Early in 1980...
Mark Suko, a student at Northwest Baptist Seminary in Tacoma, began praying about the possibility of starting a church near where he lived in the growing village of Gig Harbor. He was approved as a missionary with Northwest Baptist Home Missions in the spring and commissioned to plant a church in the Gig Harbor area. The purpose from the beginning was to carry out the Great Commission of Christ as found in Matthew 28:19-20.
On August 7, 1980 a small group of fifteen people began meeting for a Bible study in the Suko home for the purpose of starting a Bible-teaching church. On September 7th the first formal service was held in the old Arletta School (Hales Pass Improvement Club).
The name "Discovery" was chosen for historical reasons. In 1792 Captain George Vancouver sailed the H.M.S. Discovery into history as he entered Puget Sound in search of the legendary Northwest Passage. Instead, he discovered one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Here ships could seek shelter from storms and replenish. A church, much like a harbor, is a place where people can find shelter from the storms of life, the forgiveness and grace of God and direction for their future. Therefore, the name Discovery was adopted with this in mind.
The following year on October 25, 1981 the church was officially organized and the Covenant, Constitution and Statement of Faith were adopted. Soon our first missionaries, Jon and Dee Mitchell, were sent to Brazil in 1984.
In August of 1988 the church moved to a larger leased church building on Grandview Street in Gig Harbor while property, purchased earlier, was developed. Then in September 1995 papers were signed on our fifteenth anniversary to purchase additional property (3.5 acres) and existing buildings on Gustafson Drive.
During the summer of 1994 Pastor Suko and his son Caleb took their first trip to Ukraine to help with a mission project of The Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE). The collapse of the Soviet Union had opened new doors and there was a need for the establishment of a Church Ministries Institute (CMI) to train local leaders. Since that time Discovery has continued its ministry outreach to Ukraine in many ways including a long-term sister church relationship together and partnerships with local ministers there and in Moldova.
Missions continued to be in the forefront as Discovery became the official sending church for career missionaries such as Mary Amesbury to Russia (1995), Tim and Martia Franklin to Brazil (2000), Rachel Suko to Ukraine (2002), Caleb and Christina Suko to Ukraine (2007) and Daron and Yunae Wilson to Thailand (2009). A number of other men and women who trained at Northwest Baptist Seminary also received practical ministry experience or formal internship at Discovery. They were also launched into church ministries around the country and in other parts of the world.
On March 6, 2005 Discovery broke ground for a new ministry and worship facility. Expanded parking facilities were also added. The new ministry center construction project was declared complete and a special dedication service with contractors and special guests was held on December 4, 2005.
We are currently in the process of prayerfully developing a Master Plan with architects that includes a full education wing, multi-purpose room, new church offices and kitchen, auditorium expansion and more. We trust this step of faith will serve our church family and community well for many generations to come. Click for building information.