Influence That Made Headlines...

For the past few weeks, I have been writing about influence. When you read the words #InfluenceDetroit, it's natural that questions would be raised. Hopefully, I've been answering some of those questions here, along the way. I'd like to take the 'influence' topic a little further.


Perhaps it is best that I tell you about a recent thing that our community just celebrated. Seven years ago, several individuals partnered with us so that we could purchase the abandoned Tracy Macgregor Elementary School. Since then, no fewer that 50 individuals, corporations, and foundations have donated time, talent, and resources that ultimately resulted in the opening of a state of art Early Childhood Education center for the families of the Regent Park Community.  

All of those who supported us saw something! Perhaps that 'something' was simply a great need; a huge deficit that they could help alleviate.  In the beginning, our partners could not have had anything more than great faith to give at those early stages.  Today, they can say, along with so many others, “look what God has done”. 

Partnerships of all types and sizes - that’s what has made this opening possible.  A lot of hard work has been done. Work like this excited our partners and our community, because for both, it shows that Lifebuilders is about far more than restoring houses. The opening of this center is all about people! It's about children… it's about FAMILIES!  

In case you missed it, you should take a moment to check out our recent television interview, where we discuss the opening of this new facility, and what it means for Regent Park.

So much is in store for 2019. As you begin to set your mind toward new resolutions, this might be a great opportunity to consider how much you will partner with (or partner more with) LifeBUILDERS this coming year?

In Him,

Larry Johnson

Individuals DO Have Influence!

For the last 2 weeks we have been talking about Influence.  Each of us have some Influence.  It’s a matter of how, and for what, we decide to use it.  People know when something matters to us.  Let me share with you how some people have shown us they want to have an influence.  Maybe you’ll see how even a small amount, added together with others, can make a big INFLUENCE.

Just this month, we hosted our annual Community Christmas Store. Talk about influence! Churches, businesses and individuals provided hundreds of gifts for families in our community. Families were able to provide incredible gifts for their loved ones this season!

Christmas Store.png

 Individuals gave to our Parkway Education Fund to provide scholarships for kids from our community, and now, eight students are soaring in college preparatory academics.

All year-round, individuals, corporate teams, universities, and churches, all donate their time to help us with beautification, home repairs, and blight removal in the community. The results are residents that can take great pride in the community which they call home.

Individuals offer up their time to be with teens and younger children throughout the year as teachers, mentors, or drivers.   

Individuals faithfully give $50, $100 or more each month enabling us to impact our community in many different ways, addressing glaring deficits in the community.  Think of the impact of 500 people giving $100 each per month. That’s $50,000!

There are 2,200 homes in the neighborhood we serve, called Regent Park.  More importantly, 10,000 residents. Consider what YOUR influence might be! Notice how many individuals I noted above? That could be YOU!

Larry Johnson

Can I actually #InfluenceDetroit...? Pt.2

A dear friend of mine wrote in one of his books that we are often given moments of inspiration, a nudge to do something.  I’ve felt that often, perhaps you have as well.  Most often, at least in my case, those “moments” came and went. 

I often wonder about some of them. Did I miss something, perhaps a great opportunity to make a difference, to have an INFLUENCE on someone or group of people or a place.  One thing I do know I did miss some opportunities.  How about you?

Here’s what happened with us.

  1. We could not get the plight of the people of Detroit who were living in under-resourced neighborhoods off of our minds.  

  2. We believed in our heart that there just had to be something we could do, a way we could help in some meaningful manner.  We had lots of ideas, saw lots of needs.  

  3. We decided to not be paralyzed by over analyzing the situation. We had done plenty of that in our life and done nothing!!

  4. We thought, at a minimum,  we could be a source of encouragement in the midst of the despair and hopelessness by showing up, jumping in, making ourselves available to do whatever needed to be done.  And that we did.  

  5. This was our opportunity to INFLUENCE.  Where many had been so discouraged and had given up we stepped in fresh and began doing a lot of advocating and just helping and encouraging.  It’s amazing how just being present can have such an INFLUENCE on people.  Just doing what they had grown weary doing.  Advocating for justice and fairness and then digging in and helping where we could.

  6. The INFLUENCE quickly extended to others who saw the difference we were making and they decided to join us.  We were surprised that so many people followed!!  Those partnerships are what made the real difference, eventually the real INFLUENCE.

And now look at what God did with a step of faith, with saying just saying “I’m going to do something”. Not sure of the outcome, I’m just going to lend a hand where there is great need and see what God does.  HE likes those places you know!!

In fact, take a look at this community map, and see how much INFLUENCE we are seeing in Regent Park!