Lisa and I have been living in Columbus since a month before we got married or so (Fall of 2012). Soon after we got married, I started a job where I was required to work almost every Sunday and my shifts throughout the week varied constantly. It made finding a church incredibly difficult. Occasionally when I would have a Sunday off, we would visit a church we thought could become our home church, but we never really felt like any of those could be churches where we grow, helped others grow, and raise a family in. That’s not to say some of these churches were not biblical or gospel-centered, they just weren’t where God wanted us, which is evident now. A couples months ago, I was lucky enough to trade the weekend shift in for the regular Monday through Friday, 9am to 6pm shift. We began looking through websites (The Gospel Coalition, Acts 29 Network, Sojourn Network) looking for a church that wasn’t super far away and also shared in our same reformed theology. We visited a couple of churches whose doctrine we didn’t completely agree with, some of it minor some of it major. Some churches we did find, we emailed and never heard back.
Somehow, during my 10th scanning of The Gospel Coalition’s I saw a church that I hadn’t seen before. Refuge Church, which was located in Grove City, about 15 minutes from where we live. I went to their website and thought to myself “this looks like it could be a very good place for us to visit and check out”. I emailed the pastor, half expecting never to hear anything back like 90% of my prior inquires with other churches. But to my surprise, I heard back rather quickly, and most of the questions I had, he answered. Usually when I had heard back from a church I emailed with questions, I got super vague answers back with them trying to get me to come to service to get all the answers. It was a refreshing twist. Needless to say, we attended their Sunday service that week and have been going back ever since. Next month we hope to take the membership class and become full-fledged members of Refuge Church.
Our first visit was crazy, it was made pretty obvious to us on our first trip that this was where God wanted us. We were approached after service by one of the elders of Refuge and asked to have lunch with us (Something to note, Refuge offers a lunch buffet at church after Sunday service as a way for fellowship and getting together). Readers of my blog will know that Lisa and I feel called to the poorest area of Columbus, Franklinton (aka The Bottoms), without knowing of our call to that area, one of the elders brought up how Refuge is involved in that area and hope to eventually plant a church in that area one day. Lisa and I kind of looked at each other, almost in disbelief. It was obviously from there on, that God wanted us at Refuge. It has been such a blessing getting to know the people at Refuge and making friends. I had forgotten how much I longed for a church family during the last two years. It would have been a lot easier dealing with our miscarriage had we had a church family then. I can’t wait to see where God takes us and Refuge next.