Refuge Residential Ministry
The Refuge began as a radical commitment to small group discipleship in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. As we learned from both best practices and directly from the men we came to serve over the years, our residential model has grown and changed many times, but our values have remained the same. You’ll see them posted at every location, but also - and most importantly - lived out in the lives of the men, staff, and (hopefully!) families and volunteers as well.
Our 7 Practices define who we are, setting the culture for the residential core of our ministry - a completely free, 13-month, faith-based rehabilitation ministry for men (ages 18+) discipling men from homelessness and hopelessness to hope and homeownership.
Phase 1: Discovery
The “Discovery Phase” is set on a secluded 100+ acre farm in the beautiful hills of Vinton County, Ohio. In Phase 1, we desire to be a safe place for every man to discover God and experience unconditional love and acceptance.
- Safe environment, free from drugs/alcohol and other distractions
- Structured and secluded environment
- Development opportunities for mind, body, and spirit
- Personal development small groups
- One-on-one mentoring
- Comprehensive, individual plan for personal growth based on biblical study
No outside contact is permitted, so that the men can focus on growing personally and with Christ.
Phase 2: Relational
The “Relational Phase” consists of four months in Lancaster, Ohio. Here, men begin to develop an intimate relationship with God as well as learning to trust and rely on each other.
- Focus on relationships - with God, himself, others, and God’s creation.
- Regular emphasis on the study of God’s Word, praise and worship, serving, giving, curriculum, and connecting to the body of Christ beyond the Refuge.
- Relational growth is focused on sacrifice, discipleship, brotherhood, conflict resolution, and submitting to authority/peer evaluation in regards to our 7 Principles.
- One on one counseling focused on discovering how God created him uniquely and redeeming his story to use as a vehicle to serve the Lord.
- Gradual transition back into a work environment to learn responsibility, commitment, and dignity
The restoration process with friends and family begins slowly and gently through weekly phone calls, letter writing and a once a month in-person visit at Family Day.
Phase 3: Application
The “Application Phase”, is the next four months of commitment and is located in Columbus, Ohio. Here, the process more closely resembles what most would consider “regular life”. Men work 35-40 hours per week and have much more freedom to make choices, while still under the authority and obeying the rules of the Refuge.
- Men work 35-40 hours per week, paying for the majority of their way through the ministry and investing in the men behind them
- Make a small monthly stipend to start saving or spending as they choose
- Focus shifts to prayer and preparation for the future as men are trained in one of “3 Pathways” - trainings to serve them in life after the Refuge
- Engaged in the local church and community, especially in the Franklinton/Hilltop areas of Columbus
- Volunteer coaches meet with the men weekly to walk alongside them as they begin to prepare for life after the Refuge
- May begin making monthly home visits
Phone calls still permitted, along with weekend home visits every two weeks.
Phase 4 - Application
The “Launch” rounds out the ﬁnal 4 months of a man’s 13-month commitment. The focus is on preparing men to return to society as responsible men of God, with a developed life plan and ongoing support. Men are given more autonomy than anywhere else in the ministry, while they also have more responsibility - to serve the community and the church, to pour back into the men behind them, and to set a good example for all the men in Phases 1-3. We raise up these men as leaders in the ministry, so that they can also learn to lead in their homes, churches, and communities as responsible men of God.
- Men continue to hold a full-time job through partnering employers.
- Begin building a life plan and career portfolio that will help them find gainful employment before leaving the ministry.
- Connect with a long term mentor for personal growth and development
- Freedom is given but responsibility and accountability are key
Phone calls and bi-weekly home visits still permitted, along with additional freedom the last month of the ministry to figure out housing and transportation needs.
Ultimately, changing men's lives by breaking the bonds of addiction will thereby change their families, their churches, their communities and their cities. To God be the glory!