Once a powerhouse in American industry, Detroit has seen its share of rise and fall over the years. Today unemployment and urban decay add to the problems of crime and poverty, but overall, the people who have remained here possess a strong sense of community and resilience. They are a people in need, both physically and spiritually. With more than 4 million people in the metro area, the Church has work to do in Detroit; you can help.
SBC Church-Population Ratio
Active SEND Church Planters
24% African American
5% Asian & Pacific Islander
2% Two or More Races
1% Native American
It’s the Big D. It’s Motor City. It’s Motown.
For generations, Detroit, Michigan, was the hub for what was once the most important American industry: automobiles. In fact, there was a time in which this city’s companies employed 1 out of every 6 U.S. workers.
Here “Gospel” is not a foreign word. Once an epicenter of the Gospel music industry, Detroit was home to many of the most famous Gospel singers of the last century—like the Detroiters, Della Reese and BeBe and CeCe Winans.
But as it stands today, automobile assembly lines have slowed and the sounds of Gospel music have quieted; Detroit is searching. Recent years have brought 15 percent—or higher— unemployment. Between 2000 and 2010, the city lost a quarter of its population. Time magazine called Detroit “The Vanishing City.”
This segues into the story of “The Vanishing Church.” Though church buildings can still be seen throughout the city, many that once housed some of the great Gospel voices in the country now sit virtually empty on Sunday mornings. Evangelicals make up only 10.4 percent of the population. With only one Southern Baptist church for every 31,727 people, it’s one of the most underserved cities in North America.
However, Detroit-area Southern Baptists believe there is great potential in the city. Detroit pastor David Washington says the city’s recent woes have caused many to look for spiritual answers.
“I know when unemployment really started to kick in here in Detroit, we saw it in our church,” Washington said. “A lot of people had been hanging onto their material blessings. God brought an increase in our church because all of a sudden people realized those things that they had been counting on were not a solid foundation.”
Churches—from a variety of backgrounds—are beginning to come together to reach the metro area with the hope of the gospel. But the needs are great.
From planting a church to partnering with those already on mission in Detroit, you and your church can make a difference; connect with us to learn how.
Take your next step on mission in Detroit
Join a Church Planting Team
Church planting is a team effort. You can use your gifts and talents to support a church planter, help meet needs in the community and reach neighbors for Christ. We can help you get connected.Take the Next Step
Get My Church Involved
Whether it’s raising up teams from within your own congregation or coming alongside an existing plant, you can multiply the ministry of your church, and we can help you learn how.Learn More