You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘"City Kids"’ category.

This post is a re-publication of “Nowhere to Go… Nothing to Do”, though 9 years later, it’s acutely relevant today. Sadly, like other urban areas of the USA, our city of Durham has experienced 10 shootings with multiple people injured and 2 deaths over the last few days. City kids, like always, need places to go and something to do, outta da hood.

Richard and Michael are pre-teen city kids who live, as many say, in da hood.  They have nowhere to go – and nothing to do.  It’s not because they don’t want to. Actually, every time I talk with them they hint around hoping I’ll take them somewhere.

Here’s the usual conversation

“Hey guys, what’s up?”
“Nothing.”
“What are you doing?”
“Nothing.”
“Where are you going?”
“Nowhere.”
“Why?”
“Because — there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do.”

Richard and Michael are just two of many city kids who feel trapped and imprisoned inside their own neighborhood. It’s understandable — there are bars around their apartment buildings.  These bars are not intended to keep intruders out, but to slow down and trap criminals during police pursuits. Richard and Michael’s neighborhood is infested with drugs and crime.

“I hear the ball bouncing outside,” Richard says, “and I want to play.  But mom won’t let me go to the courts ‘cause stuff’s happening out there — you know.” Yet in the midst of fear and distrust, Richard’s mom and others like her are receptive to Bible clubs and events for their children.  Especially when those events allow their children to spend time outside of the neighborhood.

Over the past thirty years, the opportunity to reach city kids has grown immensely. Taking advantage of what God can do, we should make the most of every opportunity to teach them the Bible, but we should also remember that they want to do other stuff too.

The truth is — city kids get talked to, yelled at, and fussed at most of the day.  We need to spend time with them — doing what they want to do and sometimes going where they want to go.  Our activities do not have to be religious in nature all the time, but the outcome will be!

Each time we go somewhere together kids ask me questions, like, “Have you ever been in prison?” or “Is that lady your girlfriend?”  Then, they tell me things about themselves and their families.  Instantly, without a prepared Bible lesson, we have a divine teaching moment.

Where to Go and What to Do?

Sporting Events

Take them to a high school or college game, organize a neighborhood pick-up game, enroll them in a league, sponsor them for a sports camp, or organize a sports outreach.

I took a group of twelve Asian and Hispanic city kids to a Duke – UNC basketball game once. Perhaps it was because both teams wore blue and white, but these kids did not even know which team was Duke or UNC. These are some of the best teams in the country by the way. The kids loved it! It was not so much the game, but the snack bar, the picking at each other, and embracing the cultural differences between each other.

After the game we all slid down a big hill to get to our car. This all paved a way for an open discussion about making fun of others and how Chinese were different from Mexicans. I was able to share God’s plan and purpose for all people.

The outing opened up a unique court to play on. The kids were the players and I became their coach for a few hours. Numerous outings and activities are available for the teacher looking for a classroom that connects with city kids.

Arts/Entertainment

Couple a Bible club with an art class, organize/plan a mural project for a community wall, enroll kids in a cultural arts center class, or produce your own drama, dance, or a creative art form for presentation in the community.

Food/Shopping

Bake cookies, a favorite food, watch a movie, take them to the mall or open-air market and have a “looking day”, or walk down the street with a group of kids to the nearest convenience store.  Give them each a couple of dollars to spend while they hang out.

Special or Surprise Activities

Ride horses, go fishing, or rake leaves.  These would be things (stuff) that city kids typically never get to do.

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.

In our progressive, yet conflicted and confused society, should children be taught to pray? Though some might label you as dogmatic, paternalistic, or narrow-minded, even closed-minded… the answer is — Absolutely! As a parent, teacher, or pastor, it’s your responsibility to teach and model, not only how to pray, but what, where, when, and why children should pray.

Why is Prayer Important?

  1. It maintains a close relationship between the child and God. (Daniel 6)
  2. It helps children face their problems by faith. (Philippians 4:6)
  3. Jesus taught us to pray. (Matthew 6)
  4. It builds and strengthens the child’s faith. (Jeremiah 33:3)
  5. Prayer is a Key to the Kingdom, which unlocks, opens, and changes the spiritual atmosphere of the child’s heart, school, home, or community.

What should you teach children about Prayer?

  1. What is prayer?
    A: It’s “talking with God” communicating with words, thoughts, and listening via the Holy Spirit and God’s Word (Bible). Consider using a audio Bible app for listening to Scripture. CEF Durham uses the app from Streetlights for city kids and our Good News Clubs.
  2. Who can pray?
    A: God desires “everyone” to pray. All believing children can pray in faith/believing God for what they ask (Mark 11:23-24) yet sin can be a barrier to God’s answers (Isaiah 59:1-2, Psalm 66:18) to prayer. God will hear the child’s prayers if they confess sin and obey Him (1 John 1:9). God is always ready to listen and answer “Yes” to a child’s prayer for forgiveness and believing on His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 1:12)
  3. Where can you pray?
    A: “Anywhere” — Jonah prayed in the belly of the fish. Paul & Silas prayed in jail. Daniel prayed in a lion’s den. Children can pray anywhere: home, school, playground, at meals, and with friends.
  4. When can you pray?
    A: “Anytime” — Pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) – Pray at all times (Ephesians 6:18) – Pray at appointed times of the day (Psalm 55:17)
  5. Why should you pray?
    A: “Because God wants to spend time with His Children.”
  6. What are God’s Good Answers to prayer?
    A: “Yes” according to His Will (1 Kings 18)
    A: “No” if it would not be good for you right now (2 Corinthians 12)
    A: “Wait” if it is not God’s perfect time (John 11)

Additional Resources:

Read more at CEF/pray about teaching children to pray & ask questions

PrayLive and Streetlights apps are available for all electronic devices

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.

“Ain’t it good to be on this side of the table for a change?” said city kids while serving their community. While riding home from a basketball game, with a group of Hispanic and Chinese American youth, “Mr. John, do you have anyone in prison?” It’s the extra time we spend with city kids that detonates the EXTRAS around a community-based Good News Club.

Good News Club-ers serving their community during a Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s the EXTRAS that make any Good News Club special, memorable, and sustainable. Every child likes to have fun, work on projects, serve others, be active, and learn new things. Why not include these valuable academic and social experiences within the culture of Good News Clubs? I don’t think it’s possible, during a typical 1-hour club, to plan and implement the teachable moments you can experience when offering the EXTRAS to your students.

Special, memorable, all-day, extra fun times at the State Fair

CEF along with partnering local ministries, churches, and concerned individuals have developed an urban network for new strategies and strengthening best efforts, which will focus on 10 or more identified communities for the next 10 years.  A simple strategy of biblical and wholistic discipleship will be used following guidelines from Luke 10 and other passages where Jesus gives instructions to His disciples regarding building His Kingdom.  This is how the EXTRAS are birthed, developed, and used in local ministry. Thus, multiple and intentional engagements with city kids, in addition to the Good News Club, can be leveraged while incorporating this strategy.

Between 1999-2007, we started an EXTRA Good News Club, which enrolled over 1,600 city kids and youth within 2-3 years. As we intentionally made the club extra large in attendance, extra long with weekly ministries as well as the Saturday morning event, using extra wide-open games, and extra prizes along with an extra high expectation for every child, we got EXTRAordinary results.

Tennis Academy campers (city kids) enjoying pro and college-level matches

Here’s a short list of EXTRAS to use as suggestions with your community and school-based Good News Clubs in which we are using in the Durham area. Before you use these, consider your own area, creativity of your team, local resources, and connections.

Slip & Slide: City Kids style to kick-off Good News Club for the new school year
  • Any appropriate and/or relevant sporting events
  • Slip & Slide in the community
  • Field Trip: Local or State Fair
  • Attend a candlelight vigil for those murdered, incarcerated, etc.
  • Serve the community: take trash out for neighbors, serve a dinner, plant a garden, build a skateboard ramp, prayer walking, etc.
  • Visit all the buildings and/or homes in the community, pray, invite to club, or special events, etc.
  • Baptism Service: Use the community swimming pool for those who’ve made salvation decisions for Christ and have the pastor of the supporting church conduct the baptisms.

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

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,151 other followers

Find a subject

John E. Blake tweets