Association Of Free Lutheran Congregations

Our Story

Followers of Jesus,
who invite others to follow Jesus

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Our Mission

We are followers of Jesus who invite others to follow Jesus.
It is only through Jesus and His gospel that we are given new life. Our desire is to have this new life be a living faith that goes beyond Sunday morning. Then, with our hearts filled with gratitude for what Jesus has done, we share Jesus with others.

Our Vision

To be salt and light to our community.
We are salt by meeting the physical and social needs of our community. We are light by meeting the spiritual needs of our community through sharing the Gospel of Jesus.

Our History & Future

JOY Church was founded in 2004 by Pastor Don Schrage.  In the beginning, the church met at Four Peaks Elementary in the gymnasium.  Then it moved to a building near the Fountain and finally, in 2009 moved to its current location.

In October 2017, much beloved Pastor Schrage went home to be with Jesus.  A call went out to Pastor Clayton Wilfer who started in June of 2018.  Since coming to JOY, Pastor Clayton has focused on two main areas – an upward growth of spiritual life with an outward expression.

Life-enriching growth only takes place when growing in Christ

The upward growth is about having a living faith.  A living faith comes from knowing Jesus and His gospel (the good news of salvation).  It comes from reading and studying Scripture.  But it’s more than just intellectual knowledge.  A living faith applies His word to all aspects of our lives.  Then, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we grow in love, grace, mercy, repentance and forgiveness.

The outward expression is about being salt and light to our community.  This is done in so many different ways at JOY. Here are just a few:

  • Hands of JOY is a knitting and crocheting ministry that makes prayer shawls and Lapgahns for those who are going through difficult times; baby blankets, booties, sweaters and hats that go to Choices, a pregnancy resource center.
  • Partnering with Choices to offer hope and healing for those who have had abortions.
  • Nursing home outreach.
  • Participate in the town’s annual Make a Difference Day.
  • Packing and sending shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
  • Movie Nights – showing faith-based movies throughout the year.

We are part of the Fountain Hills Christian Ministerial Association which is an association of pastors who hold to the essential beliefs and teaching of Christianity which are found in the Holy Scriptures, expressed by Apostle’s Creed.  We stand and work together for the sake of Jesus Christ and His gospel. Some examples of the ministry we do together are:

  • Food Closet: We have boxes of food available at no charge to you that you can get immediately.
  • Good Samaritan Fund: The Fountain Hills Good Samaritan Fund (FHGSF) exists to provide emergency support for those who are near to having their utilities disconnected. 
  • Sharing the Gospel: We hold the annual Easter Sunrise Service at the Fountain which often draws over 1,000 people. We are currently working with the Billy Graham Evangelical Association to hold a Look Up Celebration even in March of 2025.

Our Future
We will continue our focus of a living faith Jesus.  An upward growth that is marked by the authentic spiritual life by the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word and Sacraments. An outward expression in which every gift of grace is encouraged and given the fullest possible chance for expression. A congregational faith in which there is a zeal for prayer, evangelism, spiritual revival within the church and outside of the church. A faith that says, without apology, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Romans 1:16

Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC))


We are part of the Association of Free Lutheran Congregations (AFLC). The AFLC was organized in 1962 by 40-50 congregations of the former Lutheran Free Church (LFC). It’s a fellowship of independent congregations dedicated working together in the service of God’s Kingdom. It and has grown to become a larger Lutheran church body in the United States with over 270 member congregations. Click here to visit the AFLC’s website.

AFLC - History and Founding Principles
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AFLC - What does it mean to be a Free and Living Congregation?
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AFLC - What Does it Mean to be Lutheran?
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AFLC -What does it mean for the Church to be the Bride of Christ?
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