Connell Green September 7, 1964 – June 29, 2020

Connell lived and ministered in a community where CEF has served in Downtown Durham for 20 years

From Christ Central Church, where both Connell and I have attended for 5 years:

We are heartbroken to share that Connell Green passed away on Monday, June 29, 2020, of liver failure.

Connell was one of Christ Central’s earliest members. We will miss Connell’s bold prayers, his wise and prophetic spirit, his knowledge of scripture, and how easily he called upon God’s Word. We’ll miss his infectious laughter and his smile that could light up an entire room. We’ll miss the way Connell was quick to offer encouragement, to strangers and friends alike. In fact, to Connell, everyone was a friend. He knew no stranger

Connell loved people well. Most recently, we witnessed this as he championed his neighbors from McDougald Terrace who were displaced together for many months. He admirably cared for others in the midst of a really difficult situation. 

Connell’s entrepreneurial spirit was inspiring. He loved baking cookies and sharing them with others. He was a family man who shared his love for his children and grandchildren often. Connell loved to dance. He was a Jobs for Life graduate and an author. 

We grieve Connell’s loss. We also grieve a reality that prevents us from attending his funeral or hosting a celebration for him at this time. We plan to honor Connell’s life in-person when it is safe to do so. Though we find assurance in knowing that Connell is with his Savior Jesus in Heaven, we miss him so much already.

“The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t put words to paper. The problem was I couldn’t get those words to make sense. That’s because I wasn’t clear on my objective. I was trying to say too much and, as result, I was saying nothing.” writes Brenda Barbosa The One Sentence That Will make You a More Effective Speaker Wow! I can so identify with her statements. I will share a few more of her comments as well as mine to my friends who have so much passion for their mission and truly have something to say.

“This… will make all your speeches clear, concise, and compelling.”

If your audience is often confused and lost:

Here’s a few tips for becoming more effective when you communicate as you speak and write

  • Distill your thoughts into one succinct takeaway for the audience/reader — it’s your big idea
  • Choose a topic out of your big idea and focus on it
    • Without a big idea to light the way, you’ll wander aimlessly through draft after draft of your speech… you’ll become so tired of going in circles you’ll simply want to give up or, worse, you’ll decide to “wing it.” …jotting down some notes, throw together a few slides, slap on a title, and call it a presentation.
  • Determine what inspires you about the topic
    • This is usually your area of expertise or passion
  • Articulate your inspiration (idea) with one sentence
    • Think of the single sentence as a lighthouse guiding you through fog. If you become overwhelmed with an abundance of data or competing themes, the single sentence will help you stay on track.
  • Note: Any piece of data, story, or anecdote that doesn’t jive with your single sentence should be trashed (probably can be used later with another talk and newsletter)

“Anyone who has an idea worth sharing is capable of giving a powerful talk,” Anderson writes in his book, TED Talks: The Official Guide to Public Speaking. “The only thing that truly matters in public speaking is not confidence, stage presence, or smooth talking. It’s having something worth saying.”

Summer training via CEF Ministries of North Carolina Durham Area Chapter and Camps for City Kids are underway (virtually for now) #Zoom #GoogleMeet #teens #interns #dns_readingcamp #citykids #cityreach cyiatraining #summermissions

Reading and academic sessions, Bible (CEF 5-Day Clubs), etiquette classes, life skills, character development (Power & Light), and some health & wellness mixed in weekly provides a full schedule of relevant and helpful opportunities for students who will be starting a new school year in grades 4-8th in August. These camps run for 6-weeks June 15th-July 23rd.

Sponsorships are still needed for kids to attend our summer and fall camps. Tax-deductible donations are received at Camps for City Kids.

Engagement Strategies

Portions of this series will be presented in short segments during CEF of North Carolina statewide staff WebEx meetings and completely with full discussions and strategy sessions when feasible per COVID-19 restrictions. All are welcome to read and Q/A with me, but the live series will be presented to NC staff. Topics to be expanded into strategies and discussed:

  • Resource Development
  • Donor Development
  • Ministry Development
  • Operational System Development

Camps for City Kids will be held for 4 consecutive days during the summer months and school holiday sessions.  These camps emphasize putting God first in every aspect of play and life.  Building solid athletic skills and strong Christian character during drills and team play are expected of every camper. Basketball, Soccer, and Tennis are regularly offered, but other sports like Wrestling, Baseball, Football, and Black-top Games have been held in the past. Sports camps, clinics, and tennis academies are typically held in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Fitness and healthy lifestyles are emphasized during all sessions.

As with everyone, almost, COVID-19 has thrust uncertainty and even cancellation into many great events, vacations, and efforts for kids this summer. However, we are still planning and preparing for these camps in the event we can keep our schedule of 6-weeks June 15-July 23, 2020. If we have to alter and adjust the schedule, then we will still be ready for the kids. So, please sponsor-a-city kid to attend a camp this summer using any of the donate buttons on the CEF Durham site or via our Facebook Fundraiser.

It needs unique strategies and truthful answers to children’s tough questions.

Since all clubs, schools, and camps are cancelled addressing care and prevention of COVID-19, CEF Durham, as many other organizations and agencies, is praying, brainstorming, and planning in many venues and modes of communication. Thus, we are innovating and adjusting how we minister to children and families. Some brief and direct contact with families has occurred to bring supplies, helps, breakfast, and the “Do You Wonder Why?” booklets to each home and child enrolled in CEF clubs.

Though we cannot be directly with the children in our clubs and camps, we are continuing to teach and love the kids in our weekly outreach and discipleship meetings via Zoom calls, web-based teaching, and prayer. Here are other FREE Resources CEF is providing for children, families, and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Do not fear and be encouraged.

Disruptions are defined as a disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process. Thus, it’s fair to say, disruptions happen regularly, randomly, and even repetitively.

“Disruption is hard, Carey Nieuwhof writes in his blog, because disruption is inconvenient. It’s far easier to keep doing what you’re doing hoping for better results. But just know this: being disrupted is far more painful than deciding to disrupt yourself.” Listening and being prepared as well as being prudent are absolutes in our world of change, trends, flux, aka disruption, whether in ministry, business, or in any type of leadership position.

With that in mind, here are several predicted and active disruptive trends in ministry and leadership that will rule 2020, says Nieuwhof, which are worth knowing and using to evaluate your ministry and/or leadership.

  1. Content-based ministry will decline — Missions and movements will grow: Emphasizing moments and movements and mission are more critical than ever. People don’t just want to know what’s true, they want to know what’s real. And what’s real is deeper than just an idea—it’s an experience.
  2. Growing churches and ministries tend to be led by younger leaders. As a result, the older you get, the less likely you are to innovate, meaning methods. Innovation drives growth and connections with emerging generations. When the methods atrophy, the mission dies.
  3. If you’re looking to deepen the impact of your ministry in 2020, think better prepared/delivered messages, not more messages or ministry events. Quality beats quantity. Everyone will be better.
  4. The middle is disappearing from our culture. This middle is where average lives. The middle is trying to reach everybody. People are gravitating to and seeking smaller, high-quality, and interpersonal gatherings where they can grow spiritually in an interactive faith community. Many restless Christians are moving towards the other extreme of Christian community in mega churches. The extreme ends or the high and the low of churches, business, marketplace, and ministries are thriving. Increase the quality and accessibility of what people need and want.
  5. Insight and access are now more valuable than information. When information is free, it’s no longer valuable because scarcity drives value. And now there’s so much of it no one knows how to process it. Content is everywhere but insight and access are not, there’s a value inversion that’s happening right now in live events.

So, what does all this mean or just suggest? “Leading people to Jesus in a world that’s moving away from Jesus is an increasingly difficult challenge…and increasingly larger opportunity.”

Carey Nieuwhof

Reflect on this content and the full articles by Carey Nieuwhof. Gain insight via access of meeting and discussing these matters with your staff, business teams, and ministry leaders. Factor and apply any adjustments or action points gained for your organization.

For 26 years, Child Evangelism Fellowship in the Durham Area has reached city kids primarily within their neighborhoods, community programs, and sometimes in their schools.  Through our Good News Clubs, sports camps, and collaborative events with dozens of ministry partners, we’ve been able to share the Gospel with children of all ages.  During these 26 years, thousands have accepted Christ as their Savior and their lives have been changed.  Hundreds of children and youth are enrolled in weekly discipleship each year.

We are also asking for 500 sponsorships of $100/each to send city kids to one or more of our camps this summer – 500/100. Some of our camps include the following:

In order to continue these efforts, we need your help more than ever. Thank you for supporting this mission in order to expand the outreach to unchurched children and families in our local area!

Building solid athletic skills and strong christian character!

Ministry Vision for City Kids: CEF Durham Area Chapter in North Carolina

The vision for City Kids is simple – to visit under resourced and marginalized communities and deliver a  comprehensive gospel impact. We are faced with many questions in our calling, but it is in our search for the answer that we strive to spread the Gospel to all. Is God powerful enough to keep kids away from gangs? Does the Word of God still accomplish what it says in the current day & age? What if The Church at Durham took seriously its responsibility for taking the Gospel to city kids and youth? What if for 10 years a collaboration of churches and ministries comprehensively served the 10 most physically and spiritually needy communities of Durham?

For the past 10 years (2008-2018) CEF Durham, along with a select group of collaborating agencies, ministries, and churches, have addressed the spiritual, physical, and social needs of 10 Durham communities. During these 10 years, the number of communities actually increased to 12, sometimes 14, of which were being served. There were many stories of individual lives transformed by the Gospel and tireless volunteers consistently caring for these children and their families.

A few collaborators and volunteers burned-out along the way, while most labored weekly, yearly, to see the spiritual atmosphere change from darkness to Light in many homes and throughout the communities where they served. Most of the children born and raised in these communities never knew life without their Good News Club.

Today, we continue to engage some of the same communities and others where crime and evil still dominate life, even if intermediately. There is still spiritual darkness, an orphan/poverty mindset within these communities where kids are not expected to succeed. These are the communities where the words: at-risk, under-resourced, and marginalized are still experienced everyday by its residents. These are the communities where God has been rejected, yet screams out to be glorified! This is where the Lord desires that the residents welcome Him back — into their homes and into their communities.

Recently re-published in IMPACT magazine

CEF Durham along with partnering ministries and local Christians have developed an Urban Missions Network for listening to each other, developing new strategies and strengthening best efforts, which will focus on each identified community for the next 10 years (2019-2029). A simple strategy of biblical, holistic discipleship will be used. Our vision is to see city kids and families transformed by the Gospel. Indigenous residents will be enabled to lead their own communities in biblical transformation and Christian community development. This would include, but not limited to, evangelism, discipleship, academic tutoring, creative arts, sports/recreation, medical services, life skills, and economic/job training.  

Questions / Comments / Help?
Contact CEF Durham / John Blake
919.630.9434 c / 919.399.1979 o

Coaching football, basketball, wrestling and camps for over 45 years

I mentioned around Christmas that I would be letting the public know, as we enter 2020, how you can join me in HONORING Coach Larry Parrish and his family for 45+ years coaching and developing many student-athletes, coaches, and maybe even you. Coach Parrish said several times to me, “Doc, tell my players to Sponsor a City Kid for your CEF sports camps and character development.” So, here goes — that’s a $100 donation/camper to sponsor a local city kid to attend one or more of our More Than Gold sports, Power & Light reading, character-building, and academic camps which will be offered this spring, summer, and fall of 2020.

For over 45 years Coach Parrish‘s goal has been developing young athletes into good players and even better people. During those 45 years of coaching, he coached football, basketball, and wrestling at these Durham schools – Githens, Jordan, Southern, Riverside Pirates as well as directing the Prep Stars, Junior Prep Stars, and More Than Gold basketball camps.

Many who know of Coach Parrish, think of him only as a basketball coach, however, when I first met Coach P, he was extremely passionate about football. He said recently, “Doc, I never thought of coaching basketball back (1968) when you were in my typing class at Githens Middle School. Football was my sport.” Coach Parrish would soon become the most successful football coach in Jordan High School history until recent gridiron success of the Falcons. He also coached the first wrestling team at Jordan in 1972.

Today, Coach has his toughest coaching task of his life… and he loves it! Andy Parrish — Coach’s son, that many of you know, suffered a debilitating head injury back in 2012 while Coach Parrish was working hard to reach city kids with summer basketball camps. Since that day Larry & Alana Parrish have cared for Andy, everyday — all day. Andy has made some progress over the past 7 years, but it’s still a full time job of L.P.T. (Larry Parrish Training aka physical therapy).

Coach Parrish made a promise to Andy, very much like he made to his former players — “I’m here for you. I’ll do whatever I can and whatever you will allow me towards you becoming the best athlete and person possible.” Andy is being coached by his dad, just like an athlete, to achieve an incredible mental and physical goal. We’re calling this The Parrish Promise. CEF and myself are making the same promise to hundreds of city kids in our area. We’re teaming up with Coach and continuing his promise.

Since Coach is unable to be on the court, field, or mat doing what he loved for 45 years, he is asking for your support to send 500 city kids to camps in 2020. If you were one of Coach Parrish’s players, campers, students, fellow coaches, or just someone who cares about city kids, here’s how you can help Coach fulfill his Parrish Promise.

Reply now by making a donation at this link so that city kids can attend one or more of our sports camps in 2020. https://gospeltokids.org/share-good-news-campaign/ This is the organization, CEF Durham Area, which John Blake is Executive Director and camp founder.

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