From Memphis to Detroit...

    On June 3,1997 I was driving back to Memphis, TN after attending a week long church conference here in Detroit. As I was driving down I-75 the Lord said “I’m moving to Detroit”. As I hit a huge pot hole on I-75 I said “oh no, we don’t have pot holes in TN and I don’t know anyone in Detroit.”  I wrestled with the idea for over a year. On October 2, 1998 I was getting dressed for work and he said to me again “I’m moving you to Detroit to prepare you for ministry”. I just knew that I was hearing things as I was very active in a large prominent church in Memphis where I served as the assistant department head over our evangelism department. I remember the day vividly. 

ErikaDudley

    That same morning I sat across the table with my Director discussing details of our acquisition and merger of another hospital. At the end of our discussion, I slid her a sealed envelope with my 4 week resignation in it. She slid it back without opening it. The back and forth went on silently for a few minutes. She asked me where was I going and where was I going to work. I said “Detroit and I don’t know that yet.” The day that I gave my resignation, I had no job and no place to live. I said Lord if this is you, you do it. In one week I had a job and a place to live with a full moving package. My apartment was fully set up when I arrived on Nov 2, 1998 and my contract covered rent and utilities.

   I worked in a ministry here in Detroit for 13 years, 10 of those years were ministering to young girls 12-17 at Vista Maria. Those were wonderful years because God taught me how to really minister his grace and love but I knew that I still had more work to do for him so I patiently awaited his leading. 

   In the fall of 2015, I began to see Facebook posts about Detroit Church. The first time I saw the post, my spirit was pricked. I continued to follow the posts for a few weeks but I knew that I was delaying the inevitable as I clearly heard God say “your destiny is tied to that ministry”. By now I had experiential knowledge with God. It only took that one time for me to say “yes Lord.” I am an introvert and usually will quietly inquire but this time was different. I reached out to Pastor Sonny personally and without hesitation. I attended the next launch meeting and knew when I walked in that I was home.

   It didn’t take long for me to get involved and I immediately started helping with set up and break down. One Sunday Sherita said that she had some ideas of where she wanted me to work in the ministry. I said sure, ok. I didn’t know that she had BIG ideas! She did. I was assigned to be the Outreach Coordinator. The purpose of this role was to bridge our community and church together. Our focus was school and community partnership!

   I have been the Outreach Coordinator for the past 9 months and it has been truly amazing. As the Outreach Coordinator, I was school liaison for many schools in the midtown area; University Prep Academy, Spain Elementary, Golightly elementary and Ben Carson High School. Our mission was to partner with schools in our community to provide support to our teachers and our students. Celebrating them with food and school supplies was one of my greatest moments. I had the privilege of working with Pastor Scott Blanchard, Lead Pastor of Lakepointe Church and Nikole Tucker, School Administrator for George Washington Carver Academy in Highland Park to donate complete Thanksgiving baskets to those students and members in that community. We were able to feed 155 families! I was honored to coordinate a renovation projectwith our Church family and Detroit Rescue Mission Father’s with Children housing units. The Father’s with children program offers housing opportunities to Father’s with children who have found themselves in a homeless situation.  As the Outreach Coordinator, I also worked with Prison Fellowship Ministry and the Angel Tree Program to share the love of Christ through gift giving at Christmas to 38 children with incarcerated parents.

    My next assignment at Detroit Church will be Life Group leader of our West Group. It is the best Life Group, my humble opinion of course. We meet every Monday and do “life” together. I am ALL IN andhumbled to be a part of the Greatest Adventure of all time.