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John Blake, Director CEF and Camps for City Kids

These classes and sports camps (Bible, Power & Light, Reading, Etiquette, Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, Pickleball, and Black-Top games) went four weeks from June 13-July 8th. Tennis, Basketball, Pickleball & Soccer sports camps were held in conjunction with Camps for City Kids and the DNS Reading Camp.

Fun play, basic skills, and court fitness are offered by Doc Blake, summer staff members, and “Mak” our intern. Dr. David, Pastor Harley, Jamo, Ms. Jackie, and Mak (above) conducted classes to build character for campers, understand their power, and change things in their world.

Kevin Mahoney, Dean of Studies, Durham Nativity School and Director of the Reading Camp

It’s difficult to put an exact dollar amount on the service, food, transportation, care, and academic enrichment that we provide. But know that we are providing each family a service valued between $50 and $400 per week  for summer camp. As a father, I know the face-value/dollar importance of that.

However, the real difference is the energy and kindness each of you bring. As a team, we have been consistently reliable and nice, which is always the goal each summer. As a result, and thanks to your efforts and attention to our students, the Jenny Koortbojian Reading Camp will successfully conclude tomorrow. 

Thank you so much for keeping our campers safe, engaged, and full of joy. For tomorrow, we have a bunch of food and beach toys; have some fun!

John “Doc” Blake JHS’73, Coach Parrish 45+yrs, and Emily Biggs JHS’74 want to make a greater impact on city kids this summer with your help! Our summer includes 4 weeks of fun and 35 campers. Here is your chance to sponsor a city kid. $5,000 will sponsored kids and the supplies this summer. CEF is pleased to introduce our summer intern, Mak, who will facilitate and lead our campers.

Tennis, Basketball, and Soccer: Camp for City Kids will include these sports and the following activities this summer June 13th-July 8th. We’re offering tennis, basketball, and soccer. Camp will instructions, drills, and team play each day. Week on Tuesdays & Thursdays ››

Pickleball: Fun, social and friendly. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. Picklebell Learn About ››

Blacktop & Field Games: These are the same games we use for fun and gather kids during weekly clubs, sports clubs and sports camps. Games on Blacktops: Ball throws, Hulo Hoop relay, Water Balloon relays, etc.

Bible Study, Etiquette Class, Values Based Character Education: Character development, Bible study, and Etiquette classes offered each week to camps understand their Good-given value, power, and destiny. Our summer will last for 4-weeks each Monday-Fridays June 13th – July 8th. Our summer staff is Mr. Kevin Mahoney and the DNS staff, Dr. David Johnson, Michael Haley, Jamison Berthold, Mrs. Jackie Omotosho, CEF staff, and our new intern, Makenzie “Mak” Pendergrass.


Sponsor-A-City Kids for summer camps in Durham… so $100 at a 4-weeks!!!

The vision for City Kids is simple – to visit under resourced sites 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? …my recent medical update from my wife!


John Blake’s Recent Medical News from his wife Carolyn:

Hello everyone.  I wanted to thank you for your prayers and steadfast love for our family during this time.  To bring you up to date, last week on February 9, John had his scheduled MRI imaging.  When meeting with the oncology team later, the image was still indeterminate, possibly due to the 6 weeks of radiation, causing swelling and a cloudy image on the MRI picture. An indicator of the swelling has been John experiencing mild seizures and his speech somewhat worsened.

After meeting with the team, the approach now is to help settle the brain down and diminish the swelling.  So… on Valentine’s Day we begin an every other week (up to 4 months) infusion through IV of a drug which has been proven to provide decreased swelling/irritation as well as help John feel and speak/understand better.  All other therapies will continue as before, but our doctor is hopeful that this may give added relief to John during this time of recovery.

Praise God, John’s recent scan marker shows the tumor is a “good” one and responds great to chemo. Game plan is to begin a higher dose of chemo for 5 days, then 23 days off. What is determined there will give doctors an idea on whether we go through another year of every 1-2 months of MRI/recheck, or if the plan needs to be adjusted. 


For the past 10 years (…more 2010-2021):

For the past 10 years 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 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.

Sponsor City Kids for Camps:

Camps for City Kids are held for 4 consecutive days during 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. Presidential Fitness standards will be the age/sex baseline goal for all campers before the end of each camp season. For further camp details and a current schedule: Visit Upcoming Events and/or Call John Blake at 919.630.9434 — Though we meet with the kids in a variety settings, all of these camps emphasize putting God first in every aspect of play and life.


Challenges: A Few Words from the Coach

Hi! I’m reaching out again to all of my former players, campers, coaches, as well as my friends.  I’m thanking all of you for so many GREAT MEMORIES from my rich coaching journey. Today, Andy, my wife Alana, and I continue the face our life challenges  day-by-day with determination and faith.  I also hear that our camps for city kids have resumed after COVID restrictions were lifted for us to offer summer camps.  Doc Blake let me know that all 80-100 campers were fully sponsored.  Thanks for your help! 

As the director of CEF, Camps for City Kids, and other efforts to help kids and youth, doc wants to continue these efforts with the current campers and many more into the late summer and fall of 2021.  Most of you know what a camp experience can do for kids. Perhaps you were impacted at camp also.

So, help me again by giving back so that a young kids can benefit during their early years of development. Today’s city kids need this same challenge and opportunity more than ever. Enjoy a few pics from this summer and help me help doc by sponsoring kids for these camps. 

What is Camps for City Kids?

What’s up guys? This is John “Doc” Blake (JHS’73) and it’s been exciting to team back up with Coach and Emily Biggs (JHS’74) to make a greater impact on city kids. CEF works with kids 4-14 years old using a variety of programs, but sports and camps have been most effective for us to reach city kids in the Durham area.

Camps for City Kids this summer has include: Tennis, Basketball, Soccer, Bible, Character Development, Reading, a variety of academic skills, social etiquette classes, as well as a few field trips, all the while helping each camper understand their own value, power, gifts, and destiny.

This summer’s 6-week Reading Camp has been meeting Monday-Friday June 14 – July 22 offering reading, other academics, etiquette skills, 5-Day Clubs (Bible Studies), Power & Light character education, sports mini camps, and field trips. Our summer staff is doing an awesome job adjusting to challenges, innovating, and facilitating live as well as online classes. We appreciate Mr. Kevin Mahoney, Mr. Mike Glenn and the DNS staff, Madison Daniel, Charryse Fredrick-Omari, Joshua Tankard, and Mrs. Jackie Omotosho, and our newest intern Nafisa Van Den Akker very much!

Contributions to Child Evangelism Fellowship of North Carolina (Durham Area Chapter) are tax-deductible by the IRS as a 501c3 org.  Funds, Stock, and Sponsorship donations to CEF Durham towards funding Camps for City Kids are also included.  Give via USPS mail: CEF Durham PO Box 1288 Durham, NC 27702 / Give via website: gospeltokids.org

Including this blog site, these websites are designed as resources for those ministering to city kids, directing programs for children, and those looking for strategies to express the Kingdom to communities, schools, and children anywhere.

Child Evangelism Fellowship® (CEF®) of North Carolina in Durham has a simple, but profound threefold purpose: evangelism, discipleship, and connecting local churches to unchurched children and families across our area.  We have a calling to serve city kids, block by block, in resource-challenged communities of Durham with Gospel-centered activities using the 10 Keys of the Kingdom for biblical leadership development.
Building solid academic/athletic skills and strong Christian character are goals of our camps offering Basketball, Soccer, Futsal, Tennis, Fitness, Blacktop/Field Games, Cross Training/Bible, Life Skills, Etiquette, and character development education.
Values-based character education principles and strategies to help al N.C. schools to flourish. Special events to motivate and kick-start workshops and seminars are scheduled when requested by a school or organization. Workshops are offered in a series of 1 hour sessions, each adaptable for all school-age groups, faculty, and other audiences. These workshops, conducted in school classrooms, will challenge students at a very strategic time in their development. All workshops, seminars, and follow-up activities use discussion, object lessons, high-energy games, and relevant applications.

Held April 2nd Downtown Durham. Dozen Volunteers. Gospel. 100s of cars.

Recently, at the Easter drive-thru event, a dozen children and adults, who volunteered with CEF, distributed and ministered to city kids from Durham. Hundreds of Easter baskets, Gospel booklets and tracts were distributed. Families were reached and ministered to while in their cars. As a result of our friendships/partnerships with the Durham Rescue Mission and the City of Durham Community Engagement, six other neighborhoods were directly engaged and received the same items as during the drive-thru event. These items are pictured above and below. Each basket and booklet were given to city kids with a personal touch and prayerful ministry on April 2nd and 3rd.

Actually, over 6,000 city kids have been ministered to embracing the Gospel of Salvation during events like these this year and specifically during the past 6 months of the COVID pandemic.  Since the Fall of 2020 until now, 6,636 have participated in various community-based, clubs, and event-type ministries that CEF Durham offers.  Thanks for praying and for giving so that ministries like these can flourish, even during COVID restrictions as we’ve all endured.

Sponsors City Kids to attend our sports camps which emphasizes putting God first in every aspect of play and life. We build solid athletic skills and strong Christian character. Suggested: $100/kid

Luck has nothing to do with getting there!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day / Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit (in the Irish language, also called Erse or Gaelic, Irish Gaeilge, a member of the Goidelic group of Celtic languages, spoken in Ireland) so, if your thinking whether you’ll get LUCKY or reach that pot of gold at the end of your rainbow on this special holiday, Níl aon bhaint ag Ádh mór le dul ann! (in English, Luck has nothing to do with getting there!).

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius; Irish: Pádraig [ˈpˠaːd̪ˠɾˠəɟ]; Welsh: Padrig) was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. He was also known as the Apostle of Ireland. According to the autobiographical Confessio of Patrick, when he was about sixteen, he was captured by Irish pirates from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland. Was This Bad Luck? While a slave, he looked after animals; he lived there for six years before escaping and returning to his family. Was this Good Luck? After becoming a cleric, he returned to northern and western Ireland. The dates of Patrick’s life cannot be fixed with certainty, but there is general agreement that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the fifth century.

In later life, he served as a bishop, but little is known about the places where he worked. By the seventh century, he had already come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17th, the supposed date of his death. It is celebrated inside and outside Ireland as a religious and cultural holiday.

Luck had nothing to do with the events in Patrick’s life, nor do they in yours. If you know Christ as Savior, you are redeemed back to God the Father and are a Saint as well, according to the Bible. On Saint Patrick’s Day we observe, celebrate, and remember how a young man dealt with evil and unfortunate life circumstances and became the man God had foreordained. From Scripture, we know of so many others like Patrick: Joseph, Jonah, Daniel, and Paul, to mention a few. As a result of God’s Will for Patrick’s life, many in Ireland and around the world were encouraged to press through adversity as well as to place their faith and hope in Christ Jesus for salvation and daily living.

You may be experiencing things in life that make you question your worth, luck, destiny, or even God Himself. Though we all live in a fallen/sinful world, God is always at work in your life as He was in Patrick’s. It’s not about LUCK or being LUCKY, but The Kingdom of God / Ríocht Dé expressed and experienced in the midst of the struggles, disappointments, and confusion of life. If you minister/work with city kids, then you know that it seems there is never any let up to problems and issues in their lives. Sometimes we wish for somewhere over the rainbow for these kids… Can’t they get a LUCKY break?

Níl aon bhaint ag Ádh mór leis! …again, Luck has nothing to do with it!  Jesus said: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom [eochracha na ríochta] of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Take the Keys of the Kingdom to the Gates of Hades, no LUCK needed, and lock up evil, demonic, and satanic mindsets of poverty, hatred, racism, low achievement, and on and on… And then, take those same powerful keys and unlock the Gates of Heaven; the Heart of God the Father; and express His Kingdom to city kids and others.

Speak the Truth that says: You matter! You are a gift to me! You are a delight to know and to be my friend! You make this world better! This world needs you! These are the expressions of the Kingdom, in which everyone needs to hear. This is the power that you possess to change your world and LUCK has nothing to do with getting there.

Matthew 16:18-19 "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” ESV

These paradigms apply whether you’re ministering in a community, city, state or the world (nations). There are many testimonies from around the world, when the practical application of these principles are active, resulted in the Kingdom of God in operation on earth.

  1. We are called to disciple nations, not just individuals. (Matt. 28:18-20)
  2. The Marketplace, which is the heart of the nation, has been redeemed and now needs to be reclaimed. (Luke 19:1-10)
  3. Every Christian is a minister, and labor is worship. (1 Tim. 2:1-8; Acts 20:34-35)
  4. We are called to take the kingdom of God to where the gates of hell are for Jesus to build His Church. (Matt. 16:18)
  5. Nation transformation must be tangible and the premier social indicator is the elimination of systemic poverty. (Gal. 2:10)
Ed Silvoso, Transform Our World, Harvest Evangelism

The Methodology is found in Luke 10:5-9

  • Pray and Bless: Speak peace to the people and the systems which influence/impact them (v.5)
  • Fellowship: Engage, listen, from learn from the people (v.7)
  • Minister: Address the felt needs in the Name of the Lord (v.9a)
  • Proclaim: Let it be known that the Kingdom of God is near (v.9b)

What are the possible next steps for you and your ministry?

  • Which paradigms do you readily identify with?  Which principles speak to you most strongly?
  • Which paradigms need the most explanation and/or example of implementation?
  • How would you answer the question, “Tell me about the impact your church is having on your community?
  • What are some natural ways you can begin building bridges into your community?
  • Where do you sense is your first (or next) entry point into your community?
  • What are the internal / external barriers to entering into the life of your community?
  • Which agencies, ministries, or programs would make good “partner ministries” for your church?
  • What are some ways that you can “pray and bless” your city and/or community?
  • Discuss the Ten Paradigm Shifts / 10 Keys of the Kingdom / 5 Pivotal Paradigms of Transformation / 5 Characteristics of Connectors with your staff / board at your next leadership retreat
  1. They are “gift‐centered” people. They see the “full half” in everyone.
  2. They are well connected themselves. They have friendships and are active in their community’s life.
  3. They are trusted and create new trusting relationships. The trust they have grows from the fact that they see the gifts of their neighbors, and they are willing contributors to their neighbors and the neighborhood.
  4. They believe in the people in their community. They are not cynical, doubting observers of local residents. They know that their community is a place rich in resources.
  5. And they are people who get joy from connecting, convening and inviting people to come together. They are not seeking to lead people. They know the power in joining people together.

The Spirit of God is at work.  There is a good chance that the next great movement of God will involve putting the church back into community where it can be the leaven, salt and light God designed the church to be. 


Next: 5 Pivotal Paradigms for biblical transformation – Pray – Bless – Fellowship – Minister – Proclaim

  1. Tear down walls and build bridges towards transformation
  2. Measure your impact by transformed lives rather than attendance
  3. Equipping indigenous residents to serve instead of a cycle of being served
  4. Becoming a learner as well as a teacher
  5. Resist duplicating ministries to collaborating with existing ministries
  6. Moving from fellowship (only) to a functional, thriving, and unified friendship
  7. Stop condemning the city, blaming the church, and pray with them
  8. Becoming a marketplace ministry rather than only to a local congregation
  9. Rejecting speculation about the community and engaging Truth & Vision
  10. See indigenous residents as assets with gifts and talents needed for transformation of their community

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