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A Leader of Today

A Leader of Today
When KJ Pearson hosted a drive-by birthday party for her son, many in the neighborhood celebrated with them.

Young adults are often described as “leaders of the future” or “the future of the church.” But in reality, they are not just leaders of the future—they are leaders of the church today.

KJ Pearson is one of those leaders.

This past winter and spring, Pearson participated in Cohort Detroit, a Resonate Global Mission initiative. Cohort is a discipleship opportunity for young adults to serve in a grassroots ministry, learn in community, and engage in deep spiritual formation while wrestling with challenging conversations about faith, mission, social justice, and more. Cohort is one of the ways Resonate is working to equip young adults for mission and support them in their ministries.

Pearson serves as house supervisor for Hesed Community Church’s ministry house in Detroit’s Morningside neighborhood.

“When we were first exploring the neighborhood,” she said, “we found the house on my birthday two years ago. I thought it was the absolute most beautiful house. It was abandoned. It was empty. It needed work. But God said, ‘Be in this house,’ and I ran with that.”

For the past two years, Pearson has been intentional about praying for the neighborhood, connecting with neighbors, and finding opportunities to minister. Sometimes that looks like comforting a woman who just lost her only son. Sometimes it looks like buying ice cream for young people in the neighborhood. Sometimes it means opening the ministry house so people can do their laundry.

“If you need prayer, if you need someone to talk to, if you just need a hug, if you just need some candy or toilet paper, that’s what I’m there for,” Pearson said. “I’m that neighbor you can always call or knock on the door. 

“KJ is just an incredibly gracious person in terms of having this capacity to bridge-build and hold a lot of different people, opinions, and perspectives together and come at that with a very non-judgemental presence. She extends a lot of grace to people,” said Nathan Groenewold, director of Cohort Detroit.

While serving at the ministry house, Pearson joined Cohort Detroit to grow and learn more as a ministry leader. In addition to being a house supervisor, she also works full time and is the mother of a three-year-old. She’s busy, but said that Cohort Detroit has provided a supportive community that encourages her to prioritize spending time with God.

“I consider it almost like a college course or class I go to,” she said. “We look forward to seeing each other every week.”

Since moving into the ministry house in Morningside, Pearson said she has seen the neighborhood “glow up.” She notices people spending more time outside together, and young people in the neighborhood are constantly coming over to the house to spend time with her son.

“This is the heart of God,” she said. “This is what it means to share your life with other people.”

But she knows God’s work in the neighborhood is not finished yet, and neither is her work. “It can always be a little bit brighter,” she said.

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