A SHORT HISTORY OF THE GREATER DETROIT BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
Our history dates back to 1951, when the first organized work started as the Motor Cities Association of Southern Baptist Churches in Michigan. The association was organized with six churches and two others giving support. The association was affiliated with the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. The Home Mission Board joined in support of the work in 1953.
Rev. Olin Sisk was interim missionary in 1951, followed by Rev. Fred Hubbs in 1952. During the early years the association was divided into five zones to more effectively carry out its mission work. The Detroit Baptist Association was organized in 1957 with eight churches. These eight churches increased to twenty congregations in the first five years.
In 1963, the name of the association was changed to the Greater Detroit Baptist Association. In 1957, the Baptist State Convention of Michigan was constituted. In 1960, the first superintendent of missions, Rev. Jay Brown was called. After Rev. Jay Brown (he served two times) there were six Directors of Missions before Rev. Joe Ryckman came as Director of Missions (Associational Missionary) in 1995 and retired February 2010. When Rev. Ryckman retired, the association was made up of forty-five congregations (38 churches and 7 chapels/missions). From March 2010, the association has been served by Interim Directors of Missions—Dr. Charles Dill (March 2010 to July 2010), Rev. Levi Parish (October 2010-April 2011), Rev. Nathaniel Bishop, Sr. (June 2011-December 2012). In December 2012, the Director of Missions position was terminated. A new position was created in July 2012 by the association called “Church Strengthener/Mobilizer” to be effective January 1, 2013. Rev. Nathaniel Bishop, Sr. then served as Interim Church Strengthener/Mobilizer (January 2013-August 2016). Rev. Timothy Jones served as Interim Church Strengthener/Mobilizer (September 2016-December 10, 2017). There is no one serving as Church Strengthener/Mobilizer at this time. As of October 7, 2017 the association had forty-eight congregations (42 churches and 6 chapels/missions).
The earliest works with ethnics were with the Spanish and Slavic people. The association now has ten ethnic congregations. The gospel is preached in six languages. The rest of the congregations are almost evenly split between African American and Anglo congregations. Though the majority of congregations are located in Wayne County, the association also has member churches in Oakland and Washtenaw Counties.
The association sponsors a student ministry at Schoolcraft Community College, Livonia, Michigan, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan and Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, Michigan. Wayne State University is located in the city of Detroit and is mainly a commuter campus with over 33,000 graduate and undergraduate students. Over 2,800 international students are enrolled and occupy apartments near the campus.
The Greater Detroit Baptist Association encompasses all of Wayne County. The 2009 estimated population of Wayne County was 1,971,853. Approximately 80% of the population is lost according to the North American Mission Board Statistics. Ethnics compose around 25% of the population. The largest Arabic population outside the Middle East resides in Dearborn. Out of 41 cities and townships, around 25% of the residents live in multi-housing units. Ninety-eight percent of those living in multi-housing units do not attend any church.
The following are some Wayne County/Detroit Demographics as of 2009. Approximately 85% of the population is white and immigrant and approximately 15% African American. The city of Detroit population of 834,116 (a high of near 2 million in 1950) is approximately 83% African American, approximately 12% white, Hispanic and other, and approximately 5% foreign-born. The per capita income is $14,717 with approximately 33% living below the poverty line. The unemployment rate was near 18% in 2009 (10+% metropolitan wide). Metropolitan Detroit has 5,400,000 people—one half the state’s population.
GREATER DETROIT BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
24250 Joy Road, Redford, Michigan 48239
Tel. (313) 533-2663
Greater Detroit Baptist Association on Facebook
(Updated January 17, 2018)