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7 Most Important Things in the World: Further benefits of using the 7MIT allows children to hear the Message of Salvation as well as the Word of God over and over, week after week, via Scripture-match to all seven statements and a catchy tune with actions in every song verse. Kids will enjoy clapping, stomping and shouting as they sing this visualized song about the seven most important things in the world: 1. God loves me! 2. Jesus never sinned! 3. I have sinned! 4. Jesus died for me! 5. Now Jesus lives! 6. I put my faith in Christ! 7. I can live for Him! Words/Music: John & Sean Blake

Through weekly teaching and repetition of the 7MIT children will be challenged to memorize and apply these seven statements. A further benefit of using the 7MIT allows children to hear the Message of Salvation as well as the Word of God over and over, week after week, via Scripture-match to all seven statements and a catchy tune with actions in every song and verse.

John and Sean Blake originally developed 6 most important things for city kids to memorize, then wrote the song to match. It was found to be extremely effective in communicating God’s Word and the Message of Salvation to non-readers and those with short attention spans. Later, the song and list of important things grew to seven. Most children, youth, and teachers love the song, but may not fully utilize the contents, so here is how we use the 7MIT every week in clubs.

7MIT is being taught throughout the world within CEF Good News Clubs – in other countries (as we knew): Canada, China, France, Ghana, Honduras, Italy, Malawi, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom, USA, etc.

There are 4 verses to the 7MIT Song… Teach a new verse each day or week that goes with the important thing to be taught that week, and always sing/review previous verses. The 7MIT statements should be grouped and taught to match the song (i.e. teach #2 and #3 together and #4 and #5 together). The #6 statement can be emphasized every week and/or at any time appropriate in your teaching segments.

Use the 7MIT as a review/remix when the Message of Salvation: GOSPEL is presented in a lesson, memory verse, or invitation/challenge. Emphasize the target 7MIT which is being used in your main teaching that day. The 7MIT is the Gospel. It can be used as a stand-alone Gospel presentation or while giving an invitation to receive Christ as Savior. The entire 7MIT usually should not be fully explained in one teaching segment of a Bible lesson or when using the song. See how we introduce and lead the 7MIT below in a Good News Club. (Older version of #6 being used)

Funds, Stocks, and Sponsorship donations to CEF Durham go towards funding its various local ministries. This year (2022), God has continued to bless CEF Durham with funding to cover ministry expenses. As we go forward, new and even more exciting work has been shown for Durham. We, as with other CEF ministries worldwide, know and trust that God’s Work, Done God’s Way, Will Never Lack God’s Supply. Thank you to all supporters. For this coming year, we hope you will continue to stand with us and give. There will be a need in 2023 for new staff/supporters for us to go forward. Please pray and invite others to support this ministry.

Kingdom-Building with GNC Teachers

CEF Durham has 50+ teachers for club activities within schools/neighborhoods. We need more teachers to minister in area schools and communities. Michael Harley and other volunteers work with families of our Good News Clubs to support them with basic needs – food, furniture – plus the Gospel is presented and shown in love for God’s children on a regular basis.

During 2022-2023, Bible Lessons will be taught in local communities and schools from the Old and New Testaments as follows: God: The One Who Knows, My Heart (David), God Rules: Be Strong (Daniel), God: The One to Follow (Peter) CEF offers 6 sessions of U-Nite clubs on our YouTube channel where songs, Bible verses, and activities are accessible to clubs.

Volunteers for CEF

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

What better way to celebrate and teach your kids about Black History Month than with some great children’s books? The Flying Pig Books in Shelburne, Vt., Read with Me in Raleigh, N.C., and Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Ga. are kid-friendly bookshops across the country asked to offer their favorite titles that families should be reading for Black History Month – and beyond. I don’t recommend all of these 17 suggested books (link below), but I do like and use these books pictured:

  • Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (96 pages) Recommended reader age: Middle grade, ages 8 to 12 years
  • Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes from Past and Present, by Jamia Wilson, Illustrated by Andrea Pippins, Quarto (64 pages) Recommended reader age: Middle grade ages 8 to 12 years
  • Turning 15 On The Road To Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March, by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley, Dial (144 pages) Recommended reader age: Middle grade ages 8 to 12 years

What is Camps for City Kids?

What’s up guys? It’s been exciting to team-back-up with Coach Parrish and Emily Biggs, both friends and fellow Jordan High Falcons, to make a greater impact on the city kids we see all year via CEF Durham. Our ministry work is with kids 4-14 years old using a variety of programs, but sports and camps have been most effective in reaching city kids in the Durham area.

So, Camps for City Kids typically includes sports, character development, Bible teaching with life skills and social etiquette, as well as helping all campers understand their God-given value, power, and destiny. These camps are held for 4 consecutive days during summer months and school holiday sessions.  Every camp will 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 are used on demand when collaborating with other groups. Sports camps, clinics, and tennis academies are held in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, 2020 camps were drastically altered, yet we engaged city kids virtually with reading, etiquette, Bible, life skills and Power & Light character education. We’re excited and ready for 2021.

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