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People Becoming the Church newhope church

"People Becoming the Church" -- newhope church

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When Jeffery and Joanne Portmann launched newhope church* plant in Puyallup [pew AL’ up), Washington, in 2014, their vision was to plant a multiplying church, one with the DNA to plant additional churches.

They set a goal to start five churches and they already have three: the newhope South Hill hub campus that meets at Regal Theater in Puyallup; the newhope Sumner Campus that meets at Urban Timber Coffee in nearby Sumner; and the newhope South Kitsap Campus in Port Orchard that will launch on Sept. 17, 2017.

Puyallup is located 10 miles southeast of Tacoma and 35 miles south of Seattle. Although the city’s population is about 40,000, more than 200,000 people live within 15 minutes’ driving distance of newhope South Hill, which is located near three major highways. About 65 percent of the 200,000 indicate they are unchurched or dechurched.

When the Portmanns moved to South Hill nine months prior to launching newhope, they knew no one. But they built relationships at their sons’ schools and in their neighborhood by inviting people to a community group, where they read through Mark Batterson’s book The Circle Maker. Only two of the six couples that came were Christians.

Jeffery Portmann began building a launch team of people willing to find jobs in or near Puyallup and relocate their families. The Portmanns and their team members hosted worship and prayer gatherings in coffee shops and a community center, and volunteered at a local food bank and in schools.

On Easter 2014, newhope church launched with multiple Sunday morning services at the Regal Theater on South Hill. Tony and Sarah Pence, who came that day, were the first people at newhope to accept Christ and be baptized.

“That was especially meaningful,” recalls Portmann, “because the first Saturday our family moved into our neighborhood, I met Tony. He was walking his dog past as I was watering our grass. He had recently retired from the Air Force. Our conversation led him to say, ‘People have always said I should be a pastor or something like that, but I don't know anything about the Bible. Will you help me?’” That conversation led to several months of friendship building as the two men read through the gospels together.

Ronnie Medina, who is currently part of newhope’s Creative Arts Team and helps lead worship, had wrestled with addiction, anger, and loneliness. But looking back at the first weekend he came to newhope, he says, “I felt like I had come home.” Ronnie had relocated to Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Washington, from Pearl Harbor Naval Ship Yard in Honolulu. He drives one hour to the South Hill campus, but in September the South Kitsap Campus in Port Orchard will be 15 minutes from his house.

“In a community that is vastly unchurched, we boldly declare that Jesus is not our last hope, He’s our only hope,” Portmann says. “Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are people becoming the church.”

Portmann also expresses his appreciation for the Matching Funds they received through AGTrust and Church Multiplication Network, stating: “[The funds] allowed newhope church to start with a team that could ‘dream and do,’ rather than ‘wish and wait.’” 

*newhope church's official name is not capitalized.

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