our distinctives

    Refuge Church San Luis Obispo is part of the Calvary Chapel Movement. In our movement we value the teaching of the Word, and possess an open heart to the work of the Holy Spirit. This balance makes Calvary Chapel a distinct and uniquely blessed movement of God. And so, it's important to understand the Biblical principles that explain why God has allowed us to exist and grow. 

    God’s Model for the Church

    We look to the book of Acts as the model for the church. It is a church filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Holy Spirit, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. And the four basic functions of the early church, which we desire in our fellowship, are found in Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

    Church Government

    We believe that the church government should be simplistic rather than a complex bureaucracy, and we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead, rather than on fleshly promotion. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Head over the body of the church. It’s His church. He’s the One in charge. Jesus being the “Shepherd” (John 10:11) the Lead Pastor is a “Under-Shepherd” ruled by the Lord and recognized by the congregation as God’s anointed instrument to lead the church, and aided by the Elders to discover the mind and will of Jesus Christ for His church.

    Empowered by the Spirit

    We believe that there is an experience of the empowering of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer that is distinct and separate from the indwelling of the Spirit that takes place at conversion. We acknowledge a three–fold relationship between the Holy Spirit and the believer: “para” – coming alongside; “en” – in you; and “epi” – an overflow. We see that the Holy Spirit is with us drawing hearts to Christ and then taking up residence within a person's heart through salvation (John 14:16-17). We also believe the Holy Spirit comes upon us (epi) and fills us to make us witnesses. And this is scene through the constant filling of the Spirit in the book of Acts (Acts 1:4-8; Acts 4:31).

    Building the Church God’s Way

    At Refuge, we have a relaxed, casual style. We don’t get involved in a lot of spiritual hype. We don’t try to motivate people carnally,. We simply trust in the work of the Holy Spirit, and of Jesus Christ who is building His church as He said He would.

    Grace Upon Grace

    We realize that without the grace of God, none of us would have a chance. We need the grace of God in our lives daily. We believe in the love and grace that seeks to restore the fallen.

    The Priority of the Word

    We endeavor to declare to people the whole counsel of God. The teaching ministry of Refuge is expositional (verse by verse/chapter by chapter) in nature. We read the word, give the sense of the word and cause people to understand the meaning of the word.

    The Centrality of Jesus Christ

    Another characteristic of Refuge is the centrality of Jesus in our worship. We don’t allow any practice or behavior during our services that would distract people from focusing on Him.

    The Rapture of the Church

    We believe that Jesus Christ will come for His church (a biblical event known as the "Rapture"). Then a seven-year period which the Bible calls, "The Great Tribulation" will begin, followed by the Second Coming of Jesus to the earth and the Millennial (1,000 year) reign of Christ upon the earth.

    Having Begun in the Spirit

    It was the Lord who said to Zechariah, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6). We do not trust in the flesh to continue or make better something that only God and His Holy Spirit can do. 

    The Supremacy of Love

    Godly Christian love needs to permeate all that we do. Jesus said to His disciples, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35)

    Striking the Balance

    While we have our Biblical convictions and it is our desire not to divide God’s people over non-essential issues. When the Bible speaks clearly, we must as well. But on other issues, we try to recognize the spiritual validity of both sides of the debate and avoid excluding or favoring those on one side or the other.

    Ventures of Faith

    We believe that walking with God will always require steps of faith. It's always an exciting thing to give God a chance to work. The writer of Hebrews said, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). 

    what is ouR culture like at refuge?

    He must increase and I must decrease (John 3:30).There is none like Him. Because of what Jesus has done for us, we express our love to Him regularly through prayer, worship and service.


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    what sets apart Calvary Chapel from other evangelical Christian churches.

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