The Mission

Empowering multi-generational Christ-followers to engage a ready world with the hope and joy of Christ.

The Vision

To invite every not-yet-believer in Visalia to cross the threshold of GateWay to hear the Gospel of Christ.

The Purpose

Invite others in.
Connect in relationship.
Develop our gifts.
Serve the community.

Our History

First Baptist Church of Visalia, established in January of 1868, experienced three lapses and numerous moves between 1880 and 1907 before settling its permanent building space in 1909 under Pastor Bliss. On Easter of 1960, the 631-capacity worship building was completed under the leadership of Pastor John Epp.

Under Pastor Epp’s leadership, the church continued to grow, specifically with the help of Pastor Guy and Patty Guthrie. Pastor Epp passed the baton to Pastor Harold Meers who was a fantastic organization leader. Before his retirement in 1998, Pastor Meers led the church into building our current worship center.

In 2004, a new mission and vision was developed while led by Dr. David Miller. First Baptist was renamed Gateway Church of Visalia, leaving the ABC-USA and becoming non-denominational under Transformation Ministries, now called Aspire Network.

In 2011, Pastor Ed Kemp became the senior pastor. Pastor Ed challenged the church to “invite every not-yet believer to cross the threshold of GateWay Church to hear the Gospel.” Under his leadership, updates have been made to the Preschool and Children's buildings and the cafe, adding lobby space and an outdoor quad. Upon his retirement in 2023, Pastor Lance Ainsworth was appointed to lead Gateway Church of Visalia in its continued vision of “Empowering inter-generational Christ-followers to engage a ready world with the hope and joy of Christ.” We get the opportunity to continue the legacy of GateWay Church to build the Kingdom of God through making disciples.

What We Believe


The Bible is God’s Word to us.  It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit.  It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living.  Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error.  2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, 2 Timothy 1:13, Psalm 119:105, 160, 12:6, Proverbs 30:5

God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe.  He has eternally existed in three persons:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  These three are co-equal and are one God.  Genesis 1:1,26, 27; 3:22, Psalm 90:2, Matthew 28:19, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Corinthians 13:14

Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  He is co-equal with the Father.  Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross.  He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death.  He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.  Matthew 1:22- 23, Isaiah 9:6,   John 1:1-5, John 14:10-30, Hebrews 4:14-15, 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4, Romans 1:3, 4, Acts 1:9-11, 1Timothy 6:14, 15, Titus 2:13

The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God.  He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation.  He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right.  He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved.  As Christians we seek to live under His control daily.  2 Corinthians 3:17, John 16:7-13, 14:16, 17, Acts 1:8, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16, Ephesians 1:13, Galatians 5:25, Ephesians 5:18

People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although  every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin”. This attitude  separates people from God and causes many problems in life. Genesis 1:27, Psalm 8:3-6, Isaiah 53:6a, Romans 3:23, Isaiah 59:1, 2

Salvation is God’s free gift to us but we must accept it.  We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting  in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty.  When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in  faith we are saved.  Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus  Christ into his life by faith.   Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8, 9, John 14:6, 1:2,Titus 3:5, Galatians 3:26, Romans 5:1

People were created to exist forever.  We will either exist externally separated from God by sin or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell.  To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal  existence. John 3:16, John 14:17, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:17-18, Revelation 20:15, 2 Corinthians 2:7-9