Rejoice With Family of God in Detroit!3 min read

Rejoice with Family of God (FOG) as they move into a new ministry center at 7354 Whittaker in Detroit, Mich. For them, this is a miracle two years in the making. Fourteen congregations from the Detroit Metro area, large and small, along with individual members, came together and donated the entire cost of the building, allowing FOG to purchase it on January 15, 2016, free and clear. There is even enough money to make a couple of repairs and a few upgrades.

Family of God has been operating under space constraints for over ten years. It maximized the potential of its ‘little church on the corner’ by opening six days a week. On a typical day, 80-90 people gather for a meal and Bible study. With less than 40 potential seats at the table, it was difficult to invite new people to stay. Sunday worship was standing room only. There were other constraints: its youth group was without a place to meet, Sunday school could not be separated from gathering adults, there was no quiet place for counseling, and there was only a single bathroom to meet everyone’s needs.

For two years, FOG had been trying to find a new home to no avail. Buildings on the market in Southwest Detroit are often stripped and damaged. This is particularly true for church buildings. Frustrated, but faithful in prayer, FOG continued to minister to the best of their ability. The adage “our time is not His time” was proving itself out. What they didn’t know was that the Lord was solving another problem first.

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One constraint was the three-congregation call of their pastor. Lack of a full-time pastor also needed resolution. A year ago, the Michigan District, who has provided an annual subsidy to FOG, proposed to resolve this by asking one of the congregations already active at Family of God to consider calling Rev. James Hill and deploying him full-time at Family of God. Christ Our Savior (COS)  in Livonia, Mich. stepped into that gap. “I’m grateful for the great leadership of Pastor Davenport and the courageous mission mindset of the Christ Our Savior congregation. Such a cooperative ministry plan is a great model for others to follow,” says Rev. Dr. Rob Kasper, Michigan District’s Assistant to the President – Congregation Mission and Ministries, Metro Zone.

Within six months, they went through the call process and installed Rev. Hill in August of 2015. Almost simultaneously, FOG learned that the South West Presbyterian Church building, closed for several years, was about to go on the market. A quick inspection surprised them with a fully functional facility, able to be used ‘as is.’ The Presbytery of Detroit had questions about a storefront ministry stepping up and paying for or mortgaging the site, but the price offered was quite attractive and below market value. That’s where God’s plan was superior to ours.

COS stepped up, and the congregation led the effort to call other congregations to help. Rather quickly, in about 30 days, commitments in excess of the cost were made. In 60 days, the funds were almost all in hand. The Michigan District Church Extension Fund also partnered, providing a grant of $25,000. According to LCEF President and CEO Ron Steinke, “Church Extension was founded 115 years ago with the primary intent of funding the construction of new mission church buildings. As the Fund has been blessed with the financial resources to help not only build, but help build-up ministries, it seemed appropriate to provide a grant to Family of God to acquire a facility for this unique outreach ministry.”

On Saturday, January 23, 2016, all are welcome to join teams of folks from a wide range of Christian communities, including students from University Lutheran Chapel and Concordia University Ann Arbor. They will be gathering to renovate the building to prepare for the Grand Opening taking place on February 21, 2016 at 3 p.m. Come and see what God has done!

Photo courtesy of Family of God, Detroit

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This blog was published by the Communications Department of the Michigan District, LCMS.

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