Living as a Leader

Reflecting on Detroit

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with our Detroit Day Camp team and we had a moment together reflecting on the highlights from their summer so far.  As it often does for me their reflections turn to their incredible week of ministry in inner city Detroit.

One of the these memories we talked about were of all the abandoned homes around the school where we had Day Camp. Our staff remembered one morning as they were setting up the equipment for the day (climbing wall, euro bungee, etc) a wall from one of these homes fell in with a huge crash (now that creates a memory).

I have to admit I continue to be moved by all the abandon homes (and more importantly what they represent) that we saw around the school and when we toured the community with Eric and Keltie Nielsen of Mack Avenue Community Church. There are 40,00 abandon buildings in Detroit compared, for example, to only 1000 in Chicago. I keep asking myself how can a city be so abandoned?

I especially think of this Detroit as I have been reading Michael Wittmer’s book Heaven is a Place on Earth. Is it possible that Heaven could be a place like Detroit? Here is what Wittmer says

“Because we are human, we will continue to develop culture, but now, because we are Christian, we must also strive to redeem it. It is not enough to merely salvage a few souls from the wreckage of sin. The entire world (including Detroit) belongs to God, so it must be the entire world (including Detroit) that is redeemed. To paraphrase Abraham Kuyper, we must diligently labor to bring every square inch of human existence (including Detroit) beneath the Lordship of Jesus Christ who proclaims, “It’s mine (including Detroit)!”  (italicized words are mine)

This is my prayer for Detroit and it’s people.  It’s the only Hope there is and the only thing I know to pray.

See my posts “This  is the Best Place Ever” and “48214” for more stories about this week in Detroit.


  • Danae

    Thanks for sharing our stories. It was fun to reflect with you. God has truly blessed this summer. Our prayer is that there will be more and more stories throughout the year that will come as result of “our best summer ever”!
    -The Detroit Day Camp Team

    • mdperry1

      Danae, you and your team are doing great. I’m always inspired when I’m with you. I also loved our stories yesterday, it will be a blog for next week (maybe two or three because so many good stories). Gonna have one just for making great hamburgers and doing the slip in slide in a Spider Man suit.

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