After an extensive, exhausting search for a venue, the Reverend Adam Herald and his wife Tanya have found, at least temporarily, a home for the next three months to startup their new church - The Refuge. Just days ago the Heralds and their dream team were setting up and rehearsing for their inaugural day of worship at the Windham High School auditorium that commences this Sunday March 5 at 10 a.m.
|Pastor Adam Herald rehearsing at WHS auditorium|
Their names may be familiar having gained some exposure through what they call, interest hangouts. To incite awareness in their church, the Heralds have been conducting information services at locations like the Dugout, the Veterans Center, the library and for a few weeks at Pats Pizza, since moving here from Illinois just 7 months ago. As time passed, interest grew and helped set the stage for their ultimate goal of conveying a message. “With a last name that means ‘messenger’, it’s part of who I am. As a youth pastor for 12 years and having attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, there was always the desire to be a church planner”, shared Herald.
The name Refuge came as a message from the obvious point that is found in the book of Psalms: Chapter 91. “The whole passage talks about refuge, but not just refuge, but making God our Refuge. He becomes that place we can run to during the storms of our lives. Our battle cry is: Never be overtaken. It’s a good mantra to have based on scripture. You can’t go wrong in my opinion,” stated Herald.
Expect the unexpected. First impressions are important. To this end, as part of what they call a dream team, a first impression team, or parking lot crew for the layman; they will be there to greet church goers. “So many churches put all of the emphasis on the music and on the message. But what happens from street to seat, is the most important part of our first impression team,” explained Tanya Herald. To emphasize her point she added, “We tell the team - you are not parking cars, you’re parking people. By the time they’ve made it into the service, they will have made enough connections to gain our trust and listen to what we have to say. Their first impression will be made within the first 11 minutes.”
But that’s just the beginning. With a simple stage design and lighting, there is just enough to enhance the worship experience. “We know that people are used to the boring standup, sit down experience and we wanted to bring something that’s alive,” explained Adam Herald. “It’s to interact with all the senses. So many times when you go to church it’s just auditory. So if we can add visual, they start to connect and feel things more,” added Tanya Herald.
To dispel and disperse any fear out there that the Refuge may even remotely resembles a cult, Tanya explained, “Cults are more about their own agenda and we are not about that. We have credibility through our church planning organization Association of Related Churches (ARC) that has funded us, trained us and released us to this area.” ARC has planted over 600 churches in its 15 year existence all over the country. This is the first church planned through ARC in the state of Maine.
Furthermore, like most services this service is geared for everyone regardless of age. But unlike most services, the Refuge offers designated spaces by age. “We have rented the auditorium for the Bigs (adults), the cafeteria or Eagles Nest for the Middles (grades K to 5) and two class rooms for the Littles (ages 3 to 5),” shared Adam. “This is done so that parents can relax. There is no role at the Refuge that is not the most important role. To insure this, the ‘team’ has been trained for weeks and undergone background checks, done through the state of Maine; we’re going by the state of Maine regulations of adult to child care ratio. We also have different policies and procedures in place, plus there are first responders on site at all times. We’re not here to make a new church; we are here to make a new culture. We want people to say this is a church for people who don’t do church.” added Tanya Herald.
With Easter the second largest attended service of the year, the strategic timing couldn’t be more perfect, perhaps divine. “We’re starting March 5, so that gives us six weeks until Easter.”
FMI visit: www.arcchurches.com/ and or to pre-register children, visit: refugemaine.church/