Inspiration Lutheran Brethren Church is nestled on the edge of Breckenridge, Minnesota, just across the river from Wahpeton, North Dakota. Both towns form a community filled with industry, which is surrounded by farmland. For over 50 years Inspiration Church has found their identity amid this hard-working, God-fearing culture. Yes, this is reflective of many other communities in the Midwest and certainly many CLB churches could say the same of their communities. But just as with your community, something about Breckenridge/Wahpeton makes us unique. That something is that other than the local family farmers, many people move here to work, yet retire elsewhere. This causes an ebb and flow in the town’s population, which directly affects Inspiration. For most of the 50 years of Inspiration Church there has been a consistent group of leaders who stuck with the church through good times and tough times. However, most of these have now moved away in retirement and we find ourselves a younger church in a cycle to revitalize ourselves in a community that has not changed as much as we have.

Revitalization is a process most churches will attempt as an effort to bring life back into a congregation that seems on the path to fading away. Revitalization at Inspiration looks much different. Inspiration is filled with many young families who love Jesus and want to build their families in Christ-centered living. Doesn’t that seem healthy? So why revitalize? As I began serving here at Inspiration in 2020, our church celebrated its 50th anniversary. Looking at the history of Inspiration it was clear to see that there was a group of charter members who had a mission to bring Christ to a couple of towns which found their identity in what they did, rather than in the God who loves them. Now, while the industry in the towns has not changed, our people have. Yet the current generation has this in common with the charter members of Inspiration: a heart for mission, to bring Christ to these towns on the industrial work floor.

Over the past year Inspiration Church and the new generation of leaders have had the privilege to work alongside Pastor Nick Mundis from CLB North American Mission. We are together setting a pace to bring revitalization to the mission of Inspiration Church with today’s generation of “the called in Christ.” Revitalization in our church might look different from what is typical, but we still go back to our missional roots of 50 years ago. With the same mission intentionality to love our neighbor, whom we work alongside, this generation will reach this community in the name of Jesus. The revitalization of Inspiration Church means we make vital once again the mission that caused the first members to plant this church: to be representatives of Christ’s love to a community of hard-working families.

No matter where your church is planted, no matter what your church’s current health status, has your church considered revitalization?

Rev. Tim Collins is Pastor of Inspiration Lutheran Brethren Church in Breckenridge, Minnesota.

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