In Puyallup the John 17 Fellowship emerged out of weekly prayer meetings the local YMCA began hosting in early 2010. This was a gathering of ministry leaders, pastors and community members coming together to pray for our community. By late 2011, local pastors began meeting together once a month for prayer and fellowship, recognizing that if we were going to be a demonstration of the unity Jesus claims in John 17:21-23, we needed to first acknowledge the unity of His body, (1 Cor 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it ) under His lordship. With that in mind we began to focus on getting to know one another and developing relationships amongst local pastors. As time went on relationships and trust grew, and it became obvious that God was not only calling us to unity, but also to encourage, support and work with each other to further His mission in our churches and in our community.
The purpose of the John 17 fellowship is to Encourage, Promote, and Facilitate three things:
The Unity of the body of Christ.
The Mission of God in our community.
The Ministry of the local church. Inside and outside the walls
We have monthly gatherings for prayer, unity and developing relationships, with 20 - 25 pastors attending each month, with about 35 in the network.
There is a very strong Church and School partnership initiative, connecting local churches and schools (over 20 churches currently connected) that has really grown in the last 2 years, in partnership with Communities In Schools.
Over a dozen churches work together providing shelter and basic needs for our homeless community during the winter months.
We do an annual Easter Celebration Dinner at the State Fairground for families in need. With over 20 churches involved in putting the event on for 700 guests.
Also work to engage local pastors and churches with city leadership. through annual meetings with the Mayor, Chief of Police, Superintendent of Schools, etc.
Our hope is that together we would so accurately demonstrate Jesus Christ in word and in deed that the world would know! Jesus said that we will be the evidence.
Our connection with the LUTC team and the network of networks has been so encouraging and helpful as we have evolved and become more intentional in our focus and activities.