2018: Year in Review

2018: Year in Review

It is hard to believe that 2018 will be over very soon and we will be welcoming the new year. This year seems to have flown by and so I want to take some time to review all that God has done at The Refuge in 2018.

Proverbs 16:9 says: “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

I cannot think of a better verse to describe the year that we had at The Refuge. We started the year with plans for the ministry of The Refuge in 2018 and by May it was becoming clear that God was establishing our steps differently than we had planned. At the end of July CJ McMurry moved to Michigan to accept a position as a program director at another ministry. God opened a clear door of ministry for CJ and he is doing very well in his new position, but his departure left many questions to work through and pray about. One of the things that had become very clear was that we were at a turning point at The Refuge, we needed full time effort to see the ministry go to the next level. At the beginning of August God began to put pieces together that would lead to an open door for me to come to The Refuge full time in early December. I had been praying about taking a step of faith to come to The Refuge full time and God answered my prayers and gave me the push that I needed to step out. I started full time at The Refuge on December 6th, and I am very excited to dive into ministry at The Refuge like never before. It is such a joy to be able to put full time effort and energy into my work at The Refuge!

So, what is the plan for 2019? Currently I am focused on raising my personal support to fund my ministry. The board of directors of The Refuge was generous to designate some funds to cover some of my salary this year, but I do have funds to raise so that I can be fully funded long term. While I am raising support, I am working on an addiction ministry starter kit that can be a resource to churches who want to start addiction ministries. I truly believe that the fields of addiction are white for harvest to those who want to take the Gospel to them. I pray that God will provide many opportunities for me to be a help to churches that want to get involved. For so long addiction has been an issue that people go outside the church to get help for, and I believe it is time for that to change. I believe that one major way God wants to grow His church in 2019 is through Gospel centered addiction ministry.

The vision for a residential men’s program at The Refuge is still alive and well. We have not opened the program yet, but we continue to pray that God will open doors for us to launch a program. My goal in 2019 is to do all the groundwork necessary so that with God’s help a program could be a reality sometime in 2020.

I recently attended The Addiction Connection Leadership Summit at Grace Fellowship Church in Florence Kentucky. The Addiction Connection is a collective of biblical counselors and ministries united for the purpose of training and equipping the Body of Christ in biblically helping addicts and their loved ones. The summit was a wonderful time to network with other people doing addiction ministry around the nation. I am humbled to be part of The Addiction Connection and to rub shoulders with many people who are doing residential and nonresidential addiction ministry. I walked away from that time knowing that I have much to learn from the people in this group. I was also able to complete the commissioning process with The Addiction Connection this year and be recognized as a Commissioned Addictions Biblical Counselor, the training I received is invaluable.

If you are reading this update, I would ask that you commit to pray for The Refuge. As I mentioned above, the fields are white for harvest among people struggling with addiction. The world has no real hope to offer, but the church does through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are burdened for addicts or know of someone who is I would love the chance to sit down and talk with you about how you can get involved and about how your church can take the light of the Gospel into the darkness of addiction!

Ben Funkhouser
Director of The Refuge