Who is Gerald Coates?
Gerald Coates is the founder of the Pioneer network of churches, which were established to develop new churches across the UK and engage in mission globally. He is a renowned pastor, author and broadcaster. He is now the team leader of Pioneer Engage, a cross generational church in Leatherhead.
Where it all began:
Gerald was born in Stoke D'bernon, near Cobham, Surrey in late 1944. It was a time when the capital city of London was being bombed by doodlebugs and the dreaded super-sonic V-2's.
On the day Gerald was born a V-2, the world's first long-range guided ballistic missile, landed on a Woolworth's store in New Cross just 25 miles away, killing 168 shoppers and injuring another 123. It was the one of the worst civilian disasters in London during World War II. 1
A Firm Foundation:
Gerald was the oldest of 3 children, and his parents who were nominal Christian's, sent them to Sunday School at the local Church of England, where they learned the stories of the Bible and they heard about Jesus life and ministry. This gave young Gerald the foundation of faith and the framework of biblical truth he would later build upon. His father was a manager at a local engineering and plastics firm and his mother stayed at home and took care of their growing family.
Gerald excelled in the the practical things at school rather than the academic. However his confidence grew when he joined the school drama club. It wasn't until the age of twelve though that Gerald had any real personal experience of God.
Salisbury Youth Camp:
His cousin, who lived nearby in Cobham, invited him to go with him to a youth camp in Salisbury for 2 weeks as the 7th member of his youth group. Whilst there the young people experienced life under canvas with archery and other outdoor adventures during the day, and a group sing-a-long in a marquee with talk from one of the leaders in the evenings. Gerald was particularly taken by the testimonies of those who spoke, and one night prayed with the camp leader who led Gerald through surrendering his life to Jesus. 2
A Hospital Miracle:
Throughout his teens there were dips and troughs in Gerald's faith. When he was 17 years old he borrowed his sister's boyfriends motorbike to take it for a spin; and a spin it was!
Crash helmets were not a legal requirement in those days and as he steadily increased speed around the lanes he didn't see the debris in the road and swerved rather late to miss it! The bike hit the curb which burst the front tyre and Gerald was flung over the handle bars, hitting a brick pillar head on...
Atkinson Morley Hospital:
His parents were called to his bedside at Atkinson Morley Hospital, in Wimbledon, where he had been taken after the accident, and were told that he had just 4 hours to live!
However, a miracle occurred, the 4 hours deadline turned into a day, then two, and more. Gerald remained unconscious for a week when he slowly regained consciousness. With a faint recollection of the accident and a throbbing head, he found out that he was in the same ward as the famed racing driver Stirling Moss 3 [pictured right], who had been involved in a racing accident at the Goodwood racetrack on the same day as he had had his accident. 4
As he recovered Gerald found a new resolve in life to follow after - and pursue God wholeheartedly - as God had undoubtedly saved him for something... ! Indeed God had a plan for Gerald's life, from that miracle in Atkinson Morley Hospital right up to today He has nurtured Gerald's faith, and made him strong in Spirit.
Four Decades and Counting:
Throughout the last 40 years of his ministry he, and his wife Anona, have encouraged a community atmosphere, a personal faith and a reliance and God's Holy Spirit. He has been outspoken and pushed the boundaries but by the Grace of God he has been surrounded with like minded and Spirit filled people whom God has used to bless His church and expand His kingdom.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey says of Gerald’s ministry:
“Without question [his] contribution to faith and the landscape of Christianity in the UK has been extremely significant. He has brought to us all a warm, intelligent and lively faith that has led many to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.” 5
There is so much that can be written about Gerald Cotes but time and space is limited so in a nutshell:
Gerald he is renowned for being the founder of Pioneer: the Christian network of churches throughout the UK and abroad too. Initially Pioneer began as just five people meeting together in Cobham, this number grew to over six hundred people, and grew to become the network of churches we know today. Having handed over the running of Pioneer to John Noble, he is now team leader of Pioneer Engage, a cross generational church based in Leatherhead. 6
He is a popular conference speaker and has spoken at many Christian Conferences including Spring Harvest and New Wine, he has also spoken at big events at Earls Court, Wembley Stadium and the Royal Albert Hall many times and countless churches of all and no denominations.
Over the years Gerald has authored nine books including: ‘Divided We Stand?’, ‘He Gives Us Signs’ and ‘An Intelligent Fire’.
His last book ‘Sexual Healing’, was written with Nathan Ferreira; in it Ferreira tells the story of his addiction and subsequent deliverance by God from pornography that had plagued him for years. Together they explore how to find, and maintain, freedom in Christ from addiction.
Ghostwriter's Biographical Account:
Recently author and ghostwriter Ralph Turner, wrote Gerald’s biography called simply ‘Gerald Coates Pioneer’ 7 - a fast paced journey of Gerald’s family, conversion and ministry. It is a great read - inspiring, humourous and informative at the same time. Turner calls him a ‘a pastor, a pioneer and a provocateur’ 8 because Gerald is a controversial figure and his ministry has provoked many a reaction across the church.
However, God has used him widely and he continues in this his 7th decade, to inspire and encourage the church globally. He has been a broadcaster on Premier Christian Radio, spoken at a numerous evangelistic and unity events at Earls Court, Wembley Stadium and the Royal Albert Hall, and at countless churches of all denominations and none across the globe.
A Family Man:
Gerald is married to Anona and they have 3 sons and 4 grandchildren.
- Article: New Cross Remembrance of World War II Bombing. See - https://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2014/12/new-cross-remembrance-of-world-war-ii-bombing
- From and Interview with Canon J John in Facing the Canon. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6irMHAONi4
- Stirling Moss: See - http://www.grandprixhistory.org/moss_bio.htm
- Motor Sport Magazine Website. See - https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article...
- Quote: Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey. Book Gerald Coates PIONEER Commendations page 2
- Pioneer Engage. See - www.pioneerengage.org.uk
- Gerald Coates PIONEER ©2015 Ralph Turner | Malcolm Down Publishing Ltd. | ISBN 978-1-910786-28-4
- Book sleeve back cover: Gerald Coates PIONEER ©2015 Ralph Turner