Detroit Region

Detroit has many nicknames, from “Motor City” to “Hockeytown,” and the city’s storied history is among the greatest of America’s major metropolitan areas. At one time its population soared to over 1.8 million; having now dropped over 60 percent, the once booming city has fallen victim to criminal leadership and, ultimately, to bankruptcy. She is a massive city, measuring almost 145 square miles—large enough to contain the cities of San Francisco, Manhattan (NYC), and Boston all within the city limits. This poses a rather significant challenge: where do we even begin in such a massive metropolis?

Perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States, Detroit faces a very complex set of challenges with regard to church planting. The devastating effects of sin have ravaged not only the automotive industry of downtown, but also the areas where the population lives—the neighborhoods. One example is the heroin empire built by Milton “Butch” Jones in the 1980’s. Jones employed youths too young to be prosecuted by the law and, in effect, burnt up an entire generation of young men. In one generation, manhood evaporated in the Linwood-­Dexter neighborhoods.

But are these the defining features of Detroit: bankruptcy, racism, and drugs? Certainly not! There is still great beauty to be found in “The D” and much work to be done in church planting here. While Detroit may have more churches than “the belt buckle of the Bible belt,” many of the churches are, at best, anemic when it comes to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Disenfranchised by the woes of the city, Metro Detroit is in desperate need of Bible-preaching, theologically-sound churches.

Acts 1:8 records the last words of Jesus to his disciples: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (ESV). “Jerusalem,” metaphorically speaking, is “home base,” and “the ends of the earth” is rather self explanatory. But what about “Judea and Samaria“? Is it quite possible that evangelical churches in Metro Detroit have pursued their “Jerusalem“ and “the ends of the earth” but have neglected their “Judea and Samaria“?

We believe God loves cities and uses cities in His plan to bring glory to Himself, and PlantDETROIT is committed to to pursuing the neighborhoods of Detroit and the surrounding communities—the “Judea and Samaria” of this great city—by connecting churches with church planters so that this forgotten middle ground might be saturated with the gospel for the sake of God’s glory.

Regional Leadership

Mike Hanafee

Regional Leader

mikehanafee@resdetroit.org