The first thing people knew about Christians is that they gathered together. At the beginning of each week they gathered, Jew and Gentile, old and young, rich and poor, all walks of life gathered together and devoted themselves to the apostles teachings, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Refuge.Church is committed to nurturing authentic relationships with one another through study, meals, and praying for one another.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2: 42 ESV)
This scripture in Acts is referring to early believers. The early believers were devoted to each other and to fellowship. The new believers weren’t devoted to an anonymous one-hour service each Sunday in which they slipped in the back of the church after handshake time was over, and quickly slipped out unnoticed before the last song ended, but they were devoted to fellowship with one another.
In thinking about planting a church, we’ve been reading everything we can get our hands on related to the subject. For both Karen and myself, this little section entitled Dear Church from Jen Hatmaker’s book For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards hits the nail on the head. We hope you enjoy, and encourage you to purchase and read the entire book. Funny, easy, yet enlightening read.
Dear Church People,
First let me broaden the definition of who “church people” are. How about church people, former church people, and potential church people? It’s a fluid category, so all of you can just gather round. You are so incredibly dear to me. I particularly like the prickly folks on the outer edges, but I was raised by church choir ladies with casseroles, so I have big heart-space for all the concentric rings.
I’m a marketing guy at heart. I love a good ad campaign. In my humble opinion, the best ad campaign of the modern era has to be Apple’s “Here’s to the Crazy Ones“. It was simply brilliant. Even today people still think of Apple (one of the largest corporations in the world) as a small start up company of outsiders based on this one campaign.
Being new and small, and with no preconceived notions, debt, or people to upset by change, we can be free to re-think how church is done. This does not negate the work being done within other local congregations, simply another outlet for those who can not find a home within those bodies, or who haven’t been reached by those movements.
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.
The name REFUGE comes from our commitment to be a church that provides a community and shelter for the spiritually and emotionally broken, which happens to be …
ALL OF US
We’re all messed up much more than we think, and yet God is so much more of a refuge than we could ever imagine. We believe that when the church functions more like a recovery group than a business we are in a better position to reach the broken, and be a safe place for recovery and healing. Healing happens at a slow pace, and only through grace, mercy, and love.
Drive down Cypress Lakes Drive or McGregor Blvd in Fort Myers, and no doubt you will pass by no less than 50 Christian Churches. Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Non-Denominationals; they are all represented. So why go through the effort of planting another church in what would appear to be an already saturated area?
Community. Fellowship. Body. Movement. Gathering. Alliance. Society. Union. Fraternity. Village. Club. Mob. Clique. Team. Congregation. Association. Gang. Ensemble. Collection. Family.
I could come up with a pretty long list of words that have been used (and abused) over the years to describe church. The fact is that Christianity isn’t meant to simply be believed; it’s meant to be shared, spoken, and lived out within community. Try as we might, we can’t be Christians on our own. We need a community. We need a church.
Is there a hole? A yearning in your soul that you can’t quite pinpoint? Perhaps that yearning is for something deeper, more meaningful, and more connected to God. You are not alone in that search. I have felt that yearning, and over and over again I hear others searching for it.
But, what is the yearning, and how do we find fulfillment? For me the answer has been in deeper community, deeper study, and deeper service. Perhaps that is the answer for you. Perhaps you are ready to feed your soul with the solid food of Gods word, authentic community, and more meaningful service to the least of these. That is what Refuge Church is about, and we would love to partner with you to go deeper.