Lighting the Way

By Pastor Michael C. Xiong, Detroit Life Church, Sacramento, California

Pastor Xiong is a sergeant with the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, where he has served for 17 years.
In 2010, several members of two Alliance churches in Sacramento met for prayer to ask God where He was working and where He wanted us to join Him. After about an hour and a half, we were directed to Detroit Boulevard in South Sacramento.

This was a rough community. When officers were called to the neighborhood, they would not go in alone but responded in force with several patrol units, including K-9s and a helicopter.

The neighborhood has approximately 500 homes—most of which were inhabited by people involved in drugs, prostitution, gang activity, and ancestor/demon worship. These activities opposed our purpose and presented dangers, but we still wanted the light of Jesus to make a difference in the lives of these lost people.

Pastor Mark Hitman, who led the initiative but has since followed God’s call to another church, believed we should attack the area through prayer, first addressing the supernatural before proceeding in the natural. He invited all who were interested to meet and prepare for this intercessory effort.

We began walking through the neighborhood, praying over each home and rebuking the strongholds of addiction and violence. Also, we demanded that all demon worship be interrupted by angels singing praises to Jesus.

Pushing Back the Darkness

Each time we prayed over the houses, we felt the weight of oppression become lighter and lighter. One woman confronted us, demanding to know what we were doing. She was surprised to discover we were praying for God to bless the community, and she asked for prayer for herself. God answered by healing her arm.

After about a dozen prayer walks, we sensed a substantial spiritual difference in the area compared with the surrounding troubled neighborhoods.

Since we asked God to bless the area, we believed we needed to occupy it as well. On May 15, 2010, a group of nine people planted Detroit Life Church (DLC) in the pavilion at Susan B. Anthony Park, adjacent to an elementary school with the same name. We cleaned up the pavilion and converted it into a church.

One DLC member, a Sacramento policeman, patrols the area regularly. A year after we began this ministry, I asked him if he noticed a change. “The area used to be called a carnival, because you could just drive in and get an arrest for any crime,” he said. “Now we call it boring!”

A local resident commented to us during a prayer walk, “Since you guys started the church at the park, a sense of peace has come upon the neighborhood.”

The school principal reported, “Gang activity was common on the school grounds, but now that a church has started in the pavilion, graffiti and vandalism have ceased.”

Many DLC church members grew up here, went to the local grammar school, and lived through the times when criminal activity attracted law enforcement daily, so meeting the needs of residents is a priority.

The church hosts clothing giveaways, food distributions, and special events, like Easter egg hunts, vacation Bible school, and concerts in the park. These events, when combined with the continual presence of a praying church, have resulted in epic changes for the community.

Changed Lives

A new believer said that DLC introduced him to Christ, who changed his life. After learning about listening to the Holy Spirit’s voice, he told us how he put into practice what he had learned.

“One night as I was driving back from the store, I heard a voice clear as day tell me to move over to the shoulder of the road,” he said. He was approaching an overpass and was unable to see over the bridge. As soon as he moved over, a car traveling approximately 100 miles an hour came into his lane from the other side of the overpass with several police cars in pursuit. “I’m glad I listened, because if I didn’t, I would have been killed in a head-on collision.”

Shining the light of Jesus into the Detroit Boulevard community not only changed the lives of those being served but also those who serve. One team member said, “Detroit Life Church has impacted my life and given me firsthand experience of what it means to serve the Lord and others.”

On March 17, 2013, the church moved from the park pavilion to the cafeteria of Susan B. Anthony School, where we meet every Sunday afternoon. Since DLC began its ministry, 30 people have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and 10 people were baptized. God is transforming lives in the Detroit Boulevard neighborhood, and I can’t wait to see what He will do next.

What You Can Do


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