Be our guest.

We are excited to announce YLI's new permanent housing option for visiting ministry teams, volunteer groups, and more.  The Foundry House will serve as Motown Mission and Transforming Leaders staff housing during summers and will be open to groups of all kinds as housing during their Detroit-based mission and ministry visits.  Churches, ministries, and other organizations across the city are invited to use this facility to house their own volunteers.  Longer-term residents may include intentional communities and college students.

Please visit the Foundry House Page for more details and consider yourself invited to be our guests!


Nine years ago the Motown Mission Experience started with 8 middle schoolers in one van for a week of service work.  Today we are celebrating our 9th season, this year's 550+ young volunteers and over $1.2 Million in total contributions to the City of Detroit.

Come celebrate the churches, interns, participants, volunteers and donors that have made this ministry possible!  Food, fellowship and special presentations by Motown staff and our Metro Kidz friends will be provided.

Motown Mission
Celebration Dinner
Sunday, August 4th, 2013
4-6pm @ Metropolitan UMC
8000 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48202

YLI is pleased to be leading an effort to build an online discovery, engagement, and crowdfunding tool for United Methodist connected ministries that place young adults in missional engagements around the world. will be designed to help these ministries:  engage THOUSANDS of young adults from HUNDREDS of United Methodist and other churches as they serve with DOZENS of UMC-related mission and service programs sharing God’s love and justice while discerning God’s call in their lives.   

If you'd like to hear more about revGO! please visit the site and sign up for our pre-launch email list.  Also, please let us know if you have suggestions of programs who might benefit from using the site to help their young adults raise support, tell their stories, and launch lives of ongoing missional engagement and deep discipleship.

YLI programs such at Motown Mission, Transforming Leaders, Detroit Villages, and WSU Catalyst all plan to take advantage of this new tool and we thank the Young People's Ministries of the GBOD for the DMYP Grant that has made this project possible.

Looking forward to supporting this movement of young people transforming our church and world.

The YLI Team

Motown Mission Sets Eight Year Record

DETROIT, Michigan (August 12, 2012) - In its eighth year as a Christian mission trip destination the Motown Mission Experience has completed its largest service season to date. Between March and August Motown Mission hosted almost 600 participants from 35 churches around the country - a 200 person increase from 2011. Motown Mission, a program of the United Methodist Young Leaders Initiative located in the Detroit Renaissance District, has now contributed over $842,000 in volunteer time and project materials to neighborhoods and ministries across Detroit.

Begun in 2005 as a one week trip for Middle School students from Birmingham First UMC, the Motown Mission Experience has grown into a premier mission destination for United Methodist youth and others. While in Detroit, teams are housed at Metropolitan UMC and work with ministry partners around the city like the Joy-Southfield Community Development Corporation and the NOAH Project. Work projects include home repairs, green deconstruction of vacant buildings, tree planting and urban gardening, feeding work, and helping lead the Metro Kidz Day Camp at Metropolitan UMC.

This year 10 youth groups from Michigan Area churches participated in service weeks along with 11 other UMC groups from as far away as the Dakotas Conference. Fourteen other groups from various Christian churches helped fill out the Summer during which Motown Mission hosted its largest single week ever with 130 participants in mid-July. Plus, another 16 church groups donated and served meals to the Motown participants throughout the season.

Each afternoon Motown work teams were encouraged to explore the City of Detroit through excursions to Belle Isle, the Detroit Institute of Arts, La Gloria Bakery and more. Each evening Motown Mission staff led sessions about the history of Detroit and devotions to help participants connect their hands-on work to our scriptural calling to partner with the poor. Once each week all participants were treated to a Detroit Tigers baseball game or other fun cultural event.

With a grant from the United Methodist Union of Greater Detroit and a project that raised over $5,000 the Motown Mission Experience was also able to hire 12 interns to serve as coordinators for this ministry. These college students from around Michigan and beyond led projects, hospitality, and devotional programs during the Summer. They also lived together in an intentional Christian community house in the North End neighborhood of Detroit, and spent Friday afternoons meeting with ministry leaders in order to discern God's call in their lives.

In 2013 Motown Mission will be expanding both its Spring Break and Weekend Mission Trip offerings in order to welcome even more students to Detroit for "economic disaster recovery work in the love of Jesus Christ." For more information about Motown Mission please visit


Carl Gladstone, Motown Mission Director

WSU Catalyst student walking around campus during their TOM's "Day Without Shoes" Walk to raise money and shoes for those who don't have them. By the way, it snowed that day!
Friends, this has been an amazing season of "engaging young people as leaders for the transformation of the church and world."  As you can see in the picture above, our WSU Catalyst students are busy with their ministry projects raising funds, donations, and awareness of issues in the world like poverty, shoelessness, and sharing Agape care for their peers in the midst of stressful finals!  What a great crew, and this year we've been so blessed to welcome many new supprting churches of this re-established campus ministry in Detroit.

Then we've also begun our amazing 2012 record breaking season of Motown Mission teams.  This year we welcomed two Spring Break groups and will continue in June to welcome our 530+ Motown Mission participants for economic disaster recovery work alongside our wonderful Detroit neighbors and partners.

Lastly we are celebrating the reboot of our Metro Youth Encounter program which, in partnership with the Detroit Renaissance District Youth, recently gave out $1000 in micro-grants to UMC youth groups metro-Detroit who presented innovative ministry ideas at the DRD Youth (re)Birthday Party.  In follow up and support with these youth ministries we're excited to be reclaiming our role encouraging intercultural immersive experiences that lift young people up as transformative leaders in our local congregations and communities.

This has really been a time of experiencing the wealth of young people, their energy and ministry ideas that is all around us in Detroit-area United Methodism.  Thanks for all of you who support young people in your local churches and we invite all to find ways to continue that support and mentoring of youth and young adults as we continue in ministry together.

Carl Gladstone
Director of the Young Leaders Initiative
It is that time of year again when YLI begins our search for the next class of young adults ready to spend their Summer serving God by serving others in the City of Detroit.  If you or someone you know might be a good candidate, please direct them to our shared INTERNSHIP APPLICATION.

The other piece of this exciting puzzle that we're hoping to get a jump on this year is our intern housing options.  We are looking for a house in which up to 12 interns can live, create intentional Christian community together, and

interact with their neighbors.  If you own a home, or know of possible housing options in the City, please let us know who we might contact about that.  We've found that this intentional community portion of the intern experience is deeply transformational, and gives our interns a deep love for Detroit and all God's children who live there.

Thanks for your continued support and we look forward to another awesome intern season!

Carl Gladstone
YLI Director
This year the Young Leaders Initiative continues in it's mission to engage young people as missional leaders for the transformation of the church and world.  With the support of partner churches we have expanded our programs and plan to be an integral part of the emerging ecosystem of young people's ministries in the new Detroit Renaissance District.

YLI's Motown Mission Experience roared into it's 7th Summer hosting 400 youth from around the country for weeks of Christian service in neighborhoods around Detroit.

This program and the new Metro Kidz Day Camp at Metropolitan UMC were staffed by 10 amazing college interns serving through YLI's Transforming Leaders program.  These young adults live in intentional community in Detroit, serve through various ministries, and participate in spiritual discernment about how God is calling them to serve throughout their lives.

In the Fall YLI will continue with a third year of restoring United Methodist campus ministry among the students of Wayne State University.  Now in partnership with the DAC Board of Higher Ed. and Campus Ministry, this program will be seeking sustaining partnerships with local churches who care deeply about supporting radical discipleship among college students in Detroit.

Finally, both our Metro Youth Encounter and Emergedetroit/Detroit Villages continue to nurture young people as leaders for youth ministries and as creators of new local expressions of Christian Community.  This year both will be looking at some transitions in method and focus to connect better with district youth and new church start initiatives within our Connection.

We thank all our partner churches and donors for their dedicated support this past year and look forward to continuing to celebrate together the inspiring presence and leadership of young people in our church!

Been a busy season, accepting intern apps from around the state and beyond.  Happy to let all YLI supporters know that this year's crop of young people ready to serve and live in Detroit for the Summer are stellar.  

We'll have two great teams of Transforming Leaders and Motown Mission interns living in community together and working to serve God by serving others.  One team will be coordinating Projects, Program, and Hospitality for Motown Mission weeks.  The other will be helping launch a new neighborhood children's program with Metropolitan UMC in memory of Mary Ryckman - a long time member there and friend of us here at YLI who had a passion for nurturing young people in the faith and who passed away this past New Years.

All this, along with our record breaking numbers for Motown Mission (400 or so participants over 7 weeks!) will make Summer 2011 a real watershed year in the ministry life of YLI.

If you would like to support YLI by supporting one of our programs/projects I invite you to visit our Crowdrise page and either become a donor, or a viral fundraiser by starting your own project to support YLI.

Thanks and peace,
Over the years YLI's Metro Youth Encounter has sought to gather youth from various churches around metropolitan Detroit, give them intercultural experiences, and help them develop as leaders for the church and world.  We're excited today to announce a new plan to accomplish these central components of the Metro Youth Encounter.

Starting this Fall, a new series of 3 larger YOUTH ENCOUNTER RETREATS will take the place of our smaller MYE convenant group experience.  These retreats will gather youth together, give workshop space for different ministry tracks (Connectional & Local Church Leadership, Missional Life, Ministry in the City, and Hearing God's Call), AND feature ministry project grant awards of up to $500.

It's our hope that these retreats will be able to celebrate and nurture the already-present energy of youth in ministry in our area and provide a space for hundreds of youth each year to gather, and towitness to the ways in which God is calling them to lead the church right now.

Click here to read more about the new Youth Encounter or email us to register your group today!
So glad to be officially kicking off our search for this Summer's team of talented and dedicated college students to serve as Transforming Leaders and Motown Mission interns.  This is a great opportunity for college students to spend a summer doing missional work in the Motor City, living in intentional community, and participating in vocational and spiritual discernment.  

If you know of a college student who might be interested in serving with us, please send them a link to the 2011 Summer Internship Application or to the TL and Motown Mission page at

Each year since 2006 YLI has hosted an amazing group of students for this important and life-changing work, and we're excited to offer 2011 as another banner year for service in this city.  

Thanks and peace,
Carl Gladstone
YLI/Motown Mission Director

    Mission of YLI

    Engaging young people as missional leaders for the transformation of the church and world.

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