I like to tell people that we are entering the 2nd trimester in our embryonic stage of planting Restore Church. Hard to believe that next Tuesday (Nov 22) we will have been in Detroit one year. Wow, time has flown by! To let you know how to pray for the next few months I thought I would push out our midrange schedule & share a really cool story.
First, Sunday Worship. (We have been meeting 1st & 3rd Sundays not as “preview services” but simply to gather around God’s word as a growing community. In God’s kindness several neighbors are coming to these worship services.) The next 5 worship services are as follows–Sunday November 20, Sunday December 4, Sunday December 18, Sunday January 15, & Sunday February 5. All of these services will be at the Bontragers (1247 Chicago) with the possible exception of January 15, the day before the MLK holiday. On that Sunday we will look at two-way reconciliation from Ephesians 2:11-22 in conjunction with some special activities.
Second, our West Lodge Missional Community. Our first MC launched in July with the mission of showing & telling Jesus in a 10 block area in our neighborhood. We now have 14 adults & 10 great kids in our MC. We gather on Wednesdays for a meal, prayer, study, fellowship, & strategizing. Christmas vacation may be a good time to drop in on a MC gathering for the several of you who have inquired about coming out for a night. Also, to tap in the rhythm of celebration we are holding a New Year’s Eve Party – looking forward to ringing in 2012 with a friends & neighbors!
Third, a neighborhood bible study. Through cookouts, service projects, & just being present in our community we have had the privilege of connecting with many many people who we now have the great privilege of knowing as friends. In order to share the good news of Jesus we are launching an 8 week session through The Story of God February 12 – April 1. I’m in need of a creative graphics person to help design some materials so if that’s you & you’d like to volunteer let me know.
Fourth, Easter Sunday 2012. We are considering concluding our Story of God run with an early AM easter celebration in the Bontrager’s large side yard adjacent to the Lodge Freeway. We’d love to secure a large GP type of tent for this so if you have access to one please let us know. Also, we are thinking about including a breakfast cookout & some fun stuff for the kids.
Fifth, worship facility & community center. It seems the Foodland Co building is a no go, & for good reason (I’ll share the story with you over coffee if you’d like). There are 2 church buildings in our community that are not used that extensively and that would be great facilities. Our hope is to have a place secured & ready for use for fall 2012.
Sixth, Christmas vacation visit. Pray for a few guys who will be visiting Detroit over the holidays to explore joining the mission with Restore. We are grateful that God has lead many to consider ministry in Detroit. This is fully in keeping with our 2 Timothy 2:2 burden!
Seventh, an encouraging story. Yesterday Restore Church received $5,000 from the estate of a woman I have never met via her daughter who I have never met who is married to a friend from my college fraternity days. He & I may have been the last 2 guys in our frat you would have ever guessed would become Christians, but in God’s mercy (& humor), we both became Christians after graduation, unbeknownst to each other. What a time we had 2 years ago when we reconnected and heard each others grace stories! Well yesterday I received this in the mail from his dear wife.
Dear Mike & friends at Restore Church – As Tom probably mentioned to you I have a connection in Detroit…both my parents (and their parents) grew up in the city. My mom grew up on Bennett Street (my grandfather – a former Ford & Chrysler auto worker – built their house!) and my dad grew up near Motown and attended Northwestern HS. They lived in the city until the late 1960′s, when my dad’s job transferred them to South Bend, IN (where I was born). But we have always spent summers and holidays in Detroit visiting family who remain in the area…clearly Detroit holds a special place in my heart (and Tom’s by proxy:) – so when my dear mom passed away in August (she was a great woman of faith who came to Christ at Highland Park Baptist Church, which is now in the suburbs), we though of you and Restore Church. My mother would be thrilled to know that her money was going to a ministry such as yours that is making such a difference in the town she loved! My sincere wish is that these funds will help many people see the light of Jesus that shown so brightly in mom’s life. God bless you and the work you are doing in Detroit!
Wow, what an encouragement to us as we seek to show & tell Jesus in central Detroit! We are thankful for the many ways the Lord is enabling us to minister in our city. As we are in an under-resourced area we are continuing to raise support, especially as we are now entering a phase where we need a larger worship & multipurpose space. Let us know if you might be interested in helping us.
Finally, pray for Johnny. He is a friend & neighbor that I long to see come to Jesus. A few nights ago he was jumped going to the corner store for cigarettes and took 8 stitches on his head. As always he has a sense of humor – “I was always told cigarettes kill, I just didn’t know in this way!” I was at his house this morning and he is thankful for those of you who have prayed for him.
Oh yeah, meet Chloe, the newest addition to our family. We found this sweet pit mix during an alley cleanup a few months ago, full of the mange and weighing only 28 lbs. She is now healthy, sassy, & 52 lbs… and a good addition to Susan’s morning walks I should add!