Good Things Happening in Flint, Michigan!
By Kim Ousley
Flint, Michigan, has had its fair share of trials and tribulations, between the contaminated drinking water crisis and high crime rates. Poverty and unemployment only became worse when COVID-19 hit. Thank God for people like Leo Robinson II, who accept God’s call to minister in challenging circumstances.
Leo Robinson II and his wife “Mio” felt a calling to minister within the toughest neighborhood in Flint. Originally a youth pastor, he restarted his father’s old church, Holbrook Avenue Church of God, and became a full-time pastor of the renamed church. Good Church (of God) is a multicultural congregation with almost a 50-50 percentage of African American and Caucasian members.
“We had planned to open much earlier this year, however, we had to wait,” said Robinson. “Our reopening was October 11.” He further stated that, within a couple of hours, the parking lot was full! “Lots of people and a very diverse crowd showed up. This was a confirmation that what we were providing was definitely needed.”
Robinson shared that Holbrook Avenue Church of God had been on the decline. Interestingly enough, the demographic of the neighborhood within a three-mile radius was changing. “It was historically an African American church,” said Robinson. “But the study confirmed there were now two cultures growing in the area, African American and Caucasian.”
What has the church done to help lift up the people in their area? For starters, the sanctuary is a place of learning for children who do not have Wi-Fi access at home during virtual learning due to the pandemic. In light of food insecurity and high unemployment rates, the church stepped up to provide what they could to help the children in and around their neighborhood.
“We realized a need here…we have also started a fund to provide laundry services to those in the area so they don’t need to take a bus to a Laundromat,” said Robinson. The building and washers and dryers have been provided. Hopefully soon this service will be available. “One reason there’s a high level of absenteeism among school kids is lack of clean clothes,” continued Robinson. “We will provide a low cost way to get their laundry done.” On the church website, www.GoodChurch.live, there is a link to donate to this fund.
The sanctuary can also be utilized for a warming station this winter. Plus, volunteers will be available to help people to learn how to apply for jobs or write a résumé. Encouragement to further their education and provide classes may be in the future, also. Many applicants didn’t finish high school and need a GED in order to obtain a better quality of employment to provide for themselves and their families.
“Eighty percent of the people in the area don’t identify with any religious belief system, at all,” said Robinson. “There are sixteen churches in the around here.” However, they were all geared toward only African American neighbors. But now the area has a more multicultural demographic and needed to expand upon the needs of this generation now living together here.
Earlier this year, volunteers stepped up to help feed the children who were stuck at home due to COVID-19. School was the only place many would get at least breakfast and lunch. They served hundreds during the school year. Many congregates took the food to the houses where these students lived.
Pastor Robinson’s message to those in his community is that God is a loving God and is there for them wherever they are in their journey of life. By meeting the basic needs of their neighbors, Good Church is demonstrating the church as the people of God, extending the good news of Jesus Christ.
Kim Ousley is a freelance writer from Anderson, Indiana.
Learn more about the Church of God at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org.