IN THE BEGINNING
It all began with a small prayer group that prayed earnestly and believed God would establish a church, with a pastor who would be a shepherd after God’s heart and preach the truth of the Bible. After a season in prayer they contacted Matthew Mallek, who had completed Bible College and was serving at a church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to see if he would prayerfully consider planting a church in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
After much prayer and God’s direction, Matthew moved back to the Stevens Point area where he was raised and began Good News Fellowship Church on Sunday, January 22, 1984. The first meeting was at the Best Western Royale hotel, in a conference room. The church soon outgrew the conference room and was using a larger banquet area until the church moved to its present location where it has continued to expand and grow.
In the spring of 1985, Good News Fellowship Church opened Canaland Christian Academy of Early Learning, a child care center that continues to serve the community. That same fall of 1985, Stevens Point Christian Academy was birthed, with an enrollment of 16 children in grades K-6. Today, we serve children in grades K-12 and have multiplied in size, with new enrollments added regularly.
In 2014 Good News Fellowship Church celebrated 30 years of ministry to central Wisconsin as well as ministry outreaches established in Ghana, West Africa and Italy. It was evident that a fresh move of God was sweeping the nation, and our church was to be a part of it. God revealed that He was giving us a new name, for a new season with a renewed zeal for His work. We sought God to discover how can we be more relevant to impact our culture with the message of the Gospel? Out of this yearning, Refuge was born.
This transition wasn’t just about a new name; it was to rethink the way we do church in order to make a greater impact in our community. Refuge is a safe place where people are welcomed and presented the message of God’s love, acceptance and forgiveness. It is a place for the hurting to come and where they are encouraged to heal. It is a place where people will encounter Jesus and find their Refuge in Him.
Having vision is important for any organization to be effective.
“At Refuge we believe all people matter to God. This is a place we grow while finding authentic hope, purpose, and love; through Jesus.”
We are a church that reaches inward, discovering wholeness in our relationship with Jesus Christ so that we can reach outward. Refuge is outwardly focused in its vision to impact the community. We are far more concerned about loving people rather than being judgmental and pointing out their faults. To be a part of Refuge means to view people differently, as God sees them. We are not in a place to cast stones but to offer a helping hand for people to discover their true potential in a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. Everyone is welcome at Refuge.
A mission is just as important as vision. It describes the steps we take in order to accomplish our vision:
“We are a place that welcomes all people; equipping them to grow in faith through God‘s word. We create engaging environments where people discover their purpose, resulting in a life-changing encounter with Jesus. We take His message of love and hope to our community and beyond.”
Core values are fundamental statements that inspire an organization; it is how we interact with one another. Our core values underlie our work, how we interact with each other, and which strategies we employ to fulfill our mission. They are basic elements of how we go about our work. Our core values are important as we make decisions for the church that affect the people in it as well as those we are reaching. Every event, ministry, and outreach at Refuge is based on at least one of our core values. At Refuge we have twelve of them.
We are a people who cannot be broken.
We are a family that will always forgive.
We are peacemakers in a world at war.
We are a body that when damaged will heal.
We are a safe place for poor and for rich.
We are a haven for those who are tired.
We are a friend who will never grow weary.
We are enablers for those who seek truth.
We are a journey that never grows old.
We are servants who love without an agenda.
We are in awe of the one true God.
We are a Refuge.
We Are Refuge
Now that you have read our vision, mission, and core values; what do you think it means to be a part of Refuge? It really can be summed up in our name. We are a refuge, a safe place in a troubled world. It doesn‘t matter who you are, what your background is, what you look like, or what you‘ve done, you are welcome at Refuge. We all need to find our refuge in God.
As a part of Refuge, active involvement is something that’s encouraged. We know God has placed unique gifts in every person, and our church is a safe place to grow and develop in them. We have many opportunities to get involved through volunteering and contributing our time, talent and resources. As Pastor Matt often says, “When everyone does their part in the church, every need is met.”