Seven years ago my wife and I, along with a handful of incredible people, launched Refuge Point Church with around 40 people. Although our number was small, our God sized dreams were extraordinarily large. Seven years ago we stepped into a story that we could have never thought about writing.
Before I launched Refuge Point, some friends of mine blessed me by taking me to the Catalyst conference in Atlanta. During our lunch break I remember being at a Moe’s sitting with my friends and a guy by the name of Jeff Murphy, a pastor in Columbus, Ga. He shared his incredible church planting story and then he told me something I’ll never forget. He said, “Matthew, God will write you’re story and it will be uniquely for you.” I remember thinking, “NO, I already have it written the way I want it!” Jeff wasn’t lying and thankfully, God stepped in and changed the narrative for Refuge Point. Because only God could have done the things that’s happened at Refuge Point. If I would have written the story, the book would be over.
As God began to write the pages of our story week after week, He included a diverse people who found the same hope, the same love and a new life. Today, our story continues with new characters, new settings, new plots, different conflicts, yet with the same resolve; Jesus at the center of our reality.
As I reflect on the last 7 years, I can’t imagine what it would have been like without God at the center of our reality and with me at the helms of the ship. Honestly, it has been because of the faithfulness of God that we are here today. Sure, there were many times where the church planting roller coaster ride seemed too intense. There were many times where the enemy wanted to stop us, where I wanted to quit, and even times where people wanted us to quit. But I say to that wretched four letter word (quit) “go back to hell where you came from” because quitting is not a part of my story. Simply because this is God’s church and this is God’s vision.
I constantly have to remind myself of (and I remind you of) the powerful words of Jesus in Matthew 16:18, “I [Jesus] will build my church and the gates of hell will not overcome it.” Dear Church Planter, Pastor, fellow Christian – You are a part of God’s Church. The greatest movement in the universe. The hope of the world. God sent us himself and we called him Jesus. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit and then Holy Spirit sent us – The Church.
As we press onward towards the vision God has given us to reach 1,000 people in our small town, we will continue to do what we set out to do 7 years ago – reach out, welcome in, and move forward. I don’t know exactly how the next page of our story will read, but since Jesus is the author of our book, our future looks extraordinarily incredible. And I do know this – our future will include three things: God, The Gospel, and People.
To everyone who has believed in me and has supported us during this journey, thank you. There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think of the people who labored in prayer and labored physically to get us going.