One of the main messages that we would like to communicate at our weekend service is our need as a church to bring shalom to the city. What is shalom? The common translation for shalom is the word "peace". However, it’s broader than that. Shalom refers to peace in all areas of one's life.

About Us

The Urban Refuge is located in South Minneapolis, on the corner of 55th and Chicago at 5501 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55417. Get driving directions by Google Maps.

We are a non-denominational Christian church with five locations in the Twin Cities. We are one church with many locations. Learn more about our other locations here.

Childcare is offered for newborn through 5th grade. Learn more about our children's programs.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions

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Meet our Pastors.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is a small group?

Small groups are one of the most vital functions of the church. In small groups people have the chance to meet each other’s needs as they develop relationships. It’s easy to get involved in an Urban Refuge small group. You can visit the information table at the weekend service to pick up a brochure listing open groups or contact the office at 612-33-URBAN. Learn more about small groups.

How do I listen to the messages?

All teachings are recorded and available from our media library. Reviewing past messages reinforces what you’ve already heard and can help you grow in your spiritual life. You can listen while commuting, cleaning, exercising — the possibilities are endless. You can listen to messages online and download them free. 

What is the basis for the teaching at The Urban Refuge?

Our beliefs are based solely on the 66 Old and New Testament books of the Bible. It was uniquely, verbally and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and was written without error in the original manuscripts. It is the supreme and final authority in faith and life in every age. Every teaching you hear at The Rock is founded in this book, the Word of God. Learn more about our beliefs.

Is The Urban affiliated with other churches?

The Urban Refuge is an Evergreen Church. We're just one church with five locations. Learn more about our other locations: Evergreen-Lakeville, Evergreen-New Hope, Evergreen-Bloomington and The Rock.

All five of our locations are a branch of an even larger organization called Great Commission Association. Our pastors and staff are supported by the GCA network as they carry out the "Great Commission" set forth by God in Matthew 28:18-20 which states:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you..."


Pastor Bios


Andy GrayAndy Gray

Andy Gray was an electrical engineer before becoming a pastor in 1997 at the Evergreen Bloomington location. Having grown up in rural Michigan during his younger years, he spent the his college days at Oakland University in the Detroit area. While there, he experienced the joy of meeting people from different backgrounds and ethnicities. In 1999, with a desire to see the church grow more diverse and with a heart for our city, Andy and a team of others launched what is now our annual Mission to the City – a service-oriented mission trip in our own backyard. It was on that first trip that God spoke to him about planting a new church in the city. In 2003 that vision became a reality when The Urban Refuge was launched.

Andy has a relentless passion to see the body of Christ united through breaking down the typical social, economic, and racial barriers that have for so long divided the church as we know it. Through compassion, genuine kindness, and heart for all of God’s people, Andy has led and desires to see God grow the Urban Refuge into an increasingly multi-ethnic that impacts emerging generations. He works hard to develop relationships and partnerships with other multi-ethnic churches in the city believing we can do more together than alone.

His greatest joy and privilege is having been married to Laura since 1992 and being Dad to his three children: Isaiah, Simon, and Lizzie.

Contact Andy



Chad OltmanChad Oltman 

Chad Oltman is most often characterized as an artist which may be a nice way of saying that, at times, he can be a bit odd.

In the early 90’s Chad decided to go look for the meaning of life by traveling across Europe with nothing but his backpack and a guitar. After looking into numerous things throughout Europe, he ended up staying at a Christian Youth Hostile in the heart of the red light district of Amsterdam. There he witnessed Christian missionaries authentically loving the people that nobody else seemed to care about.  Chad was moved by this experience but still skeptical that he had found what he was looking for.  After returning home from his journey there was nagging in his soul that wouldn’t go away.

A couple years after that experience Chad received a flier to attend Evergreen Church in the mail. The nagging returned with a vengeance. Following the pull, he attended the service that next Sunday and that’s when everything changed. While listening to the message he realized that Jesus Christ is the true meaning of life. He put his faith in Yeshua (Jesus) and he entered into the upside kingdom where the greatest will be the servants.

A couple of weeks later, he felt a distinct calling to be a pastor and he began pursuing the character qualities of that title… 15 years later that calling came to be. God has done amazing things and has molded Chad into the man that he is today. Chad got married in 1997 and has been heard to say “I won the lottery of life when I married Carol”. He’s been blessed to have three children whose names are Cayden, Cora and Cohen. He believes parenting may be the best seminary training of all. 

In 2006 he felt called to learn about Jesus in His context. He traveled to Israel 3 times following that leading which has ignited a passion for the Word and its many treasures. God has grown Chad in ministry by allowing him to be a part of planting two churches in the Minneapolis area: The Rock and The Urban Refuge. In 2003 Chad was brought on full time as a music director. In 2007 he began speaking on a regular basis and in January 2009 he was raised up as a Pastor. 

As a pastor, Chad’s main responsibilities include: Teaching, worship director, counseling and overseeing the Fill Their Plate program which was started in March 2008. Chad has deep passion for serving Christ by being a part of reweaving what has been unwoven in the world.

Contact Chad






5501 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55417

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