1. Start Here
  2. How to Write a Paper
  3. Article One: GOD
  4. Article Two: The Bible
  5. Article Three: The Human Condition
  6. Article Four: Jesus Christ
  7. Article Five: The Work of Christ
  8. Article Six: The Holy Spirit
  9. Article Seven: The Church
  10. Article Eight: Christian Living
  11. Article Nine: Christ’s Return
  12. Article Ten: Response & Eternal Destiny
  13. Current Doctrinal Issues
  14. Issues Related to Lifestyle
  15. Appendix, Credentialing Information

Writing Papers for GATEWAY Phase I

The GATEWAY Phase I curriculum is based on the EFCA Statement of Faith. The first 10 sessions each focus on one article from the SOF, and the last 2 sessions focus on Current Doctrinal Issues and Issues Related to Lifestyle. You will write a 1 ½ – 2 page paper for each of the 12 sessions. Between reading and writing, we expect each session’s content to take 10-15 hours to complete. If you’re interested in pursuing an EFCA ministry license, these smaller papers can be combined into one larger 15-20 page paper that can be used for your ministry license application. 

We know that the paper-writing process is daunting for many, but we hope that by following the steps below you will find it to be a manageable and enriching task. 

Follow these steps to write a paper for each session of GATEWAY:

Step 1: Understand the assignment and formatting requirements 
Step 2: Start reading, gathering notes, and processing 
Step 3: Finish your first draft 
Step 4: Submit your first draft on the session webpage 
Step 5: Review your first draft at the group meeting 
Step 6: Use feedback to revise your paper 

Step 1: Understand the assignment and formatting requirements 

First, the purpose: each paper’s purpose is to present your personal position on the assigned article or issue. To accomplish this, each session has Focus Questions for you to answer – your responses to these questions will make up the bulk of your writing. Each session’s Focus Questions can be found within the GATEWAY manual, one of the listed required readings on the session webpage. 

For formatting, each session’s paper is to be written in paragraph form. It should include a cover page that contains the course title, your facilitator’s name, your name, the session title, and the date. 

Following the cover page, begin the body of each paper by fully quoting that session’s article of the Statement of Faith; this opening quote should be single-spaced and bolded (for sessions 11 and 12, open your paper with the title of the session since there’s no longer article to quote). The rest of your paper should be formatted with the following: 

  • 12-point double-spaced Times New Roman font 
  • 1-inch margins on the top, bottom and sides (default) 
  • 0.5-inch indented paragraphs (default) 
  • Add page numbers to the top right of each page, excluding the title page 
  • We also suggest adding line numbers to your paper as they help the group locate discussion during meetings 

To help get you started, here is a paper template for Microsoft Word:

Step 2: Start reading, gathering notes, and processing

Now that you have a baseline understanding of the writing assignment, review that session’s Focus Questions (since you’ll be responding to them in your paper) and start reading the assigned chapters in Evangelical Convictions and Bible Doctrine along with all other material listed in the “Required Content” section of the session webpage. Items in the “Supplemental Content” sections are helpful to your learning, but not required. 

As you’re reading, take notes! You can do this within a word document, a notebook, on your phone, on sticky notes, etc. – use whatever works best for you. It is also prudent to record the location of key notes so that you can re-visit the source material later to gather more detail. Taking notes as you read will make the writing process much quicker later on. 

Tip: it is recommended that you categorize notes by Focus Question to ensure that you touch on each question in your paper. 

As you read, take intentional pauses to process what your positions are on each issue, and how the material relates to the gospel. The “Importance and Implications” sections of the GATEWAY Manual included on each session’s webpage may help clarify your thoughts. 

Step 3: Finish your first draft

After you’ve completed the required readings and taken some time to process your position on each issue, it’s time to write! Remember, each paper’s purpose is to present and biblically defend your personal position on that session’s article or issue. The Focus Questions will guide your paper to this end. You do not need to answer each Focus Question in order, just make sure that each is answered at some point in your paper. Since your final paper should only be 1 ½ – 2 pages long, you will need to be concise.  

Tip: Don’t write your paper in one sitting; this material requires a lot of thought! Sometimes the best thing you can do for your writing is to stop and take a break.

When writing, avoiding first-person statements like, “I think” and “It’s my belief.” Since the purpose of the paper is to record your beliefs, these first-person statements are assumed. Additionally, as you write: 

  • Use scripture to support your positions, but do not fully quote Bible passages; instead, cite them parenthetically 
  • Do not fully write out the Focus Questions 
  • Do not cite any sources other than scripture 

These guidelines follow the same requirements that the Credentialing Department does for their papers required for credentialing applications.

For reference, here is an example paper: 

Step 4: Submit your first draft on the session webpage

Once you’ve finished your first draft, use the “Upload your paper” button on the appropriate session webpage to upload your paper to the group site. To see your classmates’ papers, go to the “Recent Papers” tab within “My GATEWAY.”

Step 5: Review your first draft at the group meeting

At group meetings, every participant will read the first draft of their paper out loud to the group. Take notes on the key statements that you hear in the papers of your peers, and on the feedback that you receive on your own paper. Taking notes on the group discussing will help you to revise your paper after the meeting.

Step 6: Use feedback to revise your paper

Consider what you learned through group discussion and make any needed revisions to your paper. Also, double check your paper for any spelling and grammar errors. Remember, the goal of your paper is to present and biblically defend your personal position on that session’s article or issue. If there were some holes in the defense of your positions in your first draft, fix them here!

Tip: Reading your paper out loud to yourself or someone else can help you catch awkward wording that you may want to rephrase.  

When you’re satisfied with your revisions, upload the final draft of your paper to the session webpage using the same “Upload your paper” button from Step 4. Your facilitator will give you a pass/fail grade based on your revised paper.