Calvary Lutheran Church is a thriving 2,000-plus-member congregation in Alexandria, a rural community in northwestern Minnesota. With a clarity of mission and bold leadership, Calvary has doubled in worship attendance over the past seven years, despite being planted in an endangered rural ecosystem where far too many churches and ministry leaders are isolated, stretched thin, and ill-prepared to meet the unique challenges of rural ministry today. Our current COVID-19 crisis only accelerates and exacerbates the stresses placed on rural congregations and leaders, and it widens the rural/urban divide. The Prairie Restoration Project was built on the belief that the transformation needed to help rural churches thrive must start and end at the congregational level. The project seeks to create a model for restoring thriving ministry in rural churches by creating a network of congregations who partner to become vibrant centers of ministry. Through this network, rural congregational leadership teams cultivate clarity in their changing context, values, and mission; identify the core ministry practices needed for vitality; and harvest the tools required to adapt to ministry today. The Prairie Restoration Project leverages a grassroots network of partnerships to reestablish the transformative role of churches in rural communities throughout northwestern Minnesota.
Prairie Restoration Project