What the What?

If you’re on this website, it’s probably because you heard about a small group of us planting a new church here in Fort Myers.  And most people who know me (Brian) are likely saying “what the what”?

I was the guy who grew up mormon.  I was the guy in college who left all organized religion behind.  I was the guy that had an office near a large Mega-Church in Kentucky and would joke that someday they were all going to drink the blue Kool-Aid.

I was the guy who moved to Florida, and started showing up to church because of the free child care (and on more than one occasion left to go to Starbucks, while the nursery watched my kid).  I’m the guy who, once I finally came around to this whole Jesus thing, would show up late to avoid shaking hands with people, sit on the back row, and leave early to escape having to talk to anyone.

Yet somehow, here we are in2016, and along with my wife Karen and a few close friends, we’re planting a church.  What the what indeed!

I found Jesus, or more appropriately stated, He found me … And he flipped my world upside down.

For the last four years, Karen and I have felt called to full time ministry, but weren’t quite sure what that was going to look like.  For a time we thought it would be international missions, as we loved the time we spent in the Dominican Republic.  But more and more, God seemed to be calling us to do something right here at home in Fort Myers.

Karen went back to school to earn a Masters in Counseling as her heart grew for those struggling with mental illness. I started attending seminary, and fell, even more, in love with God’s Word and the Gospel.  God gave me a burning desire to help others mature in their faith and gain an understanding of His amazing grace.  Our insurance agencies allow us the freedom and financial support to work bi-vocationally in ministry.

So here we are planting a church.  We’ve got a lot of ideas and they continue to evolve.  We want your ideas, and hope that you might consider being a part of planting, leading or being a part of this new movement.  

We’ve been blessed to help start, and be a part of an amazing community over the last couple of years called Epic at our church home in Fort Myers, in which we’ve seen relationships grow and flourish.  In fact, our most difficult decision has been leaving that community.  Even as I write this, I’m overwhelmed with emotion to what that group has meant to our family.  Yet while the most difficult thing for us is leaving this community, they are also a big part of what gave us the strength to GO.

As followers of Christ we are called to go and make disciples and multiply His church.  We believe our freedom to re-think church can provide a church home for those who are not currently connected.  There are many great churches in Southwest Florida, and so we’re trying to be an alternative, in an effort to reach the un-churched, the de-churched, the doubters, and the hurting.

And so we ask you to partner with us.  We need prayer partners; wise counsel partners; leadership team partners; church planting partners; financial partners; ministry leaders; teachers; volunteers; and church members.  If you have an interest in being a part of Refuge Church, you can contact me on Facebook, email or text me at 239.995.5626.

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Written by Brian Culbertson

Sinner turned Saint because of Jesus.

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