Writer / Matt Keating
Photographer / Ryan Woodall
NSPIRE Church in Westfield has its doors open wide to welcome new faces.
“We like to say that NSPIRE is the perfect church for imperfect people,” says Brad Ruggles, formation pastor for NSPIRE Church. “We’re all just every day broken people trying to figure out our faith journey together. One of our volunteers recently painted a large mural in our lobby with wording that has become a mantra for us here: ‘You belong here.’ Everyone is welcome at NSPIRE, no matter who they are, or what their church background is.”
Engagement Pastor Matt Gaylor agrees with Ruggles.
“We like to say that you can belong before you believe,” Gaylor says. “In a world that has become increasingly polarized, we choose to be known more for what we’re for than what we’re against.”
Ruggles noted that they chose the name NSPIRE because it fits their mission.
“The word comes from the Latin inspirare, which means ‘to breathe into,’” Ruggles says. “We exist to breathe life into our city. We do that through fun community events like the Westfield Easter Egg Drop (now in its eighth year), or Movies In the Park, which we put on every summer in partnership with the City of Westfield.”
NSPIRE has a unique backstory.
“The church that exists today started out as two Westfield church plants — Imagine Church and CitySpring Church, both of whom were portable for more than six years,” Ruggles says.
Gaylor and Ruggles knew each other from working alongside one another in Westfield. The two churches shared a similar mission for actively serving in the community.
“What started out as a joint Christmas service in 2015 turned into combined series in the summer of 2016, until both churches realized that things were just clicking,” Ruggles says.
Gaylor saw the same positive path.
“We believed two things: we were better together than we were on our own and we could go further faster,” Gaylor says. “Both of those things have proven to be true.”
Both churches voted to merge together and on August 28 formed what is now known as NSPIRE Church. Ruggles and Gaylor became co-pastors, equally sharing the vision and weekly messages, but both with individual areas of oversight.
Ruggles says that he is the Engagement Pastor, and “helps people get plugged in through volunteering and challenges our church to remain engaged in the community through service projects. Brad is the Formation Pastor and oversees groups and practices to help people grow on their faith journey.”
NSPIRE got its start as a portable church meeting in Oak Trace Elementary and other schools in Westfield.
“Every week, we rolled everything out of a trailer and set up what we needed for service only to pack it back in the trailer when we were done,” Ruggles says. “So can you imagine how excited we are to finally have our very own building.”
NSPIRE’s dedicated volunteers renovated an abandoned lumber yard over the course of 11 months.
“To say it was rough would be an understatement,” Ruggles says. “The building had no plumbing or heat and next to no electrical wiring. It was also home to a family of raccoons (that were lovingly relocated) and had holes in the walls.”
NSPIRE members worked hard to make everything a reality.
“Our people rallied behind the idea that, in keeping with our name, we could breathe new life into this dead space,” Ruggles says. “Other than the commercial elements like electrical and HVAC, everything else was renovated with volunteer labor. Thanks to the thousands of hours of work by our dedicated volunteers and through donated items like commercial doors or windows, we were able to transform this derelict lumber yard into a functional space for our church.”
New possibilities for the church have also became a reality.
“We are trying to rethink what a church can do in a community,” Ruggles says. “We consider every resource that we possess as an opportunity to make a positive impact in our community. This is how things like the Easter Egg Drop and Westfield Movies in the Park were born.”
Some of the things NSPIRE does aren’t typical church events.
“We have a unique men’s group called ‘Brew Theology,’where guys get together once a month to brew craft beer with our resident brewmaster,” Ruggles says. “While the beer is brewing, we engage in lively discussions about God, faith and life. Jesus turned water into wine. We add grain and yeast and turn ours into craft beer.”
Ruggles adds that “though we have only been in our new space for a few months, we are already dreaming of ways to leverage it to make a big difference in our city. We think the best is yet to come.”
“This fall has been a blast as we’ve seen many young families come through our doors and connect with us,” Gaylor says. “Our building helps us communicate what we are trying to do with everything we have been blessed with at NSPIRE.”
NSPIRE Church is located at 18097 Sun Park Drive in Westfield. You can also visit them online at nspire.church.
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