It was time to press the reset button.
A Lutheran church on the west side of Las Vegas in the area of Summerlin started back in 1990. After two building projects and quite a few years of numerical growth, the congregation fell on hard times. Families moved away, older members moved on to heaven, and the current pastor moved back East to serve another congregation. That’s when the local mission board stepped in.
Although there weren’t enough members left to support a full-time pastor any longer, the Arizona-California district mission board was convinced that the area was ripe for the harvest and the opportunities to share the gospel were too good to pass up. They worked with the congregation and submitted a request to the Board for Home Missions to “restart” the congregation.
The term “restart” simply means that the congregation needed to press the reset button. There was a small core group of Christians remaining from a well-established church, but the congregation could not go on functioning like it had in the past. It needed a facelift so to speak, a chance to start at the beginning and try it all over again.
The congregation in Summerlin went through a two-year vacancy from mid-2020 until mid-2022. During that time, the core group shrunk even smaller than it was before. In fact, the 20-25 members left began attending Shepherd of the Hills, a sister congregation in Las Vegas led by Pastor Tom Unke who was also the vacancy pastor at the time. The buildings in Summerlin sat empty and the future was questionable.
Now, as this near calendar year begins, there has already been plenty of progress in the right direction. A new pastor accepted the call to restart the church in late summer/early fall. The congregation’s name was changed to Foundation Lutheran Church. Already a website has been produced, social media pages have been constructed, and signs have been installed. The facilities are in the process of being updated, cleaned, fine-tuned, and painted. Most importantly though, contacts are being made, conversations are being had, and relationships are being formed with a number of individuals and families throughout the community, setting the stage for gospel opportunities to come.
For the time being, the core group of Christians is still attending Shepherd of the Hills. A grand reopening is planned for April 2023 when full-time worship services and Bible studies will resume in Summerlin. There is a lot of work still to be done leading up to that launch date, but it is an exciting time for Foundation. The reset button has been pushed. The congregation is financially backed by WELS Home Missions until it can stand on its own two feet again. And this small remnant of Christians is armed with the powerful Word of God as it looks to once again reach as many hearts and minds as possible with the gospel about our Savior.
Written by Rev. Matt Frey, home missionary at Foundation Lutheran Church in Summerlin, Nev.
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