As I begin to share with you the picture of the church that God has called us to start in Detroit I feel it absolutely necessary to communicate from the very beginning that the foundation of all we do is and will continue to be “Always Only Jesus”! In other words, “it’s all about Jesus”.
There are many well meaning (and much smarter than me) people out there who would have no problem with making an in depth argument for why it is a bad idea to start a church in Detroit right now. No doubt they would site some very convincing evidence such as economic instability and continued decrease in population to name a few. How do I know this? Because, I have experienced these conversations while sharing the vision for our church. While I do understand the logic and recognize that the facts are 100% accurate, I respectfully choose to ignore them. As a great preacher once said “just because something is a fact doesn't mean it’s the truth”.
That may sound ignorant or a bit cavalier…allow me to explain. It begins with what is a foundational piece of the vision for Journey Church Detroit: “I see a church that works not because of who and where we are but because of who Jesus is.”
The vision that God has given us for Journey Church Detroit is not a small one. From the very beginning we have known that the only way for us to accomplish what we believe God is calling us to do in the city is for His breath to be the wind in the sails of our efforts. It is after all the only way that our efforts in the natural can be propelled to supernatural heights with further reach and greater impact than we could have ever imagined.
In Acts 1:6-8 we see a tremendously important exchange between Jesus and His followers. The beauty and irony of this text is that while it demonstrates the shear glory and vastness of Jesus’ vision for His church it also captures the short sightedness of His followers vision. Very often today we find ourselves in a similar vein of thinking when it comes to both the church and how God will use us in the context of His church. In the name of humility we keep our expectations of what God can and will do through our lives to a nice manageable standard. This is no doubt comfortable it just also happens to be very restrictive. And, as it is us as believers who make up the church, these self imposed individual limitations can (not always, but can) then by default bleed over into our vision for the church, thus keeping small and manageable what God intends to be large, influential, and well beyond our natural abilities. The church should not be able to be contained.
I believe it would serve us well to dig out the truth of Jesus words in this text and hold them up as a banner over our efforts to advance His kingdom. In other words, let Jesus’ words serve as your license to dare to dream big. Understand that “big” is going to look different for all of us and there is no substitute for seeking God’s guidance and direction for how He will use you. I am simply encouraging you to not sell short what God wants to do in and through your life, while also sharing the “why” behind my choice to ignore the statistics and step forward believing God has got big plans for Detroit.
Acts 1:6-8 “6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)
Do you see the contrast? The disciples are looking for Jesus to restore a physical kingdom…a political vision that for all intents and purposes was at best regional. Jesus response reveals the massive vision He has for His church and the role His followers will play: “to the ends of the earth” as we become walking talking examples of His grace sharing verbally and reflecting emotionally the good news of Jesus. Jesus can and will continue to build His church wherever He wants.
There are some great churches in the metro Detroit area that are having a great impact on the community and sharing the love of Jesus with many. We are looking forward to coming in along side of those who have been faithfully serving the city for years and help play our role.
I see a large Jesus centered church thriving in the middle of Detroit. I see a church that reflects the city, made up of a diverse group of people who come from different socioeconomic backgrounds and different racial and ethnic groups all brought together under the only Name strong enough to serve as the cornerstone to support a structure surpassing any and all cultural expectations of what church “should” look like. I see a church for the city.
Ephesians 2:21-22 “21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (NIV)
“I see a church that works because of who He is, not because of who or where we are.”
If you have questions or feel God is calling you to be a part of what He is doing in Detroit we would love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. We are always excited to connect with more people who are looking to become more like Jesus and build His church together. If you feel God calling you to support this ministry financially you can do that by clicking HERE. Thank you for your continued support of Journey Church Detroit!