Nicholas Hood III Ministries

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Why I Still Do Youth Ministry

Why I Still do Youth Ministry:


Yesterday, I invited the Sunday School from my church to my home for a cookout and “Play Date.” Yes, in my 41st year as an ordained minister, and my 32nd year as pastor, I still engage in limited youth ministry. Before I was ordained into the ministry, in 1976, for my last two years as an undergraduate in college, I led a dynamic, very large youth ministry.


Thinking back upon that time in my life, I would say I was a better pastor to the junior high school youth ministry than I am as a fully ordained senior minister and pastor. The reason why I say this is that between 1974 and 1976, my life was far less complicated than now. Back then, my primary responsibilities were to study and play trombone in an R & B band. When I was 19, my father, who was pastor of the church, asked me to build a youth ministry for junior high school aged youth. The church had a robust and vibrant senior high youth ministry, and my father wanted to complete the circle by creating a youth ministry for younger children.

I accepted the challenge. My junior high youth ministry began with about eight youth and expanded to over 100 children, with an average of about 40 or 50 youth in attendance each Sunday evening in the lower level of the church. After each meeting, I would ask the children to go upstairs to the sanctuary for a brief prayer and devotional. Following prayer, we would go back downstairs, spin records and have a social hour with dancing and fellowship. I wish I could honestly tell you that I came up with this concept all on my own.

What I did with the junior high school youth ministry was to follow what I saw in Randy Evans, who was the church youth advisor when I was in high school. Randy was one of the best, genuine, and committed youth leaders I ever met. So, while I was also a very successful youth leader, my model was based on what I had experienced as a high school student as part of a dynamic youth ministry.

46 years later, even though my pastoral duties pull me in a thousand different directions, I still engage in limited youth ministry. While I no longer lead a regular Sunday evening youth meeting, or organize and chaperone Friday night youth dances and week-long Black College Tours, I still personally conduct a ten-week Confirmation of Faith Class at my home, where my wife prepares a meal for the youth and I talk about various aspects of the Christian Faith and church membership.

Yesterday, I invited the Sunday School over to my home for a cookout and games. After we ate, I invited the children to walk with me to the park at the end of the block which backs on the Detroit River. The park has a nice play scape and basketball court. The children had a ball and I kept telling myself, “This is why I went into the ministry.”

I think about the children I took to the park yesterday, and remind myself that several of my current leaders and officers in the church today were in my first youth group as junior high school students. My encouragement to all reading this post, particularly pastors, that we in the ministry might never become so overwhelmed and consumed with leading a congregation, that we forget the importance of ministering to children, when their minds, hearts and bodies are most receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 6: Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.[1]


Questions for Reflection:

  1. What do you find most rewarding about interacting with youth and children?
  2. What aspects of youth ministry are most challenging for you?


Prayer: Lord, grant me a willing spirit. Humble my heart, that I might be patient with children and the young adult. Touch my temper, that I might find the right words and actions as I seek creative ways to discipline the children in my life. Lord, help me to expose children with the best of ideas, the best of skills, the best of love. Lord, grant me a willing and humble spirit as I offer my best to the children of the world. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at

More about the ministry, mission, prayers and publications of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at



[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Dt 6:4–7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Own Nothing but Love!

Own Nothing, but Love!  –


This Sunday, I am preaching about love – specifically, a “Mission of Love.” The mission of the early church, the first century church, was love.   The Apostles sold their possessions and gave to others and each other as was needed. To me, this was a “Mission of love.” A little later in the first century, Paul begins to elaborate about love. One of his most thoughtful comments on love is found in Romans 13 –

Romans 13: Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. [1]

In the 13th chapter of his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul breaks down love in the most simple, basic and clear to understand manner –

1 Corinthians 13: The Gift of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. [2]


One might wonder, how can I “Owe no one anything, except to love,” when a person is acting mean to me? How can I “Owe love” when I have been disrespected, humiliated, and abused? My thought on this subject may seem simple. I believe the challenge of Jesus Christ is that we love others always. Love does not require that we be humiliated and put up with humiliation. What it does require is that we not allow ourselves to stoop to hate. It is possible to disagree and distance yourself from others without resorting to violence, meanness and hatred. I also believe that it is possible to challenge the hate and disrespect of others without resorting to a similar mindset of those who would do harm. This what I believe Paul is talking about when he says, “No one anything but love”


Questions for Reflection:

  1. What do you think Paul means when he says, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another”?
  2. What would you say are the elements or qualities of love?


Prayer: Lord, show me how to grow in love. Free my heart that I might learn to care. Open my soul that I might share.  Lord, grant me the strength to love. Grant me the strength to love those who have taken my love, used my love, benefited from my love, and humiliated me in love. Help me to forgive. Bless me in love. Build me in love. Show me the ways of love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 13:8–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Co 13:1–13). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Press Conference Today at 10 AM

The Cross in the inner ring of the Roman Colisieum

The following statement on racial unity and harmony will be shared by black and white pastors and other people of faith at a press conference today at 10AM EST at the Plymouth United Church of Christ, 600 E. Warren Ave. Detroit Michigan:

Today, we stand together to condemn the recent acts of racial violence and hatred that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia this past Saturday which caused the death of one woman, two state troopers and serious injuries to innocent people. As men and women of faith, we vehemently oppose such verbal and physical violence committed in the name of white nationalism and supremacy.

So, we are gathered here, Black and White pastors, and people of faith and good will to support racial equality, racial harmony and peace and an understanding and celebration of our differences and our commonalities. Together, with our Creator, we are determined to overcome this evil.


Today, we commit to the following:

1.To commit to be advocates for peace, justice, equality and the elimination of racial hate, prejudice, bigotry and intolerance

2. To educate friends, family and community of faith to recognize hate and injustice and to work for justice and equality in America.

3. To reach beyond the boundaries of comfort in ethnicity and race to strive together for the beloved community of harmony as preached by Jesus Christ.

4.To challenge hate, injustice, inequality, and intolerance anytime, anyplace, and anywhere.

5.To encourage our church or community of faith, this Sunday to initiate prayers for peace, justice and equality and to transcend racial hate and bigotry.




Mission of Love – Free Computers to Inner City Youth!

Dear Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III,

Sometimes we do not take the time to even realize how the smallest things make the world of a difference in our lives. 10 years ago, from today, you all blessed me with my first original dell desktop computer. This computer holds a ton of meaningful memories – and not just in its hard drive. I received my computer in my 3rd grade year at Spain Elementary and Middle School, for having an exceptional grade point average. Honestly, I never give it much thought to value it more than just a tangible gift. As a young adult, I realized that what you have given me was far more than just a computer but an investment in my educational success.

Yes, this was not only my first computer, but the only desktop computer I ever owned in my entire life. Before receiving it, often I would have to stay after school a little longer, while other times my mother would take me to the local library to complete my school-work. Now, having a computer, I was able to access and learn so many things like the Microsoft Office programs such as Word and Power Point. Better than that, once I started to get the feel of techniques, math skills, and phonetic development practice. With this, I could learn a wider range of the material that I was learning in school. The coolest thing about this experience was that I was now able to learn and study in the comfort of my own home. This meant I could access the computer whenever I wanted to and grow from there! Not to mention, now having a computer truly made an impact on my performance in the classroom. I was also one of the only kids in my class who knew how to access a computer with its special buttons and keys, which put me at a notable advantage. I loved my desktop.

It was not until about two years before I started college, that my mother decided to purchase me a laptop. This was for mobility reasons, of course. And with this, everywhere I went, she made sure that I would complete all my work without any excuses. I am currently entering my second year as an honors student at Tennessee State University, studying Early Childhood Education. Avoiding using technology in our world today is like ignoring a generation. We have a wealth of knowledge at our finger tips that must be discovered, investigated, and learned.

Especially for us as Christians, we are set out to do good with everything in our reach that the Lord has given us. While reading a couple of verses off a computer hardly compares to having a real -life physical Holy Bible in our hands, we still can use technology for beneficial uses such as outreach and communication with our fellow brothers and sisters. It is also imperative that our youth have the same opportunity to become tech-savvy because it will not only help them advance in their schooling, but in their personal lives as well. Though it is rapidly growing and evolving day by day, so are the minds of our children. I believe instead of allowing those who are not in our best interest to use it against us, why not take it on and learn if for ourselves- doing more good than evil. Nothing is impossible with our almighty most powerful and high God! I thank you, Plymouth United Church of Christ and Rev. Hood, for supporting me in my blessed road to success and investing in my education. I pray that you will continue to be able to do so for other children in serious need and that your gift to them will bless them just as much, if not more, than it has blessed me. I look forward to paying it forward.

Thank you.


NiJaia B. Bradley

Note:  If you would like to donate a new computer to an inner-city youth in Detroit, Michigan, the cost is $600 per computer.  You can make a computer donation on line at  or

for more information, call Plymouth United Church of Christ at 313-831-2460


Robbers of Grief

“Robbers of Grief”


The “Grief Robber” is the person who makes it difficult for you to grieve. Death is never easy and usually sad. What makes death worse is when we are not allowed to fully grieve. For example: it is hard to fully grieve when someone says or does something to cheapen or diminish a death. Before the body is cold, some people will say horrible things about the deceased. In other cases, before you can bury the dead, family or friends might talk about you or go out of their way to diminish your relationship with the dead. Sometimes, we cannot grieve because family members are fighting over money. Other times, we cannot grieve because we do not have enough money to bury the dead. In other cases, sometimes we find out things about the deceased we never knew: children outside wedlock; wife or husband you did not know, hidden money, disappeared money…Maybe in death, you learned something about your mother, father, husband or wife, sister or brother, that has given you an ambivalent feeling about their death. In each of these cases, something or someone “Robs” you of the ability to fully grieve.

There have been a few times in my “Storied” pastoral career when people have said or done things that were intentionally designed to hurt my feelings. I can deal with slights, because there is a cold, tough, element of my personality which is difficult to crack, but what really bothers me is when I feel someone has robbed me of my opportunity to grieve, because the process of grief is how we emotionally recover from death.

In the story of Rizpah, a former wife of King Saul, Rizpah keeps a daily vigil over the decomposed bodies of her two sons that have been impaled and left exposed to the elements. When David hears of her death-vigil, he has the dead bodies removed and provides them a proper burial as well as a proper burial for Saul and his son Jonathan.

I am preaching today at noon about “Grief Robbers.” I invite you to join me for worship at the Plymouth United Church of Christ, 600 E. Warren Ave. Detroit, Michigan. If you cannot attend, I invite you to check out the worship service on Facebook Live at Plymouth United Church of Christ Detroit.


2 Samuel 21: 10 Then Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it on a rock for herself, from the beginning of harvest until rain fell on them from the heavens; she did not allow the birds of the air to come on the bodies by day, or the wild animals by night.[1]


Questions for Reflection:

  1. When have you felt that someone or someone “Robbed” you of your grief?
  2. What are the best ways to deal with people and situations that threaten to steal your opportunity to grieve?


Prayer: Lord, help me with my grief. Provide me with opportunities to celebrate the lives of those who have gone on in glory. Teach me to be unashamed to cry, uninhibited to rejoice, and unabashed in my praise of you for the promise of eternal life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Sa 21:10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

20 Persons to be Baptized Sunday at 7 AM in the Detroit River!

DSC_7532 internet version


20 Persons to be Baptized in the Detroit River, Sunday August 12, 2017!

-James Morris, Frances Clemmons, Anthony Jones, Michael Daniels, Melissa Jones, Suane Loomis-Washington, Mark Northcross, Lynda Northcross, Oliver Northcross, Broooklyn Northcross, azure Northcross. Marcus Skinner, Mya Skinner, Aniya Jones, Anthony Jones, Bryce Washington, Eve Washington, Celine Washington, Cionne Jones, Charles Jones, Jr.,

Come, Witness this Spiritual Moment!


Luke 3: 16 John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire[1]


Sunday, August 12, 2017

Belle Isle Beach

7 Am


Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III, Pastor and Senior Minister

Plymouth United Church of Christ

600 E. Warren Ave.

Detroit, Michigan 48201


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 3:16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Children are Still Children – Thank God!

Children are Still Children – Thank God!

photo of the children in front of me who came to the church for camp applications



This past Thursday at 2 PM, I led a devotional/ worship service for 46 children who attended an overnight camp in Oscoda, Michigan that was sponsored by the Plymouth United Church of Christ, which is where I pastor.

At one point, I sought out some girls and boys who live near my church which is in the inner city of Detroit. These boys and girls had descended upon me one day, late in the day, to pick up applications to attend the free camp.

When I saw these same children at camp I had spoken with a few weeks ago in the reception area of the church, it was quite refreshing to me to be reminded that they and the other kids in attendance are still children. What I mean by this statement is that myself and other adults get older every year, but children are reproduced and recreated as a reminder to the rest of us that life goes on.

The children at our Boys and Girls Overnight Camp are refreshing to see and interact with. Their enthusiasm, creative outlook on life and the world in which we live can be contagious. As I talked with the children about David and Goliath, and what it took for young David to beat Goliath, and challenged them to think of themselves as young “David’s”, I thought to myself that there was nothing in my schedule that even remotely was more significant and worthwhile than spending time encouraging these youths.

I came into the ministry through youth ministry. I am a better, stronger, wiser senior minister because I first worked with young people. I hope I never become so full of myself that I lose patience with children. I have always believed that a vibrant youth ministry is the foundation for the sustainability of the world. Youth ministry is also the foundation for the church. Many of my current lay- leadership persons at the church I pastor, were active in a junior high school youth ministry I led as an undergraduate in college. My point is that it is very important for the church world-wide to provide significant spiritual experiences for youth, because not only will the young save the church, but they will also save the world.

Matthew 18: and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What did Jesus see in children that caused him to say that “Unless you become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…”?
  2. What does it mean to become, “Humble like this child”?


Prayer: Lord, make me humble. Lord, grant me a receptive spirit that thirsts for knowledge, and hungers for righteousness. Lord, work with the hardness of my heart. Teach me to forgive. Enlarge my vision, that I might run with the angels, dream above and beyond the mountains, a swim in deep water. Lord, make me humble. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and savior I pray. Amen.



Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Clinton Griffin

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mt 18:3–5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Jesus Blesses the Children!

Bless the Children ‘

Thursday morning, I am driving with Walter Rushing and Clinton Griffin to Oscoda, Michigan for the opening day of a summer camp for boys and girls that is sponsored by my church, the Plymouth United Church of Christ, which is in Detroit, Michigan. 46 boys and girls from the neighborhood immediately near the church, plus a few children from Flint, Michigan, will stay at the camp for the next four days and nights. I will be leading an outdoor worship service at 2 PM EST, with a beautiful lake as a backdrop. Walt Rushing will lead praise and worship songs. I asked Clinton Griffin to help with the driving. Atty. Lois Collins is the director of the camp. Her husband, Atty. Jeffery Collins is the assistant director of the camp. Several church members volunteer to assist with the camp.

A Few weeks ago, the doorbell of the church rang and about 10 children bustled in asking if they could fill out the application to attend the free camp that we sponsor. The children were so excited and hopeful for the opportunity to attend the camp. I asked them if they knew who I am and if any of them had ever attended the church. I was pleased to hear many of them say they remembered me from the camp and that they knew I was the minister of the church. It was really touching to see how interested the children were in attending the camp. Seeing those children reminded me why our church sponsors this camp. The camp is free for the children, but the total cost to the church is $15,000. One club in the church, the Pilot Club, has raised the funds to cover the expense of the camp.

If you would like to see what the camping experience looks like, check out my page on Facebook, Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 2 PM EST. As I think about what we are trying to accomplish with the camp: taking inner city youth away from the concrete, brick and steel of the cold city, to expose the children to the fresh water of the lake, clean, fresh air, birds, bugs, and frogs – I believe we are acting in a manner that Jesus would have us to act, by blessing the children. Pray for us and for the children.

Mark 10: 13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Why do you think Jesus was so affirming of children?
  2. How can the modern Christian affirm Jesus like Jesus?


Prayer: Lord, help me to affirm children in their hopes and aspirations. Grant that I might live my life in such a manner that I might be an inspiration to children. Lord, teach me to encourage parents in their efforts to raise their children. Grant that I might never be too busy to take time to talk with a child, encourage a child and to love the children. Help me this day to be more like you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at

More about the ministry, mission, prayers and publications of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Mk 10:13–16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Yesterday was our 41st Wedding Anniversary!

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