Hope for Detroit?


There’s trouble in Detroit city. Trouble with a capital “T“. The government is bankrupt. Crime is up. Policing is backlogged. Average price of a home is $7,000. Nope. Not kidding. 64% of the city is empty and rotting.

What if…

What if churches rose up and called 1000 church planters with a wholistic view of salvation to move into neighborhoods of Detroit city?

What if these churches banded together, from all denominations, and didn’t compete or compare but shared resources to implant 1000 church planters into homes that have lost all their value in neighborhoods all around Detroit.

What if these church planters slowly began to put love back into Detroit. What if they worked to gently restore neighborhoods: boarding up empty buildings, clearing waste, painting walls and planting trees.

What if neighborhoods built community gardens and got the kids to help. What if families got food and hope and community restored. And small business sprung up. And little house churches were planted and hymns were again heard wafting out on Sunday mornings across the streets of Detroit.

This kind of problem is a soul problem as much as a government problem. It won’t be solved by “them.”

“They” won’t come and clean up a neighborhood. “They” won’t gather the kids and start a project that ends with laughing and hot dogs on a little brass fire pit. “They” won’t haul the junk off lawns out to the dump.

But we could. We have been practicing for this in massive city dump communities and broken environments around the world. Who says Detroit can’t be saved? Not God, I am sure of that.


Vice President for Community Formation at Asbury Theological Seminary and has been a church leader in the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination since 1979. She has wide pastoral experience in partnership with her husband Steve. Together, they have lead three churches over 31 years, provided missionary member-care and pastoral retreats in Chile, Argentina and Venezuela since l985, and formation teaching during Field Conferences in Eastern Europe and Indonesia.