who we are
From Rayon City to Refuge
In 2006, Rayon City Baptist Church contacted Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, seeking help and direction. They had been without a senior pastor for some time and had a strong desire to continue to reach people for Christ in Rayon and surrounding communities. In 2007, Rayon City became the first multi-site campus of Hermitage Hills investing prayer, time, finances and ministry to help bring restoration to Rayon City.
In 2009, Mark Smith and his family had come back from the mission field in Guatemala, and Mark was called as the campus pastor of Rayon City. He was originally contracted to plant a Hispanic Church, but when the need arose for a campus pastor for the English-speaking members, Mark became both pastor and planter.
Rayon City spent those early years ministering to the community at Rayon as well as laying the foundation to reach other nations for Christ. In June of 2009, Rayon held her first kids' clubs in English and Spanish. Worship services in Spanish were added in 2010, and Rayon was slowly becoming a bilingual, multi-ethnic campus. Ministries such as ESL, soccer, revivals, a bilingual praise team, Zumba, meal nights, flood relief and Wednesday night programs helped build momentum and growth over the years.
Sensing that God was leading Rayon in a new direction, Mark and his wife, Andrea, made a renewed commitment to pray for the future of Rayon City. Other leaders were asked to pray and fast for the future direction of the church. In 2018, the Lord led the leadership of both campuses of Hermitage Hills to release and plant the Rayon City Campus as a new family of faith: Refuge Church. Refuge Church was officially launched on Easter 2019.
Why are we called Refuge?
Psalm 46:1 says: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." In Psalm 16, David writes this about those who trust in God as Refuge: "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." We believe that hope begins when God is our refuge. We believe the "path of life" in Psalm 16 is encountered with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Because God is our refuge we strive:
1. To be a place of rescue and belonging for those who are lost and vulnerable.
2. To be a people with a listening ear ready to share words of hope, discernment and wisdom found in the Bible.
3. To make the mercy of God and the grace of Jesus accessible to all.
4. To be a unique family of faith.
5. To help others encounter God’s salvation through Jesus.
We are committed to helping all people from every nation experience the love of God and new life in Jesus Christ.