City kids, who respond to the Gospel: The Message of Salvation, usually have little biblical foundation. Consequently many need to have the truths of the Gospel reiterated to help bring about real spiritual change in their lives and to help them relate to God in a personal way.  City kids must hear the truth over and over for establishing this foundation.

A Different Strategy

So, how do we present the Gospel to city kids?  Several years ago the Lord gave us something thousands in our area know as the 7 Most Important Things in the World—a list of seven simple phrases that all children need to know and can understand.

Knowing the value of repetition, the 7 Most Important Things in the World (or 7MIT) are taught to every child, four years old and up. Teachers give progressive instruction and drill their students on the 7MIT every class session, similar to learning a mini catechism. Every child is expected to master the list and their truths.

An Urban Appeal

The 7MIT are simple, easy to learn, yet profound. They become the central and foundational points of reference for all teaching. We have developed a song to go with this list and the kids love it! They always want to sing it more than once.

As city kids respond to the Gospel during counseling I hear them answer questions based on the 7MIT. Why is Jesus the only way to Heaven? They answer, “Because of numbers 2, 4, and 5, Jesus never sinned, Jesus died for me and Now Jesus lives!” The 7MIT is shouted in unison, sung with body movements, recited during game time, prayed and remembered in kids’ testimonies. Whether in the classroom or on the street a spiritual foundation is continuously being built.

Results are Real

Fridays are usually busy for me with last minute preparations. Lesson visuals, props for object lessons, and game supplies must be ready for the next day. One particular Friday I needed to make a quick run to the store for prizes. Unfortunately it turned out not to be quick.

It would not have been a problem, but Friday is the day I visit all the kids in my district who attend the Saturday event. I began to think this was not going to work. Maybe the kids would understand if I did not show up. I was going to be late and not have time to visit everyone anyway. But I had made a promise to God and to the kids that I would visit every week.

I finally got out of the store, got into my car, picked up my student assistant, and rushed over to the inner city neighborhood. I explained the situation to him and we prayed for God to connect us with every child regardless of our situation. We had our promotional flyers in hand and darted out of the car. Because time was short, we agreed to divide up the list of kids and go in different directions.

Both of us had to maneuver around a large area, which had been barricaded by yellow crime scene tape, to get to the sixty apartment buildings in that neighborhood. Over a dozen police officers were present asking questions and showing a display of force. I began to wonder, if we would be able to visit even one child that day. However, with the excitement all the residents were outside.

We quickly began to ask people what happened as we handed them a flyer. Many were concerned for their kids. Others were angry and used profanity at the police. The kids told us that men were fighting in the street and one got stabbed to death. My heart was once again saddened that these children accepted such things as normal events. I mistakenly thought, “What good are we really doing? Did it matter to anyone?”

Immediately I got the answer to my question as I heard Mustafa and Quanisha scream, “Hey Mr. John!”  I went over to talk with them and their mother.

After giving them and other kids a flyer I made sure they knew when to be ready for bus pick up the next morning. Everyone wanted to talk about the stabbing so I tried to listen knowing that I had to keep moving. As soon as there was a break in the chatter I asked if anyone had learned all the 7 Most Important Things in the World?

Mustafa spoke up saying, “I know them.”  He rattled off each one in perfect order with no breaks or stumbles. Wow! That was amazing I said.

I asked Mustafa to explain the meaning of what he just quoted. He simply stated “Jesus is the One who saves us from our sins.” I asked him if he really believed that and he said yes. The loss of time and knowing that there were many other buildings to visit did not matter now. It mattered to 8 year-old Mustafa that we visited him.

I had the awesome privilege to hear Mustafa ask Jesus to be his very own Savior. We had only a short time to talk, but the weekly teaching of the 7MIT and the commitment he and his sister had to memorize them allowed both to hear the Word of God over and over before I visited that special day. Mustafa and his sister still live in the same crime-ridden neighborhood. We still visit. Now others are joining this movement to biblically resource Mustafa’s community and nine others in Durham. 7MIT resources are free and available at CEF Durham (near bottom of page).