The Refuge Story
The vision struck like a bolt of lightning. Tom Thompson had to pull off I-270 to avoid an accident. His vision: An isolated rural farm where addicts could come and escape their lives, break free from addiction, and walk with God. They would learn to be sober and live out the scriptures in their daily lives.
It was a vision from God and in 1999 Tom left the security of a successful career in business, suburban home, and familiar life in Columbus and moved with his wife and four children to a farm he purchased in Vinton County in southern Ohio where he would serve addicts and God. From that point Tom has made it his life’s work to help addicts get clean and sober by identifying and addressing the spiritual brokenness that underlies their addiction.
With dedication and the help of many, The Refuge developed and refined a 13-month residential program which applies a faith-based approach to treating addiction which works.
To date, the Refuge has helped nearly 3,000 men break free from addiction and transform themselves into better citizens, sons, husbands, and fathers.
In 2018, The Refuge began assisting women with a similar thirteen-month residential program adapted specifically for the needs of women and their families. The women’s program is now in its third full year and to date has assisted over one hundred women towards their twin goals of recovery and transformational change.
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.
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.
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.
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.