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