Jay and Senior Pastor Sven Verbeet

Pastor Sven was born in Kaiserslautern, Germany, an industrial town about 50 miles west of Frankfurt, and close to the border with France. After his mother met an American army soldier stationed at Ramstein, they relocated the family to Pasadena, Texas in 1981. Shortly after arriving in Pasadena, Sven, his brother Frank, and his sister Kirsten, were invited to ride the bus to Sunday School at the Austin Avenue Independent Baptist Church. It was through this outreach ministry that Sven found the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. At the age of 13, he received his call to ministry. Hungering for more of God, Sven received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the age of 16 and began attending an Assembly of God church in southeast Houston. Pastor Sven began working in the church with children at the age of 17. He became actively involved in the bus ministry and the sidewalk Sunday School program. 

After completing his studies at Berean School of the Bible (of the Assemblies of God) and receiving his ministerial credentials, he joined the staff of his home church, in Pasadena, as Children’s and Outreach Pastor, in July of 1994. After relaunching the bus program, the children’s ministry grew from an average of 30 children to over 200. Though the Lord was greatly using him, after a great personal struggle with his sexual identity, Sven resigned his position after eight years of ministry.

In 2002 the Lord led Pastor Sven to Community Gospel Church, a small affirming church in Houston. After witnessing first hand the power of God demonstrated among this group of believers, he knew that this was where the Lord had planted him. He remained there for 10 years, eventually joining the staff, first as Children’s Pastor, then Worship Leader, and as an Associate Pastor, and in the Spring of 2012 followed the Lord’s prompting to gather a like minded group of believers to launch Gateway of Hope Church.  Pastor Sven was ordained as an Apostle in the Five Fold Ministry by Bishop Randy Morgan of the Covenant Network in July of 2014.

Pastor Sven married Jay in March of 2018 and together with Pastor Sven’s mother live in Katy. They have a large extended family throughout the US, Germany, and The Philippines.

 
After graduating secondary school, Ken left for college in Kuala Lumpur, and now being removed from his church family lost his zeal for the things of God. He describes it, “I wasn’t very excited about the Lord anymore. I had lost my first Love.” When Ken turned 22 the doors opened for him to be able to continue his education in the United States, so he left home, and began attending the University of Kansas. He continued to be a “nominal Christian,” (his words) through the years in Kansas and when he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to begin his career. But God had other plans for Ken, leading to a career change which brought him to Houston in 2006. Ken heard about an affirming Spirit Filled church online and went to check it out.
 
He felt the same spirit of God that he felt in his childhood and as a teenager growing up in Malaysia. God was bringing him back home and began a restoring work in him. The prodigal son had returned. It was not long before he found himself plugged into the life of the church, and serving on the worship team by playing piano, keyboard and organ for 6 years. In the Spring of 2012, the Lord began preparing Ken for the next season in His walk with God and impressed upon his heart to become involved with the new work which became Gateway of Hope Church. In addition to his responsibility over the worship ministry, Pastor Ken is also a member of the board of directors, and works in our discipleship ministry. Pastor Ken and his husband Wallace have been together for 8 years and live in the Galleria area. Gateway is truly blessed to have Ken as part of our family.

Pastor Ken Chong