I remembering praying to God and telling Him that if anyone else knocked on my door…I would be seeing Him real soon. We live where the people live, this is very important to understand and to comprehend my philosophy as a missional pastor. As a young pastor in West Detroit, I didn’t want people coming to my house and seeing a mansion, but rather a modest house where their Pastor lives. I’m not against fancy houses, I would love one…but in Detroit, arrogance and snobbyness are synonyms for pastors unfortunately. So when Keiki & I were looking for housing in 2009, we prayed and asked God to give us a nice place to live but where the people were that we were ministering to. After looking here and looking there, God gave us a great place to live, one block away from Five Points. We are smack in the middle. To our east is abandoned houses and to the west is the better side of Detroit. Little did I know, that my house would be marked as Preacher’s House. For as long as we have lived in this house, there has not gone a single week where at least 2-3 people come knocking on my door looking for some kind of help at all hours of the night and day. Don’t get me wrong, at first it was a great opportunity to help others but after 5-6 nights a week of drunks or prostitutes banging on your front door asking for help…well, I thought I was about to lose my mind.
I remember the night clearly, my boy is asleep in bed and so is my wife. I hear the door being banged by what seemed to be either a rhino or a sledgehammer. It’s 1:20am, all is asleep except whoever is on my front porch. I answer the door and proceed to talk to and invite in a man in need of some help. He’s drunk. He’s alone. He needs Jesus. And someone at the corner pub told him to go to Preacher’s house. He sits on my sofa. I open my Bible and start up a pot of coffee. After 2 pots and a long pause, he falls asleep on my sofa…more like he passes out. I let him rest for awhile and then wake him up and drive him home. The whole ride home he just cries. After several hours with me, and now completely sober, he leans over and tells me “thank you, I need help.”
The next morning a sober, adult man sits in my office and bows his head and accepts Christ as His Saviour. His wife and oldest teenage boy also accept Christ that morning. There were setbacks to come and growing pains he is still struggling with, but he had made the first step to recovery – Jesus. A few days later I noticed that my neighbors house had been firebombed. A gang had come by and lit a fourty and threw it at the front window. It missed the window but took out the front door. The fire department came and took care of it, but little did I know that should have been my house. A friend of the man I had led to Christ had a falling out with some peers in a rival gang. All they knew is someone on that street had turned their friend from bad guy to good guy. The gang mistakenly attacked my neighbors house for mine.
I recall all this happening, I can remember walking outside and smelling the burning wood. I can still go to my own front porch on any given morning and see cigarettes and empty beer bottles…not from me, but from people late at night who want to talk. It was then, as I cleaned up bottles and cigarette butts, that my prayer changed. I prayed now for more people to come to my house, for God to protect my family, and for more people to find Jesus at Preacher’s house. Just this past New Years Eve, I led my neighbor to Christ whom I had witnessed to for two years. I wonder who God is sending to knock on my door tonight…
let the redeemed speak louder,