Our Staff & Leadership


John Herring

Lead Pastor

Meet John Herring, Lead Pastor of Refuge Church. He and his wife, Alisha have been involved in church planting for 15 years now and has been in ministry for almost 25 years. In that time, he has had the opportunity to serve in multiple roles within churches including: Student pastor, Children’s Pastor, Missions Pastor, Worship Pastor, Small Groups Pastor, Associate Pastor and Administrative Pastor. He has a background in management and administration from working for many years for a regional retail store. 
John was born in North Little Rock, AR and graduated from Oak Grove High School in 1992. While attending Central Baptist College in Conway, Ar, he surrendered his life to ministry in 1993. In 1997, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible. He married his best friend in 2001. In 2002, she graduated with her Master’s degree from the University of Central Arkansas. She is now a licensed Speech Pathologist and enjoys working with school age kids in the Nixa School District. She is very involved in the ministry of Refuge Church as well. God has blessed John and Alisha with two wonderful kids, Dalton (born 2007) and Macey (born 2011).

A thought from John:

I enjoy reading, starting with the Bible, but also books about theology, leadership, and the Christian life. I enjoy playing games (just about any kind), being outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and writing about whatever there is to write about. I am excited about the plans God has for the future of Refuge Church and how He will use this church body to have a dramatic influence on me and my family.

Matt Barker

Associate Pastor


Meet Matt Barker, Associate Pastor of Refuge Church. He and his wife, Allison have moved to Nixa to serve with Refuge Church. Matt recently graduated from Liberty University with his Master of Arts in Christian Ministry: Church Planting and Evangelism. Matt’s undergraduate degree is in Criminal Justice which he obtained from MSSU in Joplin, MO. Most recently, he served at Oasis Church in Maumelle, Arkansas, as an intern before moving to Nixa. His heart is to reach out and connect with individuals that do not believe that church or Jesus are for them because they do not look or talk a certain way.

Matt was born in Nevada, MO, but moved around a lot as a kid. He graduated from high school in Oklahoma and moved to Missouri. He played football for MSSU as an offensive lineman. He and his wife, Allison, were married in May 2009. Allison also graduated from MSSU and studied biology. They have 2 sons, Calix (born in June 2011) & Chael (born in August 2015).

I like to do anything outdoors and I really enjoy sports. I enjoy listening to Christian Metal, playing sports, fishing (thanks to my wife getting me into it), and spending time with my family. Also, as long as it isn’t raining, snowing, or sleeting, I ride my motorcycle everywhere.

Tyler Tate

Student Pastor


Meet Tyler Tate, Student Pastor of Refuge Church. He and his wife, Jessica moved to Nixa to help start Refuge Church with a focus on building lasting relationships with people, specifically with students. His desire is to see students and their families not only have a relationship with Christ, but have a deep rooted connection with God through discipleship.

Tyler and Jessica are blessed with two wonderful children Nathan and Leah. In his free time, Tyler loves playing softball, disc golf, playing catch, racquetball, and any sport that he can hurt himself doing. He also enjoys playing some Xbox 360 and trying to talk the gamer lingo (unsuccessfully). His greatest fear is to look back at his life and to say “I’ve wasted it.”

More thoughts from Tyler:

  1. The word “Grace”(free and unmerited favor of God) completely fascinates him.
  2. He used to think he had purple blood after losing a fight to his sister (It was a long time ago, promise)
  3. He knows from experience never to put smoldering charcoals in a dumpster filled with tar and roofing equipment in the middle of summer…or the Fire Dept. will have to put out a 6 ft. dumpster fire