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Refuge Church is not structured in the traditional manner

Craig Crosby is willing to take almost any steps that he can to reach people when it comes to the subject of religion.”We’ll do anything short of sin to reach somebody,” Crosby said.

Crosby said that the people’s lack of a structured regimen keeps them at home on Sundays. “I would bet that over 200 churches exist throughout Colleton County. However, nearly 30,000 out of 38,000 in this county are non-churched. Most people around here have no interest or plan to attend any of them. Many on the outside view “churched” as being self-centered, irrelevant, and, frankly, unfriendly to newcomers. This is not the case at every church, but many on the outside feel this is true. Refuge Church does not want to be perceived as just having church, but being the church. We will change the way many think about church when it is up and running.”

Crosby pastors on a full-time basis for Amedisys Hospice, based in Louisiana. Amedisys has over 535 offices nationwide, and one of those is located in Walterboro. “I’m a full-time Hospice Chaplain, and have been employed here for two and a half years. I have officiated in at least part of or at all of 170 funerals, and a majority of the people who attended did not belong to any church. The white population is more non-churched than African Americans, but 75 percent of all of us are non-churched; but, the white population is more non-churched than the black population.”

Crosby also pastors at a newly formed church that has been aptly named ‘Refuge Church.’ “We presently rent the Colleton Recreation Center for Sunday night worship every other Sunday night at 6 p.m. starting on September 15; we will begin weekly worship gatherings at the same place and time. The week before that, on September 8, we will be having a community-wide cookout at the Recreation Center. This event will also be at 6 p.m.”

Crosby currently feels comfortable holding services at the Recreation Center. “We will be in no rush to purchase our own building, because the church we are starting is not about people coming to us. We plan to discover countless ways we can go to them. No matter where we meet, people who walk through our doors will leave encouraged and with a clearer understanding of God’s will.”

Crosby has been a minister for the past 20 years. “This summer marks 20 years since accepting God’s call into the ministry. I spent the first 11 years working with youth and children from South Carolina, Texas, & Georgia. I’ve served several churches from small rural to large city ones. This will be the second church I’ve started from the ground up.”

Crosby received his high school diploma from St. George High School, where he grew up. He then received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Charleston Southern University, where he majored in Religion and minored in Communication. “Later, I received my Masters of Arts Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.” Crosby said that growing up locally helped him throughout his life. “I grew up in St. George, SC, which I often say is a smaller version of Walterboro. Growing up in the rural southeast has definitely helped me understand the good and bad behind what many here in Colleton County think about church.” Crosby said he is following in the footsteps of his father, Steve Crosby, who is also a pastor. “My father has been the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church on Sidneys Road for over 20 years, and is still there. He has been a pastor all of my life, and I’m 38.”

Crosby believes that, if people find a good reason to attend church, they will do so. “The whole population of this country is more non-churched than anyone would believe. We are in unprecedented territory, if you think about it. People today have to have a reason to go to church, and, I would argue that the majority of churches are fighting over found fish. And, as in fishing, everybody is in their favorite spot, and they don’t go looking for new places.”

Craig Crosby

Craig Crosby

The Refuge Church is preparing to focus on these people who are not going to church. “We have to prepare with the non-churched people in mind. We exist to love, lift, and lead people to Jesus. This will be the DNA in anything we do. To lead is significant, because there is a big difference between forcing and leading. These three things are the keys to our success,” Crosby said.

Crosby had an interesting analogy about churches in the future. “Within the next fifteen to twenty years, many traditional churches won’t exist. Now, it is mostly the seniors who are keeping the lights on.” He noted, however, that there are good people within every church; but, most churches don’t have a great vision, if they have one at all.

In closing, Crosby said he wanted members and leaders of other churches in our area to know he is thinking about them. “I want other churches to know that you and your leaders are sincerely in my prayers. I pray God blesses every one of your efforts. I also want any non-churched person to know that Refuge Church is as advertised. It is a place where you can come as you are, and a place you will be “Loved, Lifted, & Led” to Jesus. I invite anyone and everyone to walk through the doors of Refuge Church and see if we won’t change the way you think about church.”

For further information about Refuge Church, go to www.RefugeChurch.org for more details. There, you can sign up for our newsletter, follow the church on facebook and twitter, and gather more details about Refuge Church.