A Model of Multiplication
The Refuge model is one of multiplication: raising up leaders who go on to raise up leaders; making disciples and equipping them to make and equip disciples. As Jesus said (Matthew 10:8), “Freely you have received; freely give.” At the Refuge, once a man has it down, he is expected to pass it on. And now it is time for founder Tom Thomson to do the same with the ministry itself. “We finally sense that we have the green light from God: Okay, now we multiply, now we replicate, now we make it available."
From Bondage to Freedom in Christ
Nearly two decades ago, Thompson started this ministry with nothing but his family, a piece of land in remote Southern Ohio, and a burden for the addicted. Over the years, he watched in awe of the Lord as He grew the Refuge into a comprehensive program that has led hundreds of men from bondage and hopelessness to freedom and victory in Christ.
“How Can We Do This Too?”
The success of this mission has captured the attention of churches, public officials, and others who want to know: How are you doing this? How can we do this too? Never ceasing to give God the glory for the triumphs, Thompson also admits that there have been struggles—and this is one reason he wants to offer resources for replication. “There are a lot of things we learned the hard way,” he said. “We’ve been working for 17 years to get this to where it’s producing the right fruit, the right results. If we can save people a few years of hitting their heads against the wall, that would be awesome.”
We Have an Army to Build
Thompson’s vision of replication is not necessarily multiple carbon copies of the Refuge. While he wants to provide a model of excellence and an array of resources, he expects people to take what they need to follow their own personal callings and take their own places in the Kingdom. “In fact,” he said, “I would like to see this become a network of all kinds of different ministries that share, discuss, and encourage each other. We need to get the Christ-centered approach out there in the addiction recovery culture, exalting Jesus to the highest level so that everyone can see Him. We have an army to build. That’s replication.”