Refuge   being published by kregel press (available through Amazon or


Forward by Steve ARterburn (author of Every Man’s Battle)

“The recovery movement is dead.”

How many times have I heard that phrase from church leaders, publishers, and even some bookstore retailers?  Maybe a few hundred times over the last ten years.  Funny, I don’t think the rest of the world got the memo.  Not so funny:  I don’t think those inside the church got the memo either.

The truth is, screwed up people are alive and well outside - and inside the four walls of the church.  Christian leaders have made progress over the last two decades in trying to touch those who are fallen and can’t get up.

Many are trying...few are actually succeeding.

Why?  Recovery support groups are good;  the offer of forgiveness is admirable; counseling is needed...but I can honestly say:  We still have a church that would rather look the part of Jesus rather than act the part of Jesus.

We want the appearance of having it together without the substance.  We want healthy Christians but we think the only roadmap is found in the Bible under “spiritual growth.”  I’m head over heals in love with God’s Word as a source of healing, but the premise of this book is absolutely true;  I’ve seen it true in a hundred thousand letters and phone calls to “New Life Live” : Spiritual health cannot truly take root if there is not emotional health first.

Dr. James Reeves agrees that what is needed within the church isn’t more “recovery” groups on every addiction imaginable. For twenty years his church has been what the title says: a Refuge.  What he’s done is create a biblical  model of love, concern, honesty, community, know, Christianity!!!

The secret to Dr. Reeves’ success in Fort Worth is he, his leaders, and his congregates admit what others don’t/won’t/can’t:  that this earth isn’t heaven and because of this, our land is crawling with messed up folks who need more genuine love from genuine followers.   We don’t need a program, we need a heart transplant.

The heart of Jesus.

New Life Ministries in in contact with churches every day of the year.  We hear from addicted pastors, healthy pastors...and the addicted and healthy within their walls.  Not a church in America--perhaps in the world -- is immune to the mess a human soul can make.  And no simple small group or niche ministry can solve the problem.  That’s why this book is so important.  It’s not just giving a challenge to all churches everywhere to get real about emotional health leading to spiritual health, it’s giving all leaders everywhere the actual ideas and tools to make their church a REFUGE church;  a place where any screwed up soul (read: everyone) can feel safe, get healing, and then pass it along.

Don’t read this book if you want to start another program or improve the one you have.  Read it if you’d like your church to be a living embodiment of how Christ would create a safe community in your corner of the Kingdom.

Steve Arterburn, Laguna Beach, CA  2008


This is Awesome.  James is a pastor who gets it.  Save them, heal them, and have an amazing, safe, and authentic community.  Dr. Reeves depicts practically a ministry philosophy that is proving successful for this generation of church. His testimony and decades of ministry reflect an authenticity, safety, and dedication to rally and restore Christians and their relationships.  I haven’t read a better guide for pastors for this type of authentic ministry to the broken hearted in my career. This book will bless every leader who reads it.


Douglas Weiss, Ph.D., Executive Director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center.


In Refuge, author and senior pastor Dr. James M. Reeves offers a fresh vision of the church taking its rightful place on the front lines of truly helping people.  As an internet - fueled wave of problems, addictions, and hurts assault communities across North America, the Hospital Church model is what every church is called to become, and what every church needs to become in order to stay effective in its mission of reaching lost people for Christ and helping believers move toward maturity in Christ.