Michigan District, LCMS Video Journalist Jeff Heisner interviewed Nick Gapski, Vicar at Family of God, Detroit. Below is the transcription of the interview, which you can watch here:
Q: How do you describe your experience at Family of God in Detroit?
A: It’s hard to describe it, really. It’s been incredible. It’s been life changing. Finally having the opportunity to, like pastor Hill said, truly be the hands and feet of Christ and serve this community has been incredible and really it builds and strengthens your faith in a way that you wouldn’t have imagined.
Q: What will you take away from your time at Family of God in Detroit?
A: Everything that’s happened here has been awesome—really learning what it means to be not just a hearer of the Word, but also a doer of the Word and what that looks like. Even if some days you don’t feel like it, or some days you’re not feeling the best, you still come down and you are still being a doer of the Word, it’s just learning what that means and how to do that. That’s going to stick with me.
Q: How have you changed?
A: It’s going to be difficult for me to go back. Definitely now that I’ve had a taste of real life ministry, not just sitting in the classroom talking about it, it’s going to be difficult, but I’m definitely going to be able to go back with the perspective of, I see what is truly important when you’re out in the field helping, loving people and be able to go through classes and try and learn more and be able to use more things that I can use in the future, when I get a call.
Q: What do you do daily at Family of God in Detroit?
A: Pastor Hill has talked a lot about just the ministry of presence. And I think that’s a lot of what we do on a day-to-day basis: just being down here and just being with these people here, being part of the community. The church is called family of God, and it really does feel like a family because we are so immersed and you see the same people every single day, and you’re hanging out with them three, four hours a day. And then we also will be, you know, leading Bible studies after dinner. And so you are just totally immersed in the Word, whether I’m leading it or listening to someone else leading it. We have worship on Sundays. I am involved with helping to do a kid’s Bible study on Monday nights. When there’s adult Bible study up here, I take them downstairs and do a kid’s level Bible study. And we eat dinner together. Sharing a table with people, eating with one another, that really does build relationships more than you would imagine.
Q: What did you expect when you were called to Family of God in Detroit?
A: I didn’t know what I was getting into when I got here. And everything’s been a surprise, but in a good way—just to see the vibrant community and to see Christ’s love lived out here has just been an awesome surprise. Some days it’s really hard—you see people suffering and you’re so close to them that you feel their suffering. You feel their burden that they’re bearing, even though you’re not bearing it personally yourself, but you feel for these people. But there’s also great joy and happiness when things are going well for people. Some days it’s a struggle. Some days it’s a lot easier, but it’s a wide range every day.
Q: What would you tell someone who is thinking about going into inner-city ministry?
A: Just go for it. There’s a lot of excuses you can use to not do this. There’s a lot of fears. There’s a lot of, you know, doubts or worries, but all I can say is just, just go and go and do it go and be Christ to other people; go and show them Christ’s love. Just do it.
Q: What have you learned?
A: I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned more than I ever thought I would learn. I’ve really learned what it means to be a disciple and a servant of Christ in a way that I’ve never learned before.
Video and photos by Jeff Heisner/Michigan District, LCMS