OPEN: The Fredricks Family

Jon + Traci Fredricks, Photos by Merissa Humes | April 9, 2023

Jon and Traci Fredricks, a couple of Iowans, met in high school when Traci was a sophomore and Jon was a freshman. They married in August of 1990, nearly 33 years ago. They have four children: Mary, Hudson, Maggie and Charlie, plus one granddaughter, Aria, born 17 months ago. After moving to Tacoma in the early 90s (EXTREMELY reluctantly, if you ask Traci) the Lord began to plant this idea in their hearts, not just of full-time ministry, but one day starting their own church. A meeting with a small group of young adults in a Central Tacoma living room in early 2001 (several of whom are still in our community to this day) transformed their dream into the reality that is Discovery Community Church. Their first service was in April that year, on Easter Sunday, the day before Charlie was born! This past Easter Sunday marks 22 years of continuous ministry. The location has changed, but the mission and vision remains the same: A multiplying mosaic movement strategically reaching Tacoma and beyond with the love of Christ for His people.

Aria with her grandparents. But, which one of them is her favorite? Who’s to say? (I am. It’s Traci.)


Discovery Community Church: Looking back on the past 22 years of Discovery, how have you seen the church grow?

Jon Fredricks: I have seen Discovery grow from a handful of people on a couple of couches in a house behind Frisco Freeze, to a mosaic multiplying church. We have baptized over 300 people, helped plant five churches, and learned how to serve in and with our diverse community. 

DCC: Traci, in those same 22 years, how have you seen your role change? Have your passions shifted as well?

Traci Fredricks: My role at Discovery has had chapters! Chapter 1 was all about building friendship with neighbors, and with our kids' friends, and with small groups of people who started this journey with us. I was in the busiest mom years and learned along side those early friends and believers what it meant to combine my faith with my primary ministry of nurturing my kids. In the middle chapters, I stood in a lot of gaps regarding needs in our faith community as it grew: on staff and volunteer worship, events, kid's ministry, and outreach (my favorite was our summer offering: Sports Camp). Those are some of my fondest years. They are also a chaotic blur. It felt that my kids were growing up fast and leaving and in some ways the same thing was happening with my Disco family. We did “grow up” in regards to global mission work. We found out that some of us needed different space. Sometimes kids leave…and sometimes those same kids come back. And providing soft spaces to land is how I’d categorize my role then. In my present chapter, I am more courageous than I’ve ever been; finally able to be myself with all my weaknesses even more exposed. I am like a deer on new legs in regards to my role with Discovery. After COVID I think we all felt that way… but God… I am providing spaces for connection in women’s ministry, hosting our services, leading children in worship, and presently meeting with an amazing team to plan a fundraiser for a precious family leaving for full-time missions.

Jon and Traci with their dogs: Ellie, the blonde blob on the left, and Chess, lovingly restrained between both humans.


DCC: Speaking of COVID, the recent past has been extremely difficult, especially the period of March 2020 through April of 2022. During that time period, what has made you most proud? And are there still some hurdles to overcome for Discovery?

TF: I’m most proud of the people in Discovery who are humble learners. I look around at these folks who have stayed the course with Jon and I (I refer to them as the “homies”) and they blow me away with their curiosity about their "neighbor". They see how experiences and stories that are different than their own can lead them to a better understanding of the Gospel and how to listen and love. I have learned SO MUCH from this mosaic that lives and breathes God’s mercy and grace. 

JF: I completely agree! In terms of hurdles, I see two primary ones for our community. The first is getting stuck in the old. We have romanticized the pre-COVID days, wishing too much that we could return to the way “things used to be”. And the second is a general withdrawal from relationship. People are still isolated and unsure of how to jump back in. If we can push through, the season ahead can be one of great fruitfulness! I'm honestly very excited and hopeful about the future of Discovery and the Church in general.


DCC: Jon, it’s clear that you’re excited, you wear it on your sleeve! But what would you say is the cause? Reconnecting in relationship, or something different?

JF: Definitely that, but also if you look back through history, God has used seasons of cultural upheaval as open doors for the Gospel. I see hungry people again. If we as God's people can return to the call of reaching the lost , redeeming Jesus’s call to live in loving, richly diverse churches, and deploying in strategic service, prayerfully God will grow this church and His Kingdom!

Traci and Jon sharing a warm beverage. In Jon's cup is anything but coffee. He's not a fan. Even after 30 years here.


DCC: You both have such a deep love for this city. Has it always been this way? Traci, what drew you here? What keeps you here?

TF: This is going to sound cliche... but God alone drew me to Tacoma. And believe me, I was kicking and screaming. This city scared the crap out of little Midwestern me. But God knew how deeply I needed to surrender my anxiety to Him, and learn to love a people who are so beautiful and deep and broken. He graciously opened my limited eyes and then my heart to the people of Tacoma. It was supernatural and I am the rich one for having lived, worked, cried, walked, served, laughed, and grown here. It’s the growth I’m most humbled by. I pray it never ends. 

The exterior of the Fredricks family home. Purchased spring of 2000. Jon saw all the potential. Traci did not. 23 years later, they're still there. Traci loves it now. We think.

DCC: Last question. Summer is near. We can feel it! What's got you pumped for the next several months?

TF: I am really looking forward to IF: Gathering. It's in a few days! I can't wait for Jon to get back on that grill! I am also very much looking forward to kid's ministry and outreach this summer.

JF: It's gonna be a good year!