Why the name Refuge?
One of our favorite descriptions of God in the Bible is Refuge – He is our shelter. A hiding place. We also think it’s a great description of who the church is supposed to be. We want to be a place where it is safe to explore and discover a life changing relationship with Jesus.
No matter who we are, or where we are, we believe God’s abundant grace has the power to change us and restore us into the people we were created to be. In Jesus, we are forgiven, loved, accepted, righteous, free, cherished, victorious and hopeful. God has given us what we don’t deserve. At the heart of Christianity is this gospel or good news of grace. It is a message of unexpected and undeserving love.
The gospel is that God himself has come to rescue and restore creation in and through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. It is because God has first loved us, that we desire to love him back. His love motivates us as a church to live intentionally, sacrificially and generously toward others.
At Refuge, we believe Christianity at its core is about learning to love God and love one another. Church shouldn’t feel just like another program or form of entertainment. It should feel like family. We’d love for you to experience Refuge for yourself at one of our weekend gatherings in the near future!
Our mission at Refuge Church is to help people begin a lifelong journey of trust in Jesus, whereby the Holy Spirit transforms them into the likeness of Jesus, so that they increasingly experience the abundant life of loving God and neighbor.
Ours began during the summer of 2015 in Bryan, OH. I (Patrick) had been serving as the Lead Pastor of New Hope Community Church for almost four years. In June and July, the elders (leaders) of New Hope began talking about the future – everything from adding services, moving locations, and even planting a church in the region.
It was during those conversations that my wife and I began to sense God’s leading to plant a new church in Ann Arbor, MI. With four kids, two dogs, and a hamster, this seemed rather daunting! But we became increasingly convinced God was telling us to “Go!”
With the support and blessing of our elders at New Hope, in early August 2015, we announced that New Hope would be sending us on this new journey. The good news is that we weren’t the only ones God was telling to “Go!”
What started with two couples already living in the Ann Arbor area, quickly grew to close to 50 people (including kiddos) in just a few weeks. We have been humbled and overwhelmed as people from Bryan, OH and Toledo have made decisions to sell homes, find new jobs, and move to Ann Arbor to help plant Refuge Church!
On December 27th, 2015, I officially transitioned from New Hope. As a core group, we began meeting on January 17th, 2016, planning and preparing to launch Refuge Church. In April, we began our pre-launch phase, opening our doors to others who may be interested in joining us on this journey!
On April 23rd, 2017, we officially opened our doors to the public. Originally a handful of families, Refuge has now grown into a diverse community of all ages - including a large number of college and graduate students from the University of Michigan.
Our hearts resonate with the words of 1 Samuel 7:12: “This far has the Lord helped us.”
Our story is still being written. But “this far,” God has been our help. We have already been witnesses to His goodness, power, love, and faithfulness. We are excited and hopeful of what is yet to come!
To be continued…