Address: 6420 Albemarle Road, Charlotte, NC 28212
Pastor’s name: Overseer Kenneth Yelverton
Services: Sunday early service 7:30 a.m., Morning manna 9:30 a.m., Morning worship 11:00 a.m. second worship service; Tuesday Intercessory prayer 6:30 p.m., Bible study 7:30 p.m.; Friday Intercessory prayer 6 p.m.
What makes this church unique?
What makes the Temple of Refuge unique is the fact that we are a kingdom church. And what I mean by kingdom church is that we ascribe to the principles of what I believe what God’s original intent was for the church and that is to solely be his representation in the earth and so we stress that through the Word, whether its taught, preached, sung, whatever, that God wants us to get back to what his original purpose was for the church, helping people to understand that they are to be kingdom citizens, meaning that they are to be in rule-ship. Now that principle, of course, comes from Genesis, where in the beginning when God creates man, the bible says specifically that he told Adam to take dominion, to have authority and rule-ship over the earth, that man was simply an ambassador, one who was representing God and the earth with that dominion, with that authority, with that power, and we try to stress that here in this ministry, and I think that’s one of the things that makes us unique is that we try to stay focused on that point, that we’re a kingdom church and that we’re to be in rule-ship and we share that and teach that across the board with the membership.
What is the church’s vision?
The vision of Temple of Refuge, and I don’t necessary call it a vision, I call it ministry-culture, simply meaning, what is our way of ministry, what is the way of life in this church, and what is this ministry about in a nutshell in a phrase. It’s a community-based ministry, but its main emphasis is to make an impact for the kingdom on the behalf of God. That everything about what we do is how can we impact the world. And our culture is in what way can we impact the world for the kingdom of God and how can we do that? The how leads to perhaps some of the specific things that we are doing, some of the things that’s in place, some of the things that we’re looking to do as it relates to pushing that forward. When we talk about vision or ministry culture, it is how can we impact the world for the kingdom? If we are a kingdom church and if we are in the earth as God’s representation, then how do we show forth that? We do that by making an impact in the world for God and for the kingdom.
What the church’s beliefs?
We believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, meaning that we believe that the bible is without error. When we say that the bible is without error, of course, there are errors in transliteration, from one language to another, but the overall context and the content in which the bible was written, we believe, is without error. And we preach that and we stress that and we teach that that there is no error in what God is saying to his people through his word. When we understand that the bible is without error then we understand that the bible is our roadmap, that’s our manual. When we want to know how to live, we go to the bible, when we want to know what we should do in whatever situation, we go to God’s word, because in God’s word, there’s answers to every situation. I don’t care what a person is going through and what they’re dealing with, I don’t care what ills in society are facing, God’s word has an answer for everything. So as far as what we believe, what does God’s word say and we stick to that. We say what does God’s word say and in particular in the context in which he said it so that we can get a greater understanding of what God is saying. In other words, whatever God’s word said, what was the environment or conditions that surrounded what was said so then we can put it in the proper context for the 21st century and that’s sort of is the rule for everything. Now of course we believe in the water baptism and we observe the holy ordinance and the Holy Communion and the baptism. We believe in the power of the Holy Ghost and the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit. We believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, we believe in his coming bodily and dwelling among men. We believe his death, his burial, his resurrection; we believe it was a bodily resurrection. We believe in his ascension, we believe that he is presently at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us. We believe that he’s coming again, we believe in the rapture, we believe in Christ coming back to judge the earth. So all of the principle standard doctrines that come forth from the bible, we believe those, but instead of pinpointing specific doctrines and say this is what we believe, to lessen man’s infiltration into what God is saying, we go to the Word because when you begin to put man into what God is saying from a doctrinal perspective, that’s when you have problems. That’s how denominations got started. Denominations started because of arguments of, “this is what my interpretation,” and “this is what I believe it says”. When we go strictly to what is God is saying and what is He saying in the context in which he said, there’s no argument and that’s sort of where we are as it relates to what we believe. We go straight to the word of God.
What type of ministries and programs are offered?
We have over 22 viable ministries here at the church. Ministries that touch every age range and age group, ministries that touch every aspect of, I believe, the stages of life. There is singles ministry, there is marriage ministry, there is children’s ministry, there is youth ministry, there is church without walls, which is probably one of our more active ministries. “Church without walls” is our outreach ministry, what we do everything as it relates to our outreach comes through the “church without walls ministry”. We do quite a bit of outreach whether its going to the shelter to volunteer our time, whether it’s working Thanksgiving, serving food to the homeless to the less fortunate, whether it’s our own food pantry and clothing closet and all the things that we do to service the community and those who are less fortunate we do that through Church without walls. We do every year several what we call “explosions” where we just basically take church outside and we’ll identify a park or parking lot or whatever and set up stage and we’ll have dancing and singing. We’ll have different things set up; different stations where we have the health station, where our church nurses check blood pressure, offer free screening and all that stuff. We have of course the salvation station where we can lead others to Christ, and we give away free bibles. Of course we have the food station and people come and we serve food right outside and then we have clothes station where people come and they pick out clothes. If they need anything to wear. We have another food station where they give out bags of groceries; we do that quite often in the community. Course, music ministries, we have another ministry called HOPE which simply means helping other people excel. And HOPE goes about and does various things whether it’s helping some of the young people, teenage pregnancy, teenage mothers, going to some of the shelters and doing different things like that. So there’s quite a bite of activity that takes place around the church. We try, once again, everything we do as a ministry, goes back to ministry culture, so everything is kingdom. What can I do to impact the world? What can I do to bless somebody else? What can I do to help? That’s sort of the whole concept of why this ministry even exists. We planted this ministry 10 years ago, my wife and I and my daughter. So this was a ministry that we started from ground up. No outside support, no outside support financially, no outside support in physical bodies, just me and my wife and my daughter. And it started as a refuge, that’s where the name came from, and that’s what it is now and that’s what it’s always going to be. We try to offer a place of rest and refuge for God’s people to be healed from what they’ve been broken by the ills of society, now let’s get your life together, let’s get you on your feet, let’s go get ‘em, because there’s more that God has in store for your life, and once you get yourself together, you really understand that, then your mindset is how can I impact somebody else’s life and that’s kingdom, how can I bless somebody else. All of our ministries operate on that wise: what can we do to be a blessing to really help people.
What are the greatest strengths of the church?
It’s hard to pinpoint what I believe are the greatest because there are so many great things about what God is doing in this ministry. One thing that I love bout our ministry is its liberty that we have in worship. We come here on purpose, we gather corporately all for the purpose of worship and I say that to simply say, in other words, the emphasis is not on time, the emphasis is on spending as much time and however long it is in God’s presence and I believe as a result of that, we have powerful worship in this place. I can say we have an incredible worship experience when we come together. That’s one of the greatest strengths. Another I would have to say is the camaraderie, or in Greek the word simply means “genuine fellowship” it means fellowship that is centered in Jesus Christ, not fellowship that is centered in personality, the fellowship that is centered in Jesus Christ. So we deal with each other and we fellowship with one another because of who He is, not because of who each other is and with that in mind, I think that’s one of our greatest strengths, that we have some genuine fellowship, that people deal with one another and fellowship and relationships are fostered, not because of who you are, not because of what position you may hold in this society, there’s no classism, we have genuine fellowship because who Christ is. There’s no big I’s or little you’s, that everybody is together and everybody is one, nobody is treated differently. Everybody is made to feel loved and feel respected and that comes from that genuine fellowship. Temple of Refuge is a praying church. We spend a considerable amount of time in prayer and I know that’s one of our strengths as well. I think another strength we have is that we don’t pull any punches; we’re straight forward, we’re hones, we are real, we’re gonna be real about issues, problems. Dilemmas, we’re gonna be real, we’re not gonna sugar coat it or hold it back or make it easy. I say to the people some of the time, when I say something things, the expression on their face, I say often, if I don’t offend you, I’m not doing my job. My job is to offend you; my job is to make you uncomfortable. I don’t want you to be here and be comfortable, I want to always offend you, because when you are offended, it challenges you to be better, it challenges to go beyond where you are, for a lot of people that is just complacency. Church by and large has become habit. People come out of habit, but it’s more to it than just that. Sunday is simply a time of gathering to celebrate the goodness that God has given us throughout the course of the week which means that my life and my lifestyle Monday through Saturday is important. I just don’t clean up on Sunday for the purpose of coming to church so that I can fulfill my religious duty. We really try to foster an environment of being transparent and deal with some real issues and in doing that, sometimes you may be offended, but that offense is good because it’s going to help you to not become comfortable and complacent. We’re going to be real, we’re going to be honest and we’re going to give it to you straight.
How do you foster spiritual growth for individuals in the church?
Of course the participation in ministry the Sunday services. More importantly, for me, I enjoy our Tuesday night bible studies. Sundays are good, but Tuesday nights are when we can really get into the word of the Lord, and I believe that a good portion of our congregants who are growing and maturing are as a result of Tuesday night bible studies and so that’s one of the things that we try to stress is the Tuesday night bible studies. Also we do, from time to time, we do group discussion where we break out in small group ministry where people have an opportunity to share with one another, to dialogue amongst themselves because in that way, others are able to share and others are able to grow in those smaller groups, they’re able to be more intimate and share more personal things that they’ve gone through and experience, and it’s those times that help to strengthen them and cause them to grow individually when they’re in those groups and in those settings. Through our education ministry, we do quite a bit of small group involvement, identifying a book that the whole church, a church-wide study, we have a book that the whole church will read and we’ll break out in groups and discuss a chapter per night. We share and openly conversate about those things. There are many things, but I believe that those things are key to help people with their spiritual growth. We have times for intercessory prayer and we stress the attendees and the participation in intercessory prayer time corporally in particular in hopes that it will cause people to take that to their homes for their private devotion, their private intercession. Then we have times, it’s sort of old school, I believe in time set aside for all night prayer where we open the church and people come and we stay all night in prayer and supplication to God and I believe in fasting. There are times that we allot for corporate time of fasting and all these things are biblical and they also help the people to grow spiritually. You just can’t grow spiritually just coming to church on Sunday morning; coming to church Sunday religiously is good, but there has to be more than that and that has to be pursued for the face of God. That’s one of the things we really stress around here that you really seek God and seek his presence. Your private and personal devotion is more important than your participation in corporate worship because if you have private and personal devotion in worship, when you come on Sunday, it’s no problem for you to get into corporate worship because you’ve been doing it all week long and so we do those things to help people to grow spiritually, not to mention their involvement in other aspects of ministry. When they’re involved, when they’re volunteering their time, when they’re giving of their time, helping in certain areas of ministry, helping to support other areas in the ministry that are helping people, they are beginning to see that this is God at work through me and not just coming to church listening to the word. I just can’t hear it I gotta do something with what I just received. We try to help people make that transition from what I do on Sunday to how I live through the course of the week.