“God had all this planned out long before we knew we were a part of it,
but then the stories intersected.”
– Lance Ratze, Lead Pastor
What you see today as The Well started in early 2001, when God called a group of longtime friends to share his love and do church differently. After extensive prayer, numerous visits, and thorough research, they sensed God sending them to Madison, WI.
The 800-mile caravan included 18 people on their way to obey God and plant a church. The first public meetings began in October 2001 as a weekly Bible study called Coffee Talk. Then they launched the first Sunday service as Metro Believers Church (MBC) on Easter of 2002, while meeting at the Town of Middleton Town Hall. They quickly outgrew the space, and an amazing series of conversations and answers to prayer led to MBC settling in as a “marketplace church” in the gym at the westside Princeton Club in April of 2004.
There was a fair amount of work every week to set up and tear down the stage, sound equipment, chairs, and more, but the excitement was palpable. Under the leadership of Pastors Glenn and Vickie Smith, with their 25 years of ministry experience, MBC became a vibrant community of believers passionately dedicated to following Jesus and doing life together.
Nearby the Princeton Club, Lance and Lisa Ratze, who had come to the Madison area as part of a different church plant, became the owners of Yola’s Cafe in winter of 2009. Lance saw the signage for MBC and started meeting people who called the church their home; eventually, he began attending with his family. A few years later, in 2012, he was invited to be on the teaching team, and Lisa, who had a background in childhood development, began leading the children’s ministry. In 2013, they were invited to be on staff as the Family Life Pastors.
Fast forward to early 2020. That’s when Glenn and Vickie felt a call to start a new venture in Colorado Springs, CO: Shepherd to Shepherd, a respite for pastors. Glenn sensed that the next pastor for MBC would come from the congregation, and because Lance had been working with church leaders for years, there was a beautiful transition as he stepped into the role. On August 11, 2020, a unanimous vote during a rooftop service confirmed Lance’s leadership, and Glenn officially passed the baton on December 6 of that year.
Only a month later, God placed in Lance’s heart the vision for a new location and the beginning of a new chapter in the church’s story. He signed the lease for 575 D’Onofrio Drive in October of 2021, and the celebratory grand opening service took place later that month, even before renovations were complete. As part of this transition, on September 11, 2022, a new name was introduced: The Well Church.
Wells in Bible times were not just a place to find water; they were also community gathering places. Many divine appointments took place at a well. They appeared as random coincidences, but the Holy Spirit was connecting people and orchestrating events. The best-known example is in John chapter four, when Jesus passes through Samaria, stops at a popular well, and interacts with a woman who was a social outcast. Jesus reaches across cultural barriers and captures her attention by treating her with dignity and engaging her in conversation. He says that whoever drinks of his living water will “never thirst.”
We are like that woman: messy at times and empty, desperately in need of the one who is waiting for us at the well. Once we receive what only he can give, we can’t help but run to bring others to meet him.
We’d love for you to join us at The Well!