“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” Acts 5:42
Hard Lessons Learned, would be a great title to a book full of my life stories. God has blessed in so many ways and done so man great things for my life, yet I seem to get in the way and have to learn the hard way. It is then, during those hard lessons…that I learn.
This blog is going to a weekly journal of my confessions, thoughts, musings and reflections. The purpose of this site is to show you how Big God is and can be in your life, if you will but simply get out of the way. Over starbucks the other day, a good friend of mine told me that I have to start posting these stories to help others…so here it goes.
I want this site to help your ministry, I have made so many mistakes as a Preacher that I should be selling trucks or working on a farm picking up cow dung instead of preaching. But God has been gracious to me and allowed me to replant and restart a dying church in the worst city economically in the midwest – Detroit.
As a young, white & poor pastor in a giant multi-culteral & multi-diverse city with millions of people who love Eminem and who desperately need Jesus, my life has been changed. I am no longer the person I once was. Pastoring in a black/white, 70/30 community, reaching beyond stereotypes and defying the odds is common place here. When I came to Detroit, I was full of energy and ready to storm every house with gospel tracts, screaming at the top of lungs that Jesus Saves…I can tell you three years removed from that cold March morning in 2008 that the dream is still alive, and my throat is sore.
Today as I type this blog out on my macbook, the dream is alive. The church is growing, the church is out of debt, the replant is a success, the building is up for sale and we are looking to grow! Multi-campus is the buzz for the next year as we press on. We have people driving from Canton, Detroit, Farmington, Southfield, Redford and beyond. Last Sunday’s sermon was viewed by 60 people in house, via livestream over 400 people and our video and audio podcast was downloaded 516 times as of today. We have 75 members that call this place home. God has blessed us with big days reaching 93 and brought us from just a handful of people (5 literally).
While offerings are terrible ($37 two weeks ago for a whole weeks offerings) we are seeing people saved & baptized left and right. Our church is made up of young first generation Christians. I have an usher who is a rapper in the hip-hop industry who just accepted Christ a year ago, his wife is a tattoo artist who just painted a gorgeous mural of Noah’s ark in our church nursery (I was privileged to see them saved. then married, & baptized & now discipled). My guitarist that plays with me on Sunday has more tattoos than the NY Times has ink on a newspaper. My church has more young problematic child-Christians than I have hairs left on my head…and ya know what – I love em and they love Jesus!
In saying all this I do not mean to be boasting of me, rather boasting of Jesus. He can take people that would never go to church and weren’t looking for God and turn them into vessels for God. God is good even though our church has lost so many people to job losses – I get nauseous thinking about it. There was a point a year ago that felt like strangling someone or anything because the Devil works so hard to stop a good thing. We work so hard to see families turn around for God then a job offer comes from Missouri, or NY or even Flint. When people leave your city to get jobs in Flint…your at the bottom.
The Lord burdened me to start a church for people that are the outcast. We are not your daddy’s church and definitely not his daddy’s church. From the outside looking in its pretty different and might even seem dirty, it’s not. From where I sit…its amazing grace that because of one tract I gave a woman in 2008, 13 people sit in church each Sunday, each one saved by the grace of God. Amazing that a crack addict can get saved and be an usher, Amazing that a tattoo artist can witness to her co-workers and they come to church and they get saved and their friends come and their friends get saved…I can’t wait for their friends to show up! It’s amazing that God can take pot smokers and turn them into nursery workers and that God can take RAVE dancers and turn them into worship singers!
Its amazing to me how God works, I don’t know how God is going to pay the bills next month…but He always has. I don’t always understand the why or the how, but I know Him. Detroit is dirty. Detroit is wicked. Detroit just needs more of Jesus. If I shared with you my heart for Detroit, this would be an even longer post than it is already, quite simply…God has started something here. Don’t blink.
I pray that as you read these post, these confessions…you’ll laugh, cry, pray and see God bigger than ever!
let the redeemed speak louder,