The story behind Refuge Church goes all the way back to 1988 shortly after Neil Kelly began to live for Jesus. It was at that time God first painted a picture in his heart of churches springing up across the state of Michigan, beginning in Kalamazoo. Fast forward to 2005, while he and his wife Christie were serving at a great church, The Rock, in Anaheim, CA enjoying a very fruitful time in ministry. It was there that they received a very clear direction from God to return to Neil’s hometown of Kalamazoo.

Neil and Christie moved in March of 2006 and planted the very first satellite campus of The Rock. For another eight years they loved and served the congregation they had been blessed with. However, in 2013, with the blessing of The Rock and its senior pastors, the Kellys stepped into a new season with a calling to plant a brand new church in Kalamazoo.

While it was difficult to leave the congregation they had come to love so dearly, they began a time of prayer and seeking God for more clarity. They dreamed of a life-giving church that would be a place of safety for God’s people where together a community of believers would commit to lives of Loving God, Loving People, and Loving Life. As the dots began connecting they could see the hand of the Lord in the plans and Refuge Church was born.

Together, with a growing Dream Team of volunteers, Refuge Church has a simple goal in mind: we desire to help people connect with God without letting church structures or programs or legalistic guilt-laden Christianity get in the way. We want to be a church with much laughter and joy, where hurting people are comforted and encouraged…a church where both the power of God and loving friendship is experienced.

Pastor Neil will lead the church to reach out to the non-churched community, build relationships through small groups meeting throughout the area, and equip growing leaders to fulfill their God-Given destiny in helping to influence the world for Jesus.


Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21