Champions Network

A small group, Christ-centered redemption model that equips the church to serve and heal communities.

What is the church doing about addiction?

The Refuge has been boots-on-the-ground in residential recovery for nearly two decades now, and we got tired of hearing that question and not having an answer. Put that together with God clearly calling us to help equip the church to address addiction and “heal the brokenhearted…and set the captives free” of Luke 4:18,
and there you have it – the Champions Network.

What exactly does the Champions Network look like?

The Champions Network is just that – a network of “champions” using small-group relationships to connect to the addicted in their own local churches and communities, scattered all across the state of Ohio.

These champions will network:

  • personally, finding resources and forming relationships in their own local communities;
  • with each other, for best practices and cohesive care; and
  • with The Refuge, for additional statewide resources and training through our virtual Champions Online University!
Step 2

Pack Your Bag

The following is a list of items that may be brought in to The Refuge. We can supply these items if necessary. Anyone bringing anything beyond the items listed above will be required to donate extra items to the ministry. We do not have enough storage for everyone’s personal items, so please do not plan to bring them unless specified! (Exceptions are determined on a case-by-case basis.)


1 Bible & Notebook


8 pairs of pants or shorts (seasonally-appropriate)


8 shirts (seasonally-appropriate)


3 Pairs of shoes


3 sweaters or sweatshirts (if seasonally-appropriate)


Personal hygiene products (no alcohol)

1 shampoo, 1 conditioner, 1 body wash/soap, 1 deodorant, 1 non-electric toothbrush, 1 tube of toothpaste, 1 bag of non-electric razors, 1 can shaving cream, 1 hair style product.

Step 3

Come To Orientation

Men’s Orientation is our version of what’s called “Intake” in some other places. You do not need to call to make a reservation or let us know that you are coming. Every weekend, we will post on our Facebook page and also our blog with the number of spots available for intake on the following Monday.

Men’s Orientation is open to the public. Potential applicants, family members, friends, community members, church members – anyone is welcome! Come check out The Refuge for yourself.

Columbus Orientation is held every Monday at 10:00 am at:

Veritas Community Church – West
12 S. Terrace Ave.
Columbus, OH 43204


Lancaster Orientation is held every Thursday at 10:00 am at:

Maple Street United Methodist Church
438 E. Wheeling St.
Lancaster, OH 43130

The first hour is dedicated to an informational session.
  • We’ll give you an overview of what to expect in our 13-month Men’s Residential Ministry.
  • Men who are currently in our Ministry or others who have graduated will share their stories.
  • We’ll hold an open Q&A session to answer any questions you may have. (You can find the answers to many frequently asked questions about our Men’s Ministry here)
  • Once everyone’s questions have been answered, we’ll ask any men who are interested in joining to conduct a short interview in a private room.
Step 4

Interview With Staff

If you decide that you want to join The Refuge, we’ll have you come
to meet with our staff and fill out some application paperwork.

This is our chance to get to know you better, confirm that you meet the
requirements to join, and help decide if The Refuge will be a good fit for you.

Interview times are dependent on the number of applicants each week, but please note:
Applicants must attend the information session to be considered for an interview.

Step 5

Leave For The Refuge

If you’re accepted to The Refuge, you will have an opportunity to let your friends and family know, and say goodbye before you leave.

Then, you will board our bus and depart for our Phase One home in Lancaster, Ohio.

You can learn more about what to expect there, and throughout your time at The Refuge on our Men’s Residential Ministry page.

Many common questions are answered on our Men’s Ministry FAQ page.

There is no cost to join The Refuge. You do not need to bring money, and there is no insurance required.

What’s next – tell me more!

1. Take a second to watch this video to help you understand a little more…

2. Pick a champion within your congregation!

We recommend that pastors NOT be the champion, mostly because we don’t want to add another thing to your plate! We would love to help you find and raise up a leader who has dealt with addiction his/herself to be your official Champion and report to you. Contact us to find out more.

3. Fill out an application!

Are you a pastor interested in finding out more? Click here
Are you considering being a Champion in your church? Take the first step by filling out the application here!

4. Schedule a phone call or virtual meeting!

Once you fill out that form, click here to set a time for a phone call or virtual meeting with Tom Thompson, founder of The Refuge. He can answer any questions you have about The Refuge and the Champions Network, as well as explaining some of the benefits laid out below. 

5. Start Learning
  • One we’ve received your completed application, we’ll give you access to your first training module on Champions Online University, 101 – Quick Start Guide to the Champions Network
  • As you’re starting to lay the groundwork for your own group, you’ll get an invitation to shadow one of our existing Champions groups near you
  • Once you’re ready start your Champions group, you’ll have an opportunity for Refuge men or Champions Network staff to shadow your small group and share information and best practices.
  • You will also have ongoing access to new virtual training courses on the Champions Online University
  • We offer 1 hour each month for individual connection and coaching
  • You’ll also have access to a monthly Champions webinar to share best practices and encourage one another
  • Finally, you’ll be invited to our annual summit meeting for a deeper dive on training and collaboration with others in the Champions Network.

Success Stories

"Trust the process."

- Coty


"There is so much unconditional love."

- Areil


"Relying on God more."

- Dustin


"There is hope."

- Nate

Our Mission

To change the lives of men and women affected by addiction through Christ.

Our Purpose

To lead men and women from active addiction to becoming fully recovered, responsible citizens who move forward and make a new beginning towards lives defined by new beliefs, values, and purpose.

Our Vision

To inspire fully recovered and responsible men and women of God who go on to live Christ-centered lives of Christian responsibility and purpose and bring still others to Christ.

Support Us

The Refuge Is A Non-Profit Organization