I spent the last several days in Detroit, Michigan (Highland Park, to be specific) with 15 others from our youth ministry. We joined with several other churches to assist Revival Tabernacle in reaching out to their local community during an event called War Week. Revival Tabernacle is located by 6 Mile, just minutes from 8 Mile, made famous by Eminem. Ironically, another movie was being filmed this past week about two blocks from where we were working. Clint Eastwood is making another Dirty Harry movie and unfortunately, security kept us from seeing anything exciting. But now I’m getting off topic….back to what we did the past several days.
Each morning we received teaching from one of my heroes, Winkie Pratney. I read his book, Youth Aflame as a freshman in high school and it radically changed my life. It was great being able to be around him and learn from someone who had such a profound impact on my life as a teenager.
In the afternoons, we armed ourselves with shovels, rakes and weed whackers in order to clean up the alleys of Highland Park. Our group did a phenomenal job clearing underbrush, picking up trash and sweeping debris out of the way. I’m so proud of our students and the hard work they put into our project.
Friday was the highlight of the trip. After spending the last two days sweating and cleaning the alley, we were able to mingle with the people we were serving by holding a block party. We gave out hot dogs, played games and had an inflatable jumping house for the kids. It was a blast and our students a great job. As a youth pastor, it’s exciting to see students breaking out of their comfort zones in order to minister to people in need. The image to the left is of one of the first kids to get into the inflatable. He was squealing with delight. The picture doesn’t begin to capture the sheer joy on his face.
The week was a huge success. I believe we participated in some meaningful ministry to the people of Highland Park. But it was great for us as well. This was the first experience many of our students have had with missions and they’re already looking forward to our next trip.
I’ll post the highlight videos whenever they are made available to me. You can see some of our pictures here at our flickr page.
You can find out more information at warweek.com.