay safely in the shadow of his senior pastor.
It was not to be. In 2009, Pastor Robert and Preston had a lunch that would change his “new” safe plan that involved staying in Dallas for as long as possible. It was at that lunch that Pastor Robert said the words he will never forget—”It’s time for you to leave. Preston, it’s time to get you ready to steward the move of God that is waiting for you in Scottsdale.”
Since that day, Preston and Pastor Robert have been preparing for Gateway’s first church plant—Gateway Church Scottsdale. September 9, 2012, marks the day God has had on His calendar since the beginning of time … the very first service of Gateway Church Scottsdale. Preston and his wife, Holly, are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to take what God is doing at Gateway Church to Scottsdale and the surrounding cities of the valley (the Phoenix metropolitan area).