Detroit's 'Good News Gang' Reaching Children in Some of the City's Toughest Neighborhoods
- Revitalizing a major metroarea 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 areas showing signs of life
you'll likely find this man
as a literal driving force.
Pastor Matt Cripps of 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 10 buses 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.
- [Mark] It often takes a little prodding
to get kids out and on the bus
especially on a cool,rainy, Saturday morning.
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'reknocking on their doors.
We're praying with their families.
We're inviting 'em to Good News Gang.
And most importantly we'reestablishing relationships.
That's the most important thing.
Is that they see Jesus in us.
Because 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.
I mean I had a great experience when I was
with Pastor Matt.
So I just feel like it's afun and a good experience
to get the children out on Saturdays
and away from all ofthe violence and crime
that's in the neighborhood.
- [Mark] At first Edwardand Charlene Martin
took a little flack for taking part.
- When I first met Pastor Matt,
lady down the street was like
you let your kids goon a bus with that man.
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 anythingto do with church,
Christ, and Jesus
because we're all thesame in the eyes of God.
- Back at the church thekids file into a huge room
with prizes and fun activitieslike a dance contest.
Good News Gang averagesmore than 200 children
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 Babelin the day of Pentacost.
Afterwards CBN 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 believe what you just said
you're ready for resurrection power.
And I want you to repeat after me.
- [Children] Jesus
- [Ken] Give me resurrection power
- [Children] Give me resurrection power
- [Mark] Following the prayer time
Pastor Matt talked about the importance
of getting good grades in school.
- How did you get to goto the A and B party?
- From getting As andBs on my report card.
- Then they finished up witha prize giveaway and pizza.
Children ages four to 12 takepart in the Good News Gang
Pastor Matt has been leading the ministry
for nearly 20 years.
- I just want everyone toknow that we love Jesus.
That's our motivation.
Is to share the love ofJesus to the city of Detroit
a city that's labeled as hopeless
and everyone is written off.
But we know God has notwritten these people off.
He has a plan and apurpose for their lives
and he uses his church to bring that hope
to these people to these families.
- I think all of myfriends and any other kids
that see this should come here.
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 Mattsays they have a saying
that they want the kidsto experience heaven
at Good News Gang.
Heaven away from tough situations at home.
- Many of them come fromhomes that are filled
with despair and hopelessness.
But we know that throughJesus Christ there is hope.
And everyone say amen.
- [Children] Amen.
- [Mark] Mark Martin CBN News Detroit.