Our church was founded in 1938 by my grandfather, Raymond Riggs. Back then they met in various places until they were able to purchase an old mosque on Victor Avenue in Detroit. Eighty-three years later and here we are.
A lot has happened in those 83 years. Many have been saved, baptized, and sent out. Several pastors have served the sheep, and we’ve even gone by different names in our history.
This past year saw us welcome some from another church nearby called Maple Grove Bible Church. (Most remember it as 15-Mile Baptist or even 15-Mile Free Will Baptist Church.) Our histories have inter-twined in the past, and although not everyone from the Maple Grove family has joined us, I’m thankful many have. Our histories are becoming the same history.
As we think about the history of our church combined with the ongoing racial tension in our country and southeast Michigan, we can’t ignore the reality that our church has predominantly been mono-ethnic. That’s not necessarily wrong, depending on the circumstances.
What we do know is that the gospel is not mono-ethnic. Neither is the kingdom of God. That tells me two things: (1) our church does not reflect the full-orbed beauty of the kingdom of God (although it does reflect most of Royal Oak!) and (2) there are things we can learn about the Lord from brothers and sisters who don’t look like us.
Our enemy has hijacked this discussion. He currently holds the cards. My trying to talk about it makes us uncomfortable because of that reality. We put up defenses because the enemy has leveraged the issue to create division in the kingdom of the world we currently live in.
But we are citizens of the kingdom of our Lord. Our fellow citizens are all those who have been washed by the blood and have the banner of Love waving over them. Many who do not look like us in skin tone are actually our fellow citizens. We are one in Christ.
I reject the claim that we need to be divided between a white church and a black church. That’s not from the Lord. He prayed over and over that those who would believe the testimony of the apostles would be one.
So, the Lord has brought us an opportunity to have a small taste of that unity on our anniversary Sunday. Tree of Life Bible Fellowship is also celebrating an anniversary. I had coffee with her pastor, Eric Moore, yesterday morning. It was refreshing.
Y’all, he loves the Lord and he loves the Bible. After he received my email his son, Samuel, told him, “Pastor Jacob is sent from God. You need to say yes.” He has, and I’m grateful.
Sounds good to me!
You may be aware that the African American community was hit very hard by COVID. Dr. Moore tells me that most of the over 40 crowd from TOLBF hasn’t yet ventured to gather in person. I’m not sure how many will join us in person on June 6, but I’m hopeful.
We’re gathering outside on our property under a tent to help alleviate any concerns of COVID and to add a fun element to this special day. Here’s how to prepare:
- There are no Growth Groups meeting. The worship service begins at our normal time of 11 AM.
- Bring your own chair, lunch, and game.
- Dress comfortably.
- Plan on getting to know one another and some new friends from TOLBF!
Lord willing, it will be a great day in Him!
Love you all,