Citylight Students (CLS) exists to Disciple Students in Knowing Jesus, Growing in Him, and Going out to Share the Good News. Last year, Jacob Gatewood stepped into the role of Midtown Students Director. Jacob wasn’t new to the ministry nor to Citylight Church. Since 2021, he had been volunteering, serving, and interning on multiple serving and ministry teams.

Jacob came to Omaha at the beginning of 2021. Moving to Omaha from Memphis, Tennessee wasn’t for all the right reasons. After returning to his faith and toward God, Jacob was looking for a fresh start from his past and toward a hopeful future that included a job that he thought could offer him everything he wanted. It was a good salary, and he would be surrounded by people who valued work, status, and performance as much as he did. After moving here, Jacob looked for a church that was like the one he served and attended in Memphis, a gospel-centered, Bible-preaching church. His boss, being the only Christian Jacob knew in Omaha, suggested Citylight. After attending the first time, he knew this was where God was leading him and immediately got involved.

“God showed me if you want community, you have to try,” Jacob shared. “The best way to be involved with the local church was to serve. I also joined a City Group that was also very active participants in the church. People who were my age and far beyond in their faith journey than me. I had a music background, so I joined the worship team at first. I then heard about Club on Wednesday nights and joined later that year. I helped the Club Director with driving the vans. I didn’t think I needed to be a small group leader because I didn’t think I knew enough to disciple kids. Seeing where the kids were living and coming from, it just broke me down. I felt like I just needed to keep doing this.”

The next year and a half flew by with Jacob’s job and serving with Citylight. After being asked several times by multiple people on staff, Jacob started to consider an internship on the student ministry team.

“After a few months I started to pray about it,” Jacob replied. “I was driving back to Memphis over Christmas, and it was clear by the time I got back. I applied for the student internship and was accepted not long after that.”

Around that time, Jacob also met his future wife. Over the next year, Jacob’s faith grew, his understanding of and responsibility in the student ministry team grew, and he got married to his now wife, Katie. Another change occurred in the Student Ministry last year and in the Fall, Jacob transitioned to the Director role and soon after, in the role of father. Katie and Jacob welcomed their first child, Lindey at the end of the year.

Jacob offered this encouragement and perspective to Midtown students and families as a new year begins for the Student Ministry and he as the Director:

“Our whole team continues to create a safe space for students to come to, and to be teenagers. They hear the gospel every week. They get to hear the truth that you don’t have to carry the weight of your sin anymore. They hear the message that Jesus is here for you, right now, and carries the weight for you, to accept Him as Lord, and we show them what that looks like today. We offer discipleship for the kids who are believers, we have an outreach arm to meet the people around us where they're at, at their pace.”

This year Jacob and the Student team set some goals. One is to continue to grow in developing their volunteers.

“We are asking ourselves “how do we make it more than just serving?” Jacob offered. “We now have volunteers who are now couples, from the college group Salt Co., who have graduated and are serving. We want to make sure they know they are more than babysitters. That they have real connections and feel equipped to serve and disciple. We want our entire team to feel that they have community too.”

Another goal is to continue growing the Basketball Ministry that happens Tuesday nights at the Adams Community Center. A lot of these boys are being reached by young men who don’t have this kind of influence in their life and haven’t stepped into church. The Student team also wants to continue smaller discipleship groups to the kids who come on Wednesday nights. They have seen the kids become closer friends than ever before, and especially with the older boys.

“It’s because they are in an organized Sunday afternoon discipleship group,” Jacob exclaimed. “A few students who wouldn't have otherwise come to the church on a Sunday morning are pouring into this. We are seeing real growth in their faith. They know the gospel and are walking in new faith. Typically we can't accomplish this as well on a Wednesday night.”

As Jacob looks ahead, he also thanks all the families who have continued to support, pray and who have remained involved with the Student Ministry.

“Thank you for trusting us, especially with another new face,” Jacob said intently. “For trusting us with discipling your kids. It’s not an easy thing. We are thankful that the Church has the trust in us and the support from parents. I’m grateful for them. I mean some of them are even watching my kid now. It's really amazing to see the family of God work the way that it does.”

Church, please continue to pray for Jacob and the Student team, for the kids and families. Pray that the CLS team continues to find best ways to work together and to grow together. Pray for more volunteers. This summer there will be a new group of fifth graders moving up to sixth grade so pray for a good transition and for open ears and open hearts to what they hear and see Wednesday nights.

For more information or to volunteer with CLS Midtown, visit

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