WARREN, MI – The community in the southwest corner of Warren, MI. has a void that only the good news of Jesus Christ can fill. With the absence of churches and few activities available for kids, it seemed as if no one was reaching out to these families or caring for their needs. Lead Church Planter of Greater Hope Detroit, Michael J. Howard II, responded to God’s call to change this. In May, Howard and several other partners came together to sponsor an event to bring neighbors together. Howard says, “Our goal is to saturate this community with the Gospel. A community block party could do just that.”
For a Saturday afternoon, Shaw Park was filled with Christian music, free refreshments, pizza and cotton candy. Many parents sat in lawn chairs and blankets while their children played in bounce houses and on the basketball courts brought in for the party. The event was made up of a tapestry of visitors, people of different backgrounds and professions, including school officials, truck drivers, doctors, and police officers. Visitors also represented Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and those not connected to any religion.
Greater Hope has reached into the community of Southwest Warren because this is an area most people avoid. Howard says, “The team plans to consistently infuse this community with God’s love and hopes to develop a Bible study out of these connections—then, eventually, an established church.”
There are six more block parties scheduled leading up to the planned launch service in the fall. “We’re seeking to plant inside a local elementary school,” Howard explained. With 200 visitors at this first block party, and 30 different families and individuals expressing interest in joining Greater Hope Detroit’s work and outreach, Greater Hope Detroit plans to pour into the lives of these families and extend the Gospel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Louise Leach is a sophomore Early Childhood Education major. She attends Truett-Mcconnell University in Cleveland, GA., where she also interns at the Communications Department and works as a campus freelance writer. This summer she is working with Greater Hope Detroit out of Warren, MI and Michael Jerome Howard II, NAMB intern and lead church planter. She is an active member of her home church in Georgia, Cornerstone Baptist Church, where she is involved in children’s ministry and the Sunday morning worship team.