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The Presence of God

We Will Launch

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Detroit Boulevard is located in South Sacramento off of Meadowview Road. It is a one-way in, one-way out street with a school and a park situated at the end. In 1990, when I was going to college, I stayed with my uncle in the neighborhood. During this time, criminal activity attracted law enforcement daily. Each time police responded, they came in force with several patrol units, including K-9s, and a helicopter.

After I myself became a law enforcement officer, I returned to the area as a gang detective. The neighborhood was like a policeman’s carnival because we could just drive in and make arrests for guns, drugs, prostitution, gang activity, public intoxication—almost anything.

In 2010 members of two Alliance churches in Sacramento met for prayer. We knew God had called us to Detroit Boulevard, but neither church’s leadership felt they could undertake another outreach. So a small group of eight people sought God’s leading in this effort. One of the churches agreed to provide limited funding of the early startup costs, and we were off on a local mission. As an officer with the Sacramento County sheriff’s department, I never thought that God would send me back to the Detroit Boulevard area to do His work.

The neighborhood has approximately 500 homes—most of which were inhabited by people involved in drugs, prostitution, gang activity, and ancestor/demon worship. The initial phase of our mission was to just pray for the community. Our intention was to attack the area through prayer by addressing the supernatural before proceeding in the natural.

We began walking through the neighborhood, praying over each home and rebuking the strongholds of addiction and violence. We demanded that all demon worship be interrupted by angels singing praises to Jesus. We called for a special creation of angels to sing day and night over the neighborhood, unceasingly giving Jesus praise.

Each time we prayed over the houses, we felt the weight of oppression become lighter and lighter. One woman who confronted us during a prayer walk was surprised to discover we were praying for God to bless the community. She asked for prayer for herself, and God answered by healing her. After about a dozen such walks, we sensed a substantial spiritual difference in the area compared with the surrounding troubled neighborhoods.

Since we asked God to bless the area, we believed we needed to occupy it as well. On May 15, 2010, we planted Detroit Life Church in the pavilion at Susan B. Anthony Park, adjacent to an elementary school with the same name. On March 17, 2013, the church moved from the park pavilion to the cafeteria of the school, where we have grown to about 50 and meet every Sunday afternoon. New believers have been baptized.

As we continue to walk through the streets in prayer, we were met with people who thanked us and told us that since we started the church, a sense of peace has come upon the neighborhood. Others reported that gang activity was common on the school grounds, but now that a church has started, graffiti and vandalism have ceased.

A community that was once considered rough is now quiet and peaceful. The area that law enforcement used to call a “carnival,” they now label as “boring.”

The Sacramento Bee recently reported that the latest police statistics indicate people feel safe walking through most of Sacramento’s streets and neighborhoods, including the Detroit Boulevard community. According to the police grid for the Detroit Boulevard area between 2013 and 2014, there were no homicides, robberies, or sex crimes. Only one assault occurred during this time.

In the 1990s and 2000s gangster rap artists glorified the violence and gangster lifestyle that existed in Detroit Boulevard, referring to the street by name. Through the prayers and presence of God’s people, this community was transformed from being a symbol of all that is wrong in the inner city. Oh, what prayer does. Oh, what church planting does.

We Will Launch

We Will Launch

To accomplish the call God has given to us, we must see the entire body of Christ mobilized for Kingdom service. May God allow us to launch new waves of godly people as full participants in Christ’s service: evangelizing, church planting, generously giving, boldly praying, joyfully creating . . . So, as a church, we would do well to ask ourselves, “Does our congregation know their spiritual gifting? Have we found meaningful ways to serve Christ through our gifts? What hindrances do people encounter when wanting to be more engaged in Kingdom service? What can our church do to open the door to service more widely?”

3 responses to The Presence of God

  1. I give praise to God for the love that has been bestowed upon this community. Having lived on Detroit Blvd and having attended Susan B Anthony in the 90s, I remember the fear of violence & gang related activity. May this community remain in the presence of God and may more come to seek and know him through the love and peace that you bring to this community.

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