This is actually too big of question to answer in just one article, but I will make this as clear and simple as I can through this brief note. The following has nothing to do with what strategies or programs we will have at Refuge Church. Instead, this is about clarifying the vision that will make our efforts successful.
A few years ago my dad, my younger brother and I went fishing led by a professional fishing guide. This gentleman promised all his clients one hundred-fifty pounds of catfish in eight hours or you got your money back. While fishing I just had to ask him a question. I asked, “How is it you can guarantee so many fish will be caught under your direction? Don’t tell me that the other fishing guides don’t know how to fish.” He said, “That’s easy to explain my friend. Everyone else is fishing out of 25% of the lake. When I take you fishing I take you to the other 75% of the lake where the fish are everywhere, but few fish for them. As you can see we’re the only boat out this far right now. Yes, it might mean I have to drive an extra mile or two, but it’s where the majority of the fish are.
It was at that moment, I realized that this fisherman and I had something major in common. We both understood the importance of going where the majority of the fish live. Most churches are on top of each other here in the Southeast, but they’re also fishing in only 25% of the lake. The majority of churches around us are designed for church people, not lost people. Most of what they do is geared towards keeping church people happy not reaching out to the 75% of people who could care less what’s going on inside any of our churches. Refuge Church will be intentional about reaching out to the masses of people who don’t feel good enough to walk through the doors of a church and who need the church to come to them.
Refuge Church exists to LOVE, LIFT, and LEAD people to Jesus.
Any church that genuinely and intentionally does these things will make a HUGE difference, not just be different. You see, we’re not trying to look better than other churches or get people from other churches to come to Refuge Church. We are trying to reach out to the over 75% of our population who don’t attend any church and don’t plan attending one any time soon. Allow me to break these three critical elements of the Refuge Church mission statement down so that you recognize their importance. Everything we do will be done with the following three things in mind and in this order.
1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV) “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”
Mark 12:28-31 says “The two greatest commandments are to “Love God and to Love People”.
Many people don’t have a problem with Jesus, but they do have a real problem with the people inside of churches who say they love Jesus, yet don’t show a sincere love for them. Loving people doesn’t mean you agree with everything someone says or does, but it means that you genuinely care about people despite how they may act or operate in this life. Love is the key to opening many doors to even having the opportunity to share Jesus. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
John 3:14-15 (NIV) says… the Son of Man must be lifted up that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. We can’t fix or save anyone, but Jesus can save and change anyone from the inside out. We have been called by God to take “The Gospel” to everyone and everywhere. In everything we do people coming to know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord will always be top priority. The gospel has power and only Jesus can save or change or a life!
(Matthew 28:19-20)(NIV) Jesus says “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” We can’t force anyone to do anything. But, we can lead them to know God’s word and discover God’s personal will for their lives. Through practical and biblical teaching we can help people see that there is a much better way to live, it’s called God’s way. People must be taught and shown by example how to follow Jesus in their everyday life.
Once a group of sold out believers in Jesus Christ come together and work together to love, lift, and lead people to Jesus, COUNTLESS LIVES WILL BE CHANGED!
Loving, Lifting, & Leading people to Jesus.