One of Gateway's distinctives is our commitment to plurality leadership in the church.  Throughout the New Testament, the pattern is that the early church is led by a group of elders.  Knowing that each man on our elder team has different spiritual gifts, we believe the church is healthier as we work together to lead and care for the members. 

What is an elder?  We believe that the terms elder, pastor, and overseer in Scripture all describe the same position in the church.  It is not just a person who is a decision maker, though the elder team does lead the church in its direction.  The primary responsibility of these men is to "shepherd" (care for) the members.  Hebrews 13:17 describes the responsibility of church leaders of "keeping watch over your souls," while 1 Peter 5:1-3 instructs elders to "shepherd the flock of God," to provide oversight, and to live in such a way to be "examples to the flock."  Thus, you often will hear us refer to our elders as the pastoral leadership team as they provide spiritual oversight to the church, the teaching of God's Word, and spiritual care for the members.

At the bottom of this page you will find a form you can use to contact any of Gateway's elders.


Grady married Julia in 2009 and they have four children:  Grady Jeremiah, Richard, Mary Elizabeth, and Timothy.  Grady has a bachelors degree in agriculture and business from Auburn University, and Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.  His Ph.D. was in the field of missions and evangelism with minors in theology and church leadership.  In particular, his doctoral research was on how one’s view of providence impacts one’s prayer life (click here to learn more about it).

Grady has been the lead pastor of Gateway since November 2016. Before coming to Gateway, Grady served on the staff of a church in Auburn, Alabama, for 14 years. 

In his free time he loves spending time with his family,  hiking and backpacking, doing home improvement and yard projects, riding roller coasters (as well as introducing his kids to the fun of coasters), and meeting with people at Chick-Fil-A!  His favorite books include Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, John Piper’s Desiring God, Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Richard Phillips' The Masculine Mandate, The ESV Study Bible, and Timothy Witmer’s The Shepherd Leader.

Grady Smith


CJ is married to Nikki, and they have 3 college and young adult aged children, including a son who serves as a youth pastor at another local church in Montgomery. CJ has been Gateway's Associate Pastor since 2012, though he has been a part of Gateway since 2007.  

He is a graduate of Auburn University Montgomery (AUM) with a degree in marketing. After graduating, he served with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) for five years, during which he met Nikki.  They returned to Montgomery in the fall of 1997 and served in a variety of ministry roles before coming to Gateway.  CJ loves anything sports, time with his family and friends, and any opportunity to laugh.



Greg and his wife Cecelia both became Christians in 1980, and then met while Cecelia was on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ at Clemson University and Greg was a student involved in the ministry.  After being married in 1984, they embarked on a 23-year career with the Air Force living in California, South Dakota, England and finally, here in Montgomery in 2001.  After retiring from active duty in 2006, Greg began work as a civilian faculty member with the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, and continues there today.  They have four grown sons who are married and spread out across the U.S., with the exception of the oldest who settled locally and has blessed them with four precious grandchildren!  Greg and Cecelia came to Gateway in 2003 and have served in various teaching ministries in the church since then.  Greg currently teaches an adult Sunday Bible Study class.  Both Greg and Cecelia are passionate about being involved in biblical counseling ministry at Gateway, and are completing their certification as counselors through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).  They both love most things outdoors (hiking, running, biking, particularly in mountains and the coast) and especially to travel to beautiful places and try new foods!  



Jeff is married to Mandy, and they have three children: Ollie, Savell, and Lela. He is from the Montgomery area and attended college and graduate school at Auburn University Montgomery as well as the University of Tennessee for his Ph.D.  Jeff and Mandy started attending Gateway in 2006 after he served as a youth minister in another local church. Jeff is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of MMI Outdoor where they make packs and tents under the Catoma brand. Jeff most enjoys being outdoors and loves running, camping, and climbing in and around Alabama. He very much appreciates the works of C.S. Lewis (both fiction and non-fiction) and loves to have conversations with Christians and non-Christians about what it means to follow Christ.

Jeff Moody


Rick married his high school sweetheart, Kim, in 2000, and they have five children: Anna, Josiah, Kaelyn, Megan, and Jessa. He works as an Air Force Chaplain and serves as an instructor at Maxwell Air Force Base. He previously served fourteen years as the pastor of Calvary Community Church in Alcoa, Tennessee, before coming to Montgomery in 2018 and joining Gateway.  He has a bachelors degree in history from Bob Jones University, a Master of Divinity degree from The Master’s Seminary, and presently is working on his Doctor of Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  He enjoys reading biographies and military history, training and competing in triathlons, and traveling with his family.  His favorite authors include John Piper, D.A. Carson, Carl Trueman, and Martyn-Lloyd Jones.

Rick Steen


William married Janie in 1989 and they have four grown kids and two grandchildren.  William has a bachelors degree in entomology and masters degree in aquaculture from Auburn University.  In addition, he has a MBA from Auburn and a Ph.D. in Business from the University of Alabama.  Currently, he is a professor of marketing at Troy University. William and Janie came to Gateway in 2003.  In addition to his role as an elder, he leads a life group and a Sunday Bible Study group.  In his free time, William enjoys home repair projects, reading history, genealogy research, and travel.  His favorite authors include Bill Bryson, J.R. Tolkien, and A.W. Tozer.


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