When Andrew Cunningham accepted a position as a groundskeeper, bus driver, and children’s church worker at SouthGate Church (then called 91st Psalm) in 1987, he never imagined he and the church would be where they are today. Since those humble beginnings, Pastor Cunningham has become the Senior Pastor and led SouthGate to become one of the largest ministries and Christian schools in the Southwest Valley — thanks, in part, to their partnership with Gateway Bank.
The school (still called 91st Psalm) that’s attached to the church has made the best of their limited space, but for decades, they have been bursting at the seams and in need of a gymnasium for sports practices and home games. That’s all about to change because SouthGate recently closed on a loan with Gateway Bank to fund the construction of a new building with a gym and two additional stories of classrooms.
Pastor Cunningham says Gateway was their first choice for a lending partner since they have had a relationship with the bank for years. “We were with two national banks before, and I was tired of having no relationship with them,” he explains. That’s when he met Gateway President James Christensen through an acquaintance. “I liked James from the get-go because he understood us,” the Pastor says. “He’s not just a banker. He’s a Christian man who sits on a church board and understands how churches operate differently than a business.”
After hitting it off with our team and moving the church’s banking relationship to Gateway, the Pastor talked to us about his vision for the new school building. He applied for a loan and was approved quickly.
James continued checking in with SouthGate as planning progressed. When cost estimates for the new gym came back higher than expected, Gateway was right there to work through it with them. “Some of the cost increases bumped up the amount we needed to borrow,” Pastor Cunningham says. “We talked to the bank, and they were awesome. They sat down with us, talked through the options, and ended up extending more funds to us.”
Pastor Cunningham is thankful to have found a local, flexible partner who shares the church’s deep desire to help people and who can help bring their vision to life. “Gateway doesn’t just say they want to help. They have set up their operations and team to actually do it,” he describes. “It has been our dream from the beginning to have a gym and more classroom space, but we were never able to get it done. Now we can with Gateway.”
Congratulations to the SouthGate Church and 91st Psalm team on this incredible addition. We’re looking forward to seeing what this new chapter has in store for you.