Kings Kids Ministry

The posting I had here was a rough draft. I decided to remove this rough draft and replace it with one that is not only polished up with proper editing but also includes personal testimonies and input from the former members themselves with added photos. This will make for a much better read and a story worth waiting for. Please be patient as it may take some time for this added input to become a reality. Until that time I have some photos and comments that describe a little about the people and the ministry.

 

                                                              

Here are a few pictures that I do have from those days with some memorable comments.

OUR CHURCH IN THE BRIGHTMOOR SECTION OF DETROIT, MICHIGAN 1981

 

OUR FIRST RUN: Spring 1977 (Me on the left and Gene F on the Right.) "Where two or more are gathered" and Karen F.,Genes new wife, made three the Lord made four. This was their honeymoon. So, I either went on their honeymoon or they spent their honeymoon, on the first run. After the other four members at that time had to cancel, we were all that was left and Gene and Karen both insisted that we continue with the run anyway. This was to reflect the typical serving attitude of most of the members of the Kings Kids throughout their history.

Some original members 1977

A TYPICAL BIBLE STUDY 1979

Bible Study in the Kings Kids was a serious element of our ministry. You actually brought with you pen and paper to take notes and study. Many times it included group participation. Individuals would take a certain aspect of text or topic and study their piece of the study, Collectively, the next week we would share what we found together as a group..

 

 

 

 

Early Coffeehouse night 1980

Passing out Literature from our table at the annual Swap Meet. Michigan State Fair grounds 1978

MY DAD< Winner of the 1981 Chili Contest at the local city park in Brightmoor Detroit. After winning the contest he turned white as a ghost, then greenish and discharged most of what he ate into the creek running through the park. The guys nick named him "Iron Pants" because as a novice biker, he had a determination to ride as good as anyone else and actually out rode most of us in endurance. I used to tease my Dad and tell him that he had the Bozo look when his hair was long on the sides and it blew up and out in the wind. Of course I had a head full of hair then. Now I look like my Dad and my son calls it the Friar Tuck look. I sure miss him, He went to be with the Lord in January 2001 shortly after my Mom in June of 1999.

 

King's Kids even went to Hell in 1982, Well, Hell Michigan anyway.

Ministering at the Joy of Jesus camp. This was a camp set up by Eddie Edwards\ to provide inner city boys and girls to have a chance to experience for many of them, a country setting for the first time and learn about Jesus. Left: Bill B. Center: Me and Wayne in the back. The young man in front was one of many selected through the public school system of Detroit, to attend the camp.

Performing my first "Biker" style funeral in early 1979 this opened up many opportunities to share our faith.

OUR BUS The Blue Goose: As our group grew, we had many of our own kids as well as taking other local kids  with us on our runs. It became practical to get our own bus to accompany our runs.                                       

We also had use of 40 acres in the Traverse City area "Up North" where we would have pig roasts, rallies and lots of fun.

Kings Kids Campgrounds 1980

Kings Kids campground 1978

Field Meet on Traverse City Property 1979

 

The ministry came to an end in 1984 but was resurrected by Don Clark in 1987

Kings Kids 30th Reunion 2007

Don Clark center, Kevin M former member left. Don is ordained but does not use a title of Rev or Pastor. Don has given the Kings Kids a new direction and a fruitful life . The ministry now has a focus of providing food clothing and the good news of Jesus Christ to the many homeless in Detroit. They are small in number but big in heart and provide a much needed void in our society. This was taken at the 2007 30th Kings Kids reunion. Kevin, a former member, now has a very fruitful prison ministry through the Fisherman's Net of Utica Michigan.

John Gratton more commonly known as "John Guy" by members of the Kings Kids is the backbone and servant of today's Kings kids ministry . We first met John as a 16 year old kid struggling to survive as a young Christian in the Brightmoor section of Detroit. He had everything going against him, a dysfunctional home, pier pressure from a crime ridden neighborhood  which idolized the gangster lifestyle. We took him under our wings as he offered to cut our grass, wash and polish our bikes, whatever it took to be accepted and welcomed into our group. It was through him that we realized the importance of having a youth ministry. From this came about the Kings Kids kids. John and his girlfriend Mary, soon became  key workers in this added dimension to the ministry. They always said they would get married and have a lot of kids and live in a big farmhouse out in the country. John has worked hard to learn the Word of God and desired to become a minister someday. He has taken enough classes to have the technical background and certainly enough experience as a minister  ( which means servant) so even without the title, he is already a minister. He and his wife Mary have nine of the most well behaved kids, all home schooled in their home (a large farm style house) in Imlay City. Although they are in the city, it is a small town in the middle of the Michigan countryside, faraway from their urban Detroit roots. Here is a picture of his family, number 10 child is soon to arrive!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob E and his new bride. Bob first came to the Kings kids back in 1980. He was a young man around 20 who never received much encouragement from his family and lacked confidence and self esteem. Bob took his new faith seriously and became an avid worker eager to volunteer for anything he could do to help. He was never a biker nor did he come from an urban environment. Bob did have a desire to share his faith to anyone who would listen. In his zeal he was willing to go into clubhouses and rides that were potentially dangerous. He overcame many obstacles because he was willing to be used. He became a riding member using a ministry bike eventually getting his own. He is one of the bravest men I have known  because of his faith and trust in the Lord to overcome personal fears ready to serve even facing danger. Through the years God replaced a courage and persistence that enabled Bob to have his own courier business, to study and pass his real estate examine to become an appraiser. He has always wanted to get married and have a family. That began to become a reality in 2007 when he was married. Recently I heard they are expecting their first any day now! He also enjoys a good relationship with his parents thanks to God's grace and mercy.

Tex is now the oldest living ex-member of the Kings Kids ministry. He was never a part of the bike ministry but became an active member of the church. Playing the guitar he was part of the music ministry. We first met Tex around 1980 while ministering at Harbor Lights. This was an inner city shelter for the homeless with an addiction program. Tex was trying to recover from alcohol. He was one of many "street people" in Detroit who used to literally eat out of dumpsters and live under overpasses and heating grates. When he finished his program he remembered the Kings Kids and we found him on the doorsteps of our church like a lost puppy with no where to go. Karen and Gene F. opened up their house to him and helped him get necessary help from SSI and re-established into society. Today Tex and his wife Mary still live in Brightmoor as homeowners. They are active in a local church and have opened up their home to many in need and now help as they were helped. Tex's life shows that anyone can change and find a good life in Christ. 

Jerry Williams the prodigal son. His story is one of the most dramatic I have ever known. Anyone who has ever ministered in the inner city dealing with poverty, drugs, gangs and the homeless knows that at times you have to turn out and away those who take advantage of kindness but do not change or repay but only take. This is one of the hardest things to do and many times you wonder as a leader if you have done the right thing for everybody involved. We are instructed in the Word that this is proper to take this kind of action in extreme cases. Jerry was one of those extreme cases. When we first met him he was 19 years old living from place to place by his wits. Jerry didn't even finish school but was an  intelligent and resourceful individual. He was also a manipulator and user. We had to eventually turn him away. It is only normal to wonder if we had failed him or was this just an exercise of futility. God had his own plans for Jerry. Years later and many trials later, Jerry was brought to his own sense of mortality and he remembered all of the people who tried to help him point the way to Jesus. Suddenly it all made sense and Jerry drastically changed his life around when he fully yielded to Christ. This new man began studying God's Word, took courses and of all things returned the grace given him to become Reverend Jerry Williams! Jerry is currently taking college courses in counseling and Pastors a ministry to the elderly. His ministry has a weekly schedule of visiting several downriver convalescent and retirement homes in the Detroit area providing Bible Studies, companionship and a sense of family to those who have been forgotten. He has a web site describing his ministry you can visit it here. h2hmin.org I have to confess I get chocked up sometimes thinking about the lost kid we had to turned away and the wonderful man of God he has become today.

This was a picture randomly taken by one of the members at the 30th Kings Kids reunion. Tim W and I are somewhat engrossed in conversation. Tim was a part of the King's Kids riding ministry for most of its history. Tim has a sharp business mind and owned several successful small business. He was a ready witness and was always bringing new people that he found, with him to our various functions.

What makes this photo special to me is the fact that it is not staged and shows two people enjoying a conversation with each other. In 1984 Tim was on the "other side" of what could be called a church split., even thought it had more to do with the motorcycle aspect of the ministry it was a split leaving hard feelings on both sides. For years there were hard feelings toward each other. In 1999 Tim offered reconciliation with an understanding only the Lord could have given him. This melted any bad feelings I had and now although I only see Tim at reunions like this, I look forward to seeing him and hearing the latest in his life. That is the way it should be, after all the heart of our whole faith is forgiveness and reconciliation.

Oh, I forgot to show you the motorcycles! You want to see bikes? I have a few photos and I hope to get better ones soon.

Gene F's. 1961 Panhead and Ed B's Panhead chopper 1977

 

All people and bikes were accepted, here is a  collection of Rice and a couple of British Bikes including a BSA and Triumph.  

 

 

Doug L, a good wrench, watching Phil kicking his bike over, Gary VP of Traverse City chapter and Don C  wondering if he will get ever get it started. Phil owned this  Harley Pahnead.

My 1951 not so vintage Panhead chopper. Gene's rare custom homemade 80 cu Inch flathead trike in the background.

What in the ???? John M wore a leg brace from a wound which was the  results from a drug ridden gang lifestyle before he came to Christ. As a club project, we built him this Honda 750 trike so he could ride with us. I believe it was a 1973 Honda inline four. Built in 1979 it was considered an act of blasphemy to Harley riders back then to add Harley parts to a Japanese bike. Soo Sorry, John enjoyed many years of ministry with it in spite of the mixture.

Well that concludes everything for now, depending on the response I get from others and and their input, will determine when additional or new postings can take place.

In His Service, Jim :)