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The atmosphere in some local schools is changing! “It feels so peaceful here. I just feel encouraged and uplifted when I visit your school. When I go to middle school, I want to go here. I just love this school.” These are the comments heard from students, parents, teachers, and visitors who step into a select group of schools in the Raleigh-Durham area. This is Great News! Right?

For detailed information visit The Center of Light website

Since the Power & Light program was offered to local schools by The Center of Light, as well as in collaboration with each individual school’s faculty and academic resources, amazing, dramatic, and even transformative changes have occurred. There has been a measurable shift in the behavior, culture and academic level in these schools. Here are a few of the results from the beginning years of a 5-year pilot from each school.

Middle school-selected metrics were identified to evaluate progress. Success was determined by annual improvements in the following with results noted.

  • Behavior referrals to school administrators – Result: 300 less referrals after 1st year of Power & Light
  • Acts of violence and verbal abuse – Results: No fights during 1st semester of classes
  • Reading levels – Results: Literacy program stated that K-1 readers are now at 6th grade level
  • EOG testing scores for 2017 thru 2019 – Results: Every subject of every grade level had improvement across the board, 2 years in a row, additionally, at the end-of-year 2019 one school increased their improvement by 1 entire letter grade – a “N.C. School to Watch”
  • Suspensions/Expulsions – Results: only 1 suspension reported
  • Testimonies of progress from students, parents, and faculty – Results: Students are intervening when conflicts happen in classrooms, there is a feeling/culture of peace within the schools, overt bullying has ceased, teachers have stated: “This is the best year of teaching ever…”

CEF Durham and the City of Durham are extremely blessed to have a faithful and devoted woman like Ms. Lou Brogden serving city kids, various communities, and schools in the Durham area. Listen to her passion and purpose of her teaching ministry for over 30 years. Thank you Summit Church and Serve RDU for highlighting Ms. Lou‘s cause of reaching city kids for Christ.

Ms. Lou Brogden is a CEF Durham Board member, elderly care-giver, and Good News Club teacher in public schools and city communities.

Ever had conversations which started like this? I remember when… Of course you have — probably many times with family and close friends. Such memories are from events which shaped you and others lives. These experiences are so important and powerful because they helped to form who you are and your perspectives on life as well as the world around you. Whether good or bad life experiences, historic events, or when you finally understood or realized something significant — each are unforgettable memories.

Childhood memories: re-experiencing historic moments

My wife and I have been consumed with all the documentaries and docudramas this month regarding the U.S. and Russian space programs and the 50th anniversary of the first men to land and walk on the Moon. Exciting stuff!!! Great memories of our childhood and teen years! While watching a variety of featured T.V. programs, listening to actual audio of the astronauts in space, observing the control centers in action, and seeing the photographs taken in space, our minds were flooded with memories. Our conversation was dominated by similar events we experienced, places we were at, and the people we were with during the space race to the moon. These were some of the most unforgettable memories which shaped our young lives back in the 60s-70s.

Photo by NASA and William Anders on Apollo 8 mission to the Moon Dec. 24, 1968

Places and moments I can never forget from my past

We were able and expected to watch most of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launches on a black & white (b/w) T.V. Many times this happened while at school. Students were absolutely captivated and engaged with space rockets and astronauts. My wife actually was able to view some launches (live) on their school playground. Her dad was an engineer who worked on the rocket firing systems at NASA.

Later, we watched the 1st moon landing on a Color T.V. — this was totally amazing, however the images were all in distorted b/w (below left) but thank God, Walter Cronkite was in living color. Later we saw sharp color photos taken by the astronauts (below right). Our 50+ year journey back in time this summer reminded us of how futuristic and exciting life was as kids becoming teens. We gained a much larger perspective of our planet, the moon, and the space beyond.

Deeper reflections — perspective of the world where I minister

These are memories I will never forget. I also cannot escape my thoughts and memories of hundreds of city kids I’ve had the opportunity to know and minister to through CEF Durham. By engaging their lives, I’ve helped them create some great memories, especially introducing them to the Savior, in whom they have believed for their salvation. Unforgettable, I trust. Also unforgettable is the landscape where most city kids call home. Metaphorically, many live in communities as barren, blighted, and cold as the moon.

These kids are awesome, intelligent, and extremely creative, yet I wonder how deep the impact will be on them from the spiritually dark world where they live. Our CEF teams continue to engage their world and communicate THE Message of Hope while affirming city kids’ true value, their gifts, and their destiny as a world changer. We teach the kids that it takes 10 positive statements and/or actions of bringing Light to their world in order to erase 1 negative statement spoken to them, aka false label or lie, as well as any experience that brings darkness to their lives and community. City kids in Durham are putting this into practice at their schools and communities, but they need help! Want you join us in some way?

This 6-week, comprehensive, multi-dimensional reading camp is coming to a close very soon. We are in our 5th week with our friends at the Durham Nativity School and the Jenny Koortbojian Foundation conducting this Summer Reading Camp. CEF has been offering games/fitness along with educational sessions in Bible, social etiquette, character development, and mental health. The campers have been growing and thriving in each area.

Our 5-Day Club curriculum as well as newly developed programs for strengthening the body, mind, spirit, and heart of city kids has been instrumental in the salvation as well as the academic and social development of the 65 enrolled campers. There are 35-40 city kids regularly attending this unique experience in downtown Durham, which began June 17th. The diverse group of 3rd-6th graders will finish camp next week on July 25th. READ MORE Our instructors have been Joshua Tankard, Jackie and Chi Omotosho, Madison Daniel, and John Blake.

CEF Durham has a summer ministry plan: Kids Love Camping! School is out! Weather is hot! What are kids doing this summer?

Many know they’re going to the pool, away for camp, or some vacation time out of town. But many of the city kids we know and love can’t count on doing all these things each summer. Actually, many of their parents wish their kids could enjoy these summer activities. CEF Durham, alone, has offered sports camps, Bible clubs, and overnight camping to children for the past 25 years as an auxiliary ministry. The extended time spent with children and youth at any camp enhances their spiritual formation like no other, short of being their parents and living with them. For the same reason, coaches and teachers are so influential in the lives of their students.

This summer we, at CEF Durham, are doing something familiar, but a bit more comprehensive, with our friends at the Durham Nativity School and the Jenny Koortbojian Foundation Summer Reading Camp. CEF will be a partner in offering games/fitness along with educational sessions in Bible, social etiquette, character development, and mental health. Our 5-Day Club curriculum as well as newly developed programs to strengthen the body, mind, spirit, and heart of city kids will be used during this 6-week camp.

The 50-60 city kids attending this unique experience in downtown Durham, which began June 17th, are loving this type of summer camp. The diverse group of 3rd-6th graders will finish camp July 25th. Thirty full days of inner city camping this summer will form and nurture these young lives into God-loving, world-changing, healthy individuals.

I could use a long list of “re… words” to describe what we all need more often than we actually have opportunity to access. Recharging, reloading, rebuilding, or restoring are all objectives when I seek time to get away. There’s an exciting expectation to rest, but also engage in uncommon activities which revive my body, mind, and spirit. As our family often does, we retreat to the coast. Rejecting the pile of tasks to do and the books to be read, my senses are rejuvenated by the sounds of the sea, the sand between me toes, and the taste of good seafood. Ah, what a place and time to recover well!

Not all of you know, I’ve had four surgeries in the past two years, not counting several ear surgeries in the past and an ACL replacement in a knee several years ago. I know about recovery, both quick and very slow. When I found and felt those breakthrough moments, “WOW!, I’m going to get back… recover.” Well, I’m in one of those breakthrough moments right now with a total shoulder replacement and loving the success and expecting the day I can say. “I’m fully recovered.” My mind and spirit needs that as well. I look forward to recovering well.

Today, as we make our way to our most common coastal destination, I so look forward to the mystical gifts of recreation (re-creation) and renewal. Hopefully, hearing a Word from the Lord… Expecting to recover well. Recovering well brings excitement, renewed energy, and focus. I also look forward to these gifts spilling over into our ministry to city kids. I’ll need the energy and focus as CEF Durham will partner with others to hold a 6-week camp for city kids this summer.

Child Evangelism Fellowship® executives, headquarters staff, and hundreds of CEF staff, board, and volunteer members enjoyed, perhaps, the best USA conference in recent memory May 6-10, 2019.  There was a spirit of freedom and breakthrough as well as numerous conversations around forgiveness, reconciliation, collaborative outreach, reaching our U.S. cities, and new approaches to ministry.

Workshop leaders: Michael Harley, Esther Beasley, and John Blake

Due to the presence of the keynote speaker Dr. John Perkins, for workshops on City Kids, which were led by myself, Michael Harley, and Esther Beasley, and for the strategic planning and development done over the past several years, CEF ministries will become more effective, collaborative, and sustainable in “urban America” (especially areas of socioeconomic and spiritual need). CEF will be ever-present and intentional to minister alongside others in collaboration for spiritual transformation of city kids, their families, and communities across the USA.

READ MORE about City Kids

Perkins to be honored and speak at Child Evangelism Fellowship USA Conference May 6-10, 2019

John Perkins answers the question, “What is the future of the church in America today?”

The ministry organization of Child Evangelism Fellowship will convene its USA Conference May 6-10, 2019 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, N.C. One of the guest speakers, Dr. John Perkins, will be honored for his 50+ years of Christian service, social impact, and community development. Dr. Perkins is a friends ad mentor of mine for 23 years. It will be my honor with much of excitement to introduce him to our CEF family next week. For all who will attend the series of workshops at the CEF Conference, called: “Developing a Heart for the City and City Kids”, please use this, my blog site, to glean relevant messages and insights regarding biblical and social strategies to reach city kids in the USA. Dr. Perkins and his numerous books have their mark on these strategies and the proposed City Kids USA initiative.

Dr. Perkins’ final manifesto on race, faith, and reconciliation

We are living in historic times. Not since the civil rights movement of the 60s has our country been this vigorously engaged in the reconciliation conversation. There is a great opportunity right now for culture to change, to be a more perfect union. However, it cannot be done without the church, because the faith of the people is more powerful than any law government can enact.

The church is the heart and moral compass of a nation. To turn a country away from God, you must sideline the church. To turn a nation to God, the church must turn first. Racism won’t end in America until the church is reconciled first. Then—and only then—can it spiritually and morally lead the way.

One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love
Questions for Dr. Perkins about his final book: One Blood

CEF Urban City Kids Task Force PROPOSAL

Ultimate Goal:  Child Evangelism Fellowship ministries will become more effective, collaborative, and sustainable in “urban America” (especially areas of socioeconomic and spiritual need). CEF will be ever-present and intentional to minister alongside others in collaboration for spiritual transformation of people and communities across the USA. For this to be realized, a mindset change with adjusted approaches to ministry must occur at all levels of CEF leadership. For example, CEF must become a team player, initiate/lead when appropriate, submit to other collaborative leadership whenever possible, and make available every resource that the CEF chapter possesses for the cause of reaching urban kids and families.


5-Year Strategic Goal

We believe God can begin to spiritually and socially transform resourced-challenged communities strategically selected throughout the United States over the next 5 years. We believe this can be accomplished by implementing the biblical principles of the “10 Keys of the Kingdom.” These target communities could then serve as models for effective and collaborative Gospel-centered ministry in urban communities where CEF seeks and is invited to minister.

Action Step 1:  Casting Vision/Education

Start the discussion on a national level. Invite ministry leaders who have implemented the “10 Keys” or similar concepts to present them to the senior staff of CEF, state and local directors and coordinators via select communication platforms, including social media, blogs, during State Leadership Conference, at CMI, and during all CEF conferences within workshops and main plenary sessions.

Action Step 2:  Education/Implementation/Facilitation

Develop relationships and partnerships with local “grassroots” organizations for collaborative ministry in target cities of this initiative.

i.e. community-based, church-led tutoring programs, police and community-led Partners Against Crime, legal aide, re-entry and job programs, public housing authorities, feeding/street ministries, sports ministry/leagues, religious coalitions, youth foundations, and prayer movements, etc.

Seek national organizations which can teach urban cultural competencies, intensive city reaching paradigms, and provide urban resources for developing local ministry partnerships.

i.e. CCDA, Mission America, Urban Youth Workers Institute, City Reaching, Jobs for Life, Step Up, Lighthouse Ministries, Transform Our World, Good Cities, etc.

Action Step 3:  Metrics for Goal-setting/Evaluation

Determine how to quantify and measure “success” of this initiative

i.e. (1) number of youth involved in community programs, (2) number of indigenous youth leaders or mentors, (3) number of youth enrolled in discipleship classes, (4) numbers of families no longer on poverty roles, (5) the ratio of indigenous ministry leaders on community boards/committees, (6) lower crime stats % in target communities/city, (7) increased employment of families, (8) growth/strength of network partnerships, (9) increase % of indigenous residence involved in collaborative ministry efforts, etc.


Year-1 Strategic Goal: Casting vision and education

Action Step 1:  Introduce the vision and goals of City Kids USA to CEF senior staff, state leadership, and local chapters.

Action Step 2:  Select communication platforms, including social media, blogs, USA monthly blasts, etc. to articulate the vision of City Kids USA and incrementally present the 10 Keys of the Kingdom.

Action Step 3:  Marketing City Kids USA to CEF staff/boards via regular updates and stories that show the need and effectiveness of urban ministry.

Year-2 Strategic Goal: Education, Facilitation, and Implementation

Action Step 1:  Offer and facilitate an open forum at CEF conferences on the concept of City Kids USA including, but not limited to, collaborating with other ministries and organizations to meet the needs of children in resourced-challenged communities.

Action Step 2: Select USA staff with a passion for and engaging urban ministry as USA champions to be trained, funded, and resourced to build urban ministry teams and implement City Kids USA in their city.

Action Step 3:  Select USA cities to model City Kids USA urban ministry initiative.

Year-3 Strategic Goal: Metrics (Goals/Evaluations)   

Action Step 1:  Identified goals and metrics help define success

Action Step 2:  Gather and examine data to determine outcomes  

Action Step 3:  Publicize a report summary of outcomes and next steps

Holy Scriptures for Palm Sunday

Zechariah 9:9 – Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

John 12:12-19 – The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”“Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”

Luke 19:11-44 – “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’ ” Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They replied, “The Lord needs it.” They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 

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