United In Christ Ministries is the direct result of multiple faith-based organizations believing in the power of a resurrected Christ to unify them in order to proclaim His glory to the residents of the Black Hills Neighborhood.
For many years these organizations served the same community with great intentions yet separately.
God eventually led these individual grass root organizations together in order to fulfill a common vision of a community center for this small SW neighborhood. After many months of praying, dreaming and searching, God blessed these groups through Huizen Property CO with over nine thousand sq ft of warehouse space at the base of the neighborhood. Over the next year, the Holy Spirit would use the renovation, fund raising, and infrastructure of this warehouse space as a catalyst for birthing a new combined group that would be rooted in and unified by the power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
We found that our identity wasn’t within the success or failure of each ministry but within Christ himself. Although the journey was difficult at times we began to yield our own plans to unite together under our Savior and his will for all of us.
God now molds and shapes this organization we call UICM into everything He had planned for us since before the creation of the universe. To look back at where we have been and where we are now, seems like such a very long road. However, when UICM now looks to the future, we are no longer looking as separate organizations, but as one body enslaved to an all encompassing Jesus who is totally in control. Praise God!
Dorchester House Ministries
Before “UICM” Michelle Cameron and her family moved into the Black Hills from Muskegon, Michigan with no true intentions other than God had called them to Grand Rapids.
As He is so perfect at, God quickly opened up the door for them to renovate an old drug house on “Dorchester Street SW” with the help of Michelle’s husband’s new employer “Servant Center” and the support of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, MI. With many great volunteers and some much needed financial support the Cameron’s soon found themselves in the shoes of what can best be described as urban missionaries. This was not a dream fulfilled for Michelle, and quite frankly when asked, Michelle will tell you that she would never have picked an inner city urban neighborhood which has a history of violence to call home. (It is sort of funny how God’s plans for us, are sometimes not the same plans we have for ourselves.)
Within no time, The Cameron family found themselves walking the neighborhood trying to meet and greet all the new and diverse faces. What came next was the start of something only God could do. Kids started to follow the Cameron family around the neighborhood (like the pied piper)and wanted to know why they were so friendly and full of peace. After only a few weeks, Michelle had a young man come to her door and ask if she could help with some homework. If only Michelle would have known what her “sure honey” was going to turn into. Very quickly word got out that “the white lady on Dorchester” was nice and willing to help with school work. (It did not hurt that she offered up some grub as well.) Before long, Michelle needed help with all the kids that were coming by, so she asked her Mars Hill family if they could maybe help out. Yada, yada yada… a few years later Michelle and a small group of Jesus followers are tutoring students during the week at the local church in the neighborhood, and are conducting a grass roots Vacation Bible School (God’s Club) each Saturday at the local grade school that use to be active in the neighborhood. As the volunteer base began to grow, and random people began to want to contribute financially to the “Ministry” Michelle was asked what it was called. Michelle laughed a little (never really looking at it in that light) and then came up with Dorchester House Ministries. The name was catchy and had a lot of soul behind it, so the newly banned group of misfits used it when they filed for non-profit status with the IRS just a few years later.
The group has come a long way, and now has put down the name in order to graft into United In Christ Ministries, but for that small group of passionate Jesus followers, the name will always bring back so many memories, and when push comes to shove the name will always be at the center of Michelle Cameron’s heart, because it is through Dorchester House Ministries that The God of the universe flipped her world upside down. (This is the right direction, if you know what I’m saying!)
Mars Hill Bible Church
Mars Hill Bible Church has been a part of our story from the beginning.
From building relationship with Michelle Cameron and her family and providing the physical and financial assistance to allow them to live in the Black Hills, to being an open door to invite the entire Mars community to participate with what God was doing in the Black Hills. (volunteers) Mars Hill even blessed this organization financially during the warehouse reconstruction, and has always been available to support us in whatever way they can. They are a beautiful root to this ministry, and we pray that God would continue to form and define our relationship together for whatever God has in store next. Truly this ministry is what it is today because of Mars Hill Bible Church being open to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Compassion This Way
Picture couples going door to door on a specific street in the neighborhood with no presumption of what has to happen, or what words need to be said, but simply talking to people about their day, and truly listening and encouraging through a heart transformed by love.
This might mean a hug, a meal, prayer, a ride to the store or just an open ear to listen for awhile. If you can picture that, you will have a good feel for the mission of adopt a block, or “Compassion This Way”. This small group of couples that banded together in the Black Hills and other neighborhoods were very intentional about adopting individual streets in the neighborhood and being disciplined about getting to know the families.