Detroit's 'Good News Gang' Reaching Children in Some of the City's Toughest Neighborhoods
- Revitalizing a major metro area
like Detroit takes time.
While you will seebeautiful remodeled homes
in some neighborhoods,
others only offer dilapidated buildings,
piles of trash, and empty streets.
Still recovering from its 2013 bankruptcy,
this city built for nearlytwo million residents
now has less than 700,000.
In the Motown area, showing signs of life,
you'll likely find this manas a literal driving force.
Pastor Matt Cripps, ofthe Metro Life Church,
wants these pockets of lifeto grow in the right way.
That's why he and his team of bus drivers
head to inner-city neighborhoods
known for drugs, violence, and gangs,
to show kids a different way of life.
At Metro Life Church,
they call their fleet of tenbuses Soul-Winning Machines.
They travel throughout the Detroit area,
picking up children to be apart of the Good News Gang.
- Good morning!
What's up, John?
What's up, young lady?
How are you?
What's up, sweet lady?
You can't smile?
There you go, alright.
- [Mark] It often takes a little prodding
to get kids out and on the bus,
especially on a cool,rainy Saturday morning.
(bus horn beeps)
But to this pastor and his volunteers,
it's definitely worth it.
- We wanna see their livesradically transformed
by the power of thegospel of Jesus Christ,
and throughout the week,we're knocking on their doors,
we're praying with their families,
we're inviting them to Good News Gang,
and most importantly, we'reestablishing relationship.
That's the most important thing,
is that they see Jesus in us,
because for most of them,for most of these children,
we're the only Jesusthey'll ever, ever know.
- [Mark] CBN News spoke with parents
at a couple of the bus stops.
Elsie Wilson's children have been
part of the Good News Gang for five years.
- Pastor Matt have a nice wayof working with the children,
and I mean, I had a great experience
when I was with Pastor Matt,
so I just feel like, it'sa fun and good experience
to get the children out on Saturdays
and away from all the violence
and crime in the neighborhood.
- [Mark] At first, Edwardand Charlina Martin
took a little flak for taking part.
- When I first met Pastor Matt, right,
the lady down the street was like,
"You let your kids go on the bus with him?
"You know that's a white man right?"
I said, "That don't haveanything to do with it,
"he's a godly man."
That's what I look at,I look at the godliness,
I don't care about what color you are,
that don't have anything to do
with church, Christ, and Jesus,
'cause we're all thesame in the eyes of God.
- [Mark] Back at the church,
the kids file into a huge room
with prizes and fun activitieslike a dance contest.
Good News Gang averages morethan 200 children each weekend.
While they enjoy the fun and games,
the main focus is sharing the Gospel.
On this day, they showed a Superbook video
on the Tower of Babeland the Day of Pentecost.
Afterwards, CB and FieldMinistry Rep Ken Schad,
who is also a children's pastor,
led the kids in a salvation prayer
to receive Jesus as their savior.
- If you really believewhat you just said,
you're laying the resurrection path,
and I want you to repeat after me: Jesus!
- [Kids] Jesus!
- [Ken] Give me your resurrection power!
- [Kids] Give me your resurrection power!
- [Mark] Following the prayer time,
Pastor Mike talked about the importance
of getting good grades in school.
- How did you get to go to the AMP party?
- 'Cause I'm getting A'sand B's on my report card.
- Then they finished up
with a prize giveaway and pizza.
Children ages four to 12 take part
in the Good News Gang every Saturday.
Pastor Matt has been leading the ministry
for nearly 20 years.
- I just want everyone toknow that we love Jesus,
that's our motivation, isto share the love of Jesus
to the city of Detroit, a citythat's labeled as hopeless,
and everyone has written off,
but we know God has notwritten these people off,
He has a plan and apurpose for their lives,
and he uses this church to bring that hope
to these people, to these families.
- I think all of my friends andany other kids that see this
should come here, it's fun,you'll have a good time,
you'll learn about the Lord,
and all together, it's just really fun.
- And my favorite thingabout Good News Gang
is worshiping God and learninggreat things about him.
- [Mark] Pastor Matt saysthey have a saying that
they want the kids to experienceheaven at Good News Gang,
heaven away from tough situations at home.
- Many of them come from homes
that are filled withdespair and hopelessness,
but we know that, throughJesus Christ, there is hope.
Can everyone say Amen?
- [Kids] Amen!
- [Mark] Mark Martin, CBN News, Detroit.