Refuge is a book that will challenge and convict every reader to both personal growth and love of others in a new and refreshing way. As one who has personally benefited from the concept of the Hospital church as well as one who has been inspired to serve in ministry and love others as Jesus exampled, I highly recommend this book to pastors, ministry leaders and all servants of Christ. If you believe that our churches should be a safe place for real people; where the lost, hurting and afraid can encounter Jesus; where searching people can find acceptance as they are, but be loved enough to find freedom from the bondage of sin; then Refuge will show you how to get there. James' writing is both humorous and piercingly convicting. Refuge is full of personal experiences as well as Biblical truth. You will not want to put this book down and it will leave you inspired!
Finally! Someone is taking what Jesus said in Luke 5:31-32 seriously where He juxtaposed the difference between the self-righteous and those who acknowledge their sinfulness and brokenness. What Reeves has done is what has been the failure the of the evangelical church in America for the past 50 yrs: making the church a hospital instead of a religious shrine where sick people can come be restored and redeemed by the One who alone can save, heal, restore, and rescue us from ourselves, Jesus. Refuge is an invaluable tool for those who desire realness and authenticity in their church and not dead, cold, religious talk. It's an incredible reminder that realness, healing, repentance, and honesty MUST start at the top with the leaders in a church because only then will it be seen as safe place where the weak, broken-hearted, and poor in spirit can come and meet Jesus.
Warning! If you read this book, you will be compelled to do ministry in a way that will not only transform you, but your entire church. The Refuge isn't a radical concept; on the contrary, it's a concept that's been around for over two thousand years. Jesus concept! James simple brings us full circle to how the early church was established and operated. He uses God's word and life experience in this book to challenge folks in their personal walk with Christ as well as their leadership. His point that, ("you can't grow any more spiritually than you are emotionally") is so true. I have found it in my own life. It wasn't the Hospital church that transformed my life, it is lead surgeon of Jesus Christ that has changed me. But it was the Hospital church concept in today's context that He used to meet my emotional want and fulfill my spiritual need. The Refuge goes against everything society tells us about how to do ministry. The concept of being a safe place means as a leader, I have to be the one to set the tone in my church. I have to be the one to be vulnerable with my people. The Refuge encourages people to share their junk and share it with others so that no one can hold it against even as leaders. All the more for us as leaders, the way we lead is how others will follow.James use of the hospital analogy is perfect. The church was a hospital and we somewhere along the line we made it a cathedral. This book challenges us to commit to doing church the way it was intended. Sometimes messy, not afraid of dirty people and not afraid to show our own dirt. Ultimately, sharing in each others hurts and pains while encouraging each other to grow through them, becoming more than what we can imaging for Christ as we release our junk so that other my see Jesus for who He truly was and is. Every leader should have to read this book. Run to the refuge!
Is your idea of church a "Country Club" where people just show up on sundays and check off the box??? Well, this is a book about GETTING REAL!!! Real people who hurt and need a hospital. A hospital church that is. This concept is way over-due in a lot of churches. James talks about real life issues that plague us ALL. No one is perfect and we ALL need help. He talks about how church is SUPPOSED to be. What it's supposed to look like. Community!! Getting REAL and authentic with each other. He talks about how we need to grow and get help emotionally (wounds from our past), so we can grow spiritually. Church needs to be that place. It needs to meet people right where they're at. Not judging, but truly walking beside them (in love) and encouraging them. James is the author of this book and is also my pastor. I have gone to the church for a little over 16 years. The number one thing that I love about our church is that we all help one another. It's a true community. We get REAL. We don't sweep things under the rug, we shine a light on them. It starts at the top. James is the real deal. You will see this when you read this book. He gives practical, biblical principles to change, not only your life, but your church!! Please read this book and start making changes in your own church!! Lets take off the masks and GET REAL!! That's what people truly want. They want a hospital. They want help. They need help. Read this book and pass it on!!!
Refuge carries a message desperately needed by today's church leadership. In a world full of hurting people searching for healing and for answers, too many of today's churches are providing neither. Refuge shares a vision, a strategy and concrete tools for churches to meet people wherever they are and help them move beyond their baggage and pain and into a closer relationship with Jesus Christ.Refuge is one of the rare books that is simultaneously practical and profound. James Reeves clearly speaks from a Christ-inspired vision of how today's church must be a safe place for people to find acceptance, forgiveness, and healing. At the same time, the book provides practical, relevant, steps to help people hurting from a fallen world. Time and time again I found myself saying, "this is what church is supposed to be."From a personal perspective, Refuge was extremely helpful for my own walk with Christ. Prone to self-destructive behavior in my past, I have found healing and grace from a loving God due to some of the very principles laid out in this book. Seeing them in print and available to churches and their leaders gives me great hope.