I was raised in the church, and grew up quite active in the different ministries of the church. I was baptized as the age of 7, song in the choir, ushered members into the sanctuary, and attended Christian educational programs. My grandfather was a 2nd generation minister and my mother was a Sunday school teacher. So when I became a Sunday school teacher it was no surprise to my family, because of our long history with church involvement. I attended a very traditional Baptist church, where the women were not allowed to wear pants in the sanctuary, nor would you ever see a female preach the gospel, because according to the bible the pastor “is a man of one wife”. As I got older and raising my children in the church, I was became burdened by the rules that govern the traditional church. I believe wholeheartedly in the bible, but I also believe that we must take into account the generational and cultural context for which the bible was written. Even though the world has completely transformed from the church of 2000 years ago, the bible remains relevant today.
I remember feeling out of place of the same church I attended for over 20 years. I was teaching the youth, singing in the choir, coordinating different programs, I was very active, but I was feeling empty. I continued attending my church with this feeling for years, because I was raised to just go to church, it became more of a tradition. There were things I wanted to see at the church that were rejected because it was too out of the box. One day I decided to search for a non-traditional church, this was probably the hardest decision I have ever had to do.
We were never taught how to search for a church, my grandparents have been at the same church for over 65 years, and according to my grandmother I’m suppose to follow in her same footsteps. But I wanted more out of my church experience, and I wanted my children to receive a worship experience that didn’t place limits. And after having that conversation with Lauren Hood, it’s apparent that we deal with cultural and spiritual insensitivity. Sunday worship is the most segregated hour in the entire week, and I just don’t believe that because I’m black I have to attend an all black church.
So I have been attending Detroit Church, a new church planted in Midtown, and it is the collaborative effort of 6 different churches around the Metro Detroit Area: Kensington Church in Troy; Grace Community Church in Detroit; Oak Pointe Church in Novi; Ward Church in Northville; Evangel Ministries in Detroit; and 242 Community Church in Brighton. Detroit Church is aware of the sensitive issues of race, class and gentrification in starting the congregation in a city that is 79% African American and has a long history of black churches. From 2010 to 2014, the white population in Detroit increased 25%, by almost 14,000, while the black population decreased 8.2%, by more than 48,100. Pastor Sonny Smith sees this church as a way to bridge old Detroit and new Detroit. And this is why I am connected to this ministry, it’s culturally sensitive and yet very intentional with bible teaching.