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Engagement Strategies

Portions of this series will be presented in short segments during CEF of North Carolina statewide staff WebEx meetings and completely with full discussions and strategy sessions when feasible per COVID-19 restrictions. All are welcome to read and Q/A with me, but the live series will be presented to NC staff. Topics to be expanded into strategies and discussed:

  • Resource Development
  • Donor Development
  • Ministry Development
  • Operational System Development
It needs unique strategies and truthful answers to children’s tough questions.

Since all clubs, schools, and camps are cancelled addressing care and prevention of COVID-19, CEF Durham, as many other organizations and agencies, is praying, brainstorming, and planning in many venues and modes of communication. Thus, we are innovating and adjusting how we minister to children and families. Some brief and direct contact with families has occurred to bring supplies, helps, breakfast, and the “Do You Wonder Why?” booklets to each home and child enrolled in CEF clubs.

Though we cannot be directly with the children in our clubs and camps, we are continuing to teach and love the kids in our weekly outreach and discipleship meetings via Zoom calls, web-based teaching, and prayer. Here are other FREE Resources CEF is providing for children, families, and teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Do not fear and be encouraged.

Disruptions are defined as a disturbance or problems which interrupt an event, activity, or process. Thus, it’s fair to say, disruptions happen regularly, randomly, and even repetitively.

“Disruption is hard, Carey Nieuwhof writes in his blog, because disruption is inconvenient. It’s far easier to keep doing what you’re doing hoping for better results. But just know this: being disrupted is far more painful than deciding to disrupt yourself.” Listening and being prepared as well as being prudent are absolutes in our world of change, trends, flux, aka disruption, whether in ministry, business, or in any type of leadership position.

With that in mind, here are several predicted and active disruptive trends in ministry and leadership that will rule 2020, says Nieuwhof, which are worth knowing and using to evaluate your ministry and/or leadership.

  1. Content-based ministry will decline — Missions and movements will grow: Emphasizing moments and movements and mission are more critical than ever. People don’t just want to know what’s true, they want to know what’s real. And what’s real is deeper than just an idea—it’s an experience.
  2. Growing churches and ministries tend to be led by younger leaders. As a result, the older you get, the less likely you are to innovate, meaning methods. Innovation drives growth and connections with emerging generations. When the methods atrophy, the mission dies.
  3. If you’re looking to deepen the impact of your ministry in 2020, think better prepared/delivered messages, not more messages or ministry events. Quality beats quantity. Everyone will be better.
  4. The middle is disappearing from our culture. This middle is where average lives. The middle is trying to reach everybody. People are gravitating to and seeking smaller, high-quality, and interpersonal gatherings where they can grow spiritually in an interactive faith community. Many restless Christians are moving towards the other extreme of Christian community in mega churches. The extreme ends or the high and the low of churches, business, marketplace, and ministries are thriving. Increase the quality and accessibility of what people need and want.
  5. Insight and access are now more valuable than information. When information is free, it’s no longer valuable because scarcity drives value. And now there’s so much of it no one knows how to process it. Content is everywhere but insight and access are not, there’s a value inversion that’s happening right now in live events.

So, what does all this mean or just suggest? “Leading people to Jesus in a world that’s moving away from Jesus is an increasingly difficult challenge…and increasingly larger opportunity.”

Carey Nieuwhof

Reflect on this content and the full articles by Carey Nieuwhof. Gain insight via access of meeting and discussing these matters with your staff, business teams, and ministry leaders. Factor and apply any adjustments or action points gained for your organization.

Ministry Vision for City Kids: CEF Durham Area Chapter in North Carolina

The vision for City Kids is simple – to visit under resourced and marginalized communities 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?

For the past 10 years (2008-2018) 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 12, sometimes 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.

Recently re-published in IMPACT magazine

CEF Durham along with partnering ministries and local Christians have developed an Urban Missions Network for listening to each other, developing new strategies and strengthening best efforts, which will focus on each identified community for the next 10 years (2019-2029). A simple strategy of biblical, holistic discipleship will be used. Our vision is to see city kids and families transformed by the Gospel. Indigenous residents will be enabled to lead their own communities in biblical transformation and Christian community development. This would include, but not limited to, evangelism, discipleship, academic tutoring, creative arts, sports/recreation, medical services, life skills, and economic/job training.  

Questions / Comments / Help?
Contact CEF Durham / John Blake
919.630.9434 c / 919.399.1979 o

Teens from Liberty St. Apts with Lori Fisher and Amanda Hallsbrook, student volunteer-mentor, together at “Blacktop Games”

City Kids should and can reach their own families, schools, and communities for Christ. Don’t neglect mission-centered discipleship.

Thousands of people are dying every day without knowing Jesus as their Savior. How will they be reached? Romans 10:14-15 reminds us that in order for people to hear about Jesus, someone must be sent. That’s why God calls missionaries to go! The children of today, which includes city kids, should be missionaries now and the rest of their lives. Therefore, it is essential that you and I understand our role in challenging saved children regarding the need for missionaries in their schools and communities.

Teachers should expect to intentionally incorporate a mission’s emphasis as an integral part of Good News Clubs, church-based youth classes, or even when hanging out, using practical ideas to share a missionary vision.

What are the reasons, aspects, and impact of teaching youth about missions?

Missions originates in the heart of God (John 3:16)

  • Teach children about missions to help them develop a heart for missions like God
  • Cultivate a heart of compassion for lost people globally and in their own city and neighborhood
  • Challenge children to reach their own generation/peers for Christ
  • Equip children with the foundational tools for sharing and living the Good News, the Gospel message

Missions is the responsibility of every believer (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:18-20) – City kids can be involved in missions by:

  • Knowing: Give them information about missionaries, different types of missions, countries, and cultures, etc.
  • Praying: Specifically for the needs of select missionaries, their country, the salvation of its people, etc.
  • Giving: Challenge children to give money, time, and encouragement to missionaries so that others can hear about the Lord Jesus.
  • Going: Challenge saved children to participate in planned missions outreach events, mission trips, or efforts regularly.

Statistics show that exposure to missions is one way God calls people into full time Christian service as a personal lifestyle or with an organization or church

  • 21% were called to missions as a result of a missions education provided in their local church
  • 20% felt God calling them after listening to missionary speakers
  • 19% were called because of their own family’s missions vision, experiences, and conversations
  • 10% heard God’s call through reading books, watching movies, and listening to stories about missionaries and missions work
Always include PRAYER as a powerful aspect of teaching missions

The impact of teaching missions to children is that each generation will be informed and inspired (Psalm 78:7, 8). If we are intentional and take serious our responsibility, young lives will be dedicated to the Lord for missionary service, fulfilling the Great Commission. If more reasons are needed than this, of course, there are other impacts on children taught about missions, which by the way, will impact their world.

  • Children will have a vision and burden for those who are lost in sin and who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ
  • Children will begin now to share the message of salvation with others
  • Children will grow spiritually through involvement in missions
  • Children will desire to engage local missions efforts regularly

Reality Checks: Before you make adjustments in your missions teaching

#1 – People are hungering for an experience of God, not just more information about God.

There is no doubt that teaching children about missions is vitally important because thousands of people are dying every day without Christ. How will the saved children you teach get a burden for missions and desire to be involved if you don’t make time for missions in your class or when hanging out? But how is this truth being applied to lives of children (anyone)? Thus, have children learn by doing missions work as well as hearing.

#2 – Presenting content about missions alone is a teaching short-fall and no longer the greatest need in an age where content fills the internet.

So what does this mean? Content used to fill a church auditorium or classroom because content was scarce and pastors/teachers were the authority or experts on the biblical content we needed to understand. You had to attend to hear a message or a Bible study or even children’s Christian education. However podcasts, YouTube and multiple social media platforms have changed that dramatically and permanently from what I am able to understand. As a result, you no longer have to be in the room to listen.

#3 – So many leaders talk about reaching the next generation but never include the next generation.

It’s going to take the leadership of the next generation to reach the next generation. Perhaps you, as the teacher, will have to make some changes and adjust your classroom or the time you spend with the city kids, to empower your students to reach their generation. Leading people to Jesus in a world that’s moving away from Jesus is an increasingly difficult challenge… and increasingly, it’s a larger opportunity. Who will I send… and who will go?

We have been fortunate, while ministering in Durham for nearly 30 years, to learn and experience what ministry collaboration looks like and definitely enjoy the unique expressions of the Kingdom of God. These continue to be lived out in communities, the marketplace, schools, and other sectors of our city today. As a result of learning and leaning into a collaborative mindset of ministry, some of the most sustainable and fruitful programs have been developed.

These programs or ministries were birthed out of a shared vision. They were initiated and sustained by a collaborative group, which offered their own unique gifts and resources for ministry success. Here are a few examples flowing out of the Durham Area chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship and its collaborators:

I’d like to give a huge “shout-out” to Reynolds Chapman, Executive Director of DurhamCares, and his board for developing and implementing a recent collaborative initiative which brought local churches together. Watch this video to learn more. Contact DurhamCares, CEF Durham, ReCity, to mention a few here, where you, your organization, or church can join us for the sake and welfare of our city.

CEF Durham is supportive and thankful for DurhamCares engaging our local communities and churches towards expressing what the Kingdom of God can look like on earth.

“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.

For the favor of God and to effectively engage your city, a community, or a local school, an intentional Christian witness and service, based on Jesus’ teaching to his disciples in Luke 10:1-9, is absolute. Prayer Evangelism is the 1st leap towards spiritual transformation. There are four key components within the instruction Jesus gave his disciples before He sent them out. These steps are interconnected and flow in the order that they were given.

As we reach-out to those around us in prayer, we do so knowing that we carry the authority of the Name of Jesus as well as protection from evil. Through our expressions of the Gospel (via 10 Keys of the Kingdom) Matt.16:18-19, God’s Light and Truth bring about change in the spiritual climate (attitudes and activities) within the community we reach through ministry. From Luke 10, the first steps are to pray for where you are being sent v.1, pray for other laborers v.2, and then go v.3, following the next steps.

Luke 10: steps and leaps towards transformation

  • Bless: speak peace to people and systems in your sphere of influence. v.5-6
  • Fellowship: build relationship with those outside the Kingdom of God. v.7-8
  • Minister: respond to their felt needs in the name of Jesus. v.9a
  • Proclaim: announce that the Kingdom of God has come near and is available to them through Jesus Christ. v.9b

Foundational Questions about reaching a city

How do you reach a city for Christ? Build a canopy of prayer over the entire city – block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, in order to change the spiritual climate.  1 Timothy 2:1-8

When can we say that a city has been reached? The answer represents a four-part progressive penetration of the gospel.

Level 1: Canopy – everyone has a shepherd – Bless the lost… Luke 10:5

Level 2: Relationships – everyone knows their pastor – Fellowship… Luke 10:7

Level 3: Spiritual climate changes for the better – Meet felt needs… Luke 10:9

Level 4: Transformation – the Kingdom is evident in one or more city sectors – Kingdom of God is near/has come to the city… Luke 10:9

  • Discipleship of city/community Matt.28
  • Marketplace redeemed/reclaimed Luke 19:10
  • Every Christian a Minister and Work is Worship Col. 3:23
  • Take Kingdom of God to the kingdom of darkness Matt. 16:18-19
  • Elimination of systemic poverty

6 Final steps towards reaching a city for Christ

“…the grace to reach the city has been deposited in the city; and if it takes the whole Church to present the whole gospel to the whole city; then prayer evangelism is the best way to equip the saints to do it.” 

  1. Establish God’s perimeter in the city in dedicate sites/homes as lighthouses of prayer (Repent/Reform)
  2. Secure God’s perimeter with sites/homes of peace (Reinforce)
  3. Expand God’s perimeter via prayer walking in strategic sites, homes, and neighborhoods (Kingdom Builders/Rebuild)
  4. Infiltrate Satan’s perimeter with acts of public prayer at identified gates, speaking peace in dark areas, reading Scripture, prayer walking in strategic public areas (Repentance/Reconciliation)
  5. Attack and destroy Satan’s perimeter by going into neighborhoods, to visit, listen, bless, and empower… (Spiritual Warfare/Reinvest)
  6. Establish God’s perimeter where Satan’s perimeter used to be through public worship, Lord’s Table, meals, fellowship… (Reclaim/Restore)

Questions or comments about Prayer Evangelism? Contact me here or post them at praydurham

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

Relationships

If you value people in the city, then you will make intentional decisions to build long-term empowering relationships.  Intentionally doing so will allow you to cross cultural barriers and build relationships which enrich your lives.  Knowing people within the city helps cultivate an appreciation of their diversity, which enriches and broadens ones vision and ministry.  It presents itself as an indigenous vault of resources.

Relationships and leadership development on-the-job creates and affirms value, power, and a sense of community in the lives of your ministry teams.

Leadership Development

Invest in people. Pour yourself into those that God sends your way by taking what He poured into you and reinvest it into others.  It may take fifteen years to develop indigenous urban leadership.  It’s necessary, absolutely vital, for implementing an effective and sustainable ministry to city kids.  

  • Make spiritual disciples for Christ in the city… Matthew 28:19-20  
  • Develop spiritual leaders for Christ in the city… Philippians 3:10  
  • Lead others into a Christ-like life of Sacrifice – Suffering – Service:

Because we children of Adam want to become great, He became small. Because we will not stoop, He humbled Himself. Because we want to rule, He came to serve.

Reconciliation

A result of redemption, the end being made right with God, now we are His ambassadors… 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
Satan has a plan to alienate and separate us from God and each other.  You and I need to repent and forgive.

Unity Pledge

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am committed to the unity and harmony intended for His Body, the Church.  I repent and ask forgiveness for any way I have alienated others.  I share remorse for every thought, word, or action that has divided the Church.  I will forgive those who have sinned against me.  I will pray for the unity and harmony of God’s people.  And I will work with other Christians to move beyond any racial barriers, demonstrating the unity of the Glory of Christ our Lord.

Risk-taking in ministry

It is in the heat of urban risk-taking ministry that some of the most innovative and energetic ministries have been developed, which are still used today.

  1. After-school, mentoring, tutoring and other special programs sponsored by indigenous churches
  2. Long-term commitments to disciple indigenous leaders
  3. Training, teaching, and ministry development standards
  4. Bridge teams and young teen programs
  5. 10 Keys of the Kingdom and 7 MIT with song

Location and Place

Are you willing to stay and serve the Lord in a community of need? Living and serving in the city comes with a cost.  You experience life as your neighbors.  You struggle in the city with those that you intend to minister and help.  You share the struggle.  You have a bond – common ground to work from, which builds a trusting relationship.

There is a refreshing movement that blows through urban streets of America today.  It’s called incarnational ministry, which is simply to live and be enriched by the people you minister to.  Whether you presently work on the inside with city kids, effective ideas are born in the city and will inspire your creativity and enhance your ministry.

Networking

Again, focus on networking with others in the community to build capacity and sustainability.  A God-given vision will be inclusive of His Kingdom at-large. Indigenous partners and leadership with the same vision will empower people in the Kingdom if done long-term.  Here are a few areas to consider networking for capacity-building, sustainability, and effectiveness in the city:

  1. Organizations, cohorts, and initiatives that network in the city
  2. Church Partnerships
  3. Innovative Outreach Events
  4. Creative Ministries
  5. Diversity and Development

Strategic Planning

This is not the last or least important component of implementing and growing a city ministry.  I saved it last to emphasize its fluid and/or organic nature.  Its value is immense, thus, used throughout every aspect of developing a strong ministry to city kids.  Strategic planning towards implementation is just that — strategic!  So, this aspect will always be evaluated and tweaked as changes occur in the city, community, staffing, dynamics of individual neighborhoods, etc.

Prayer for spiritual transformation of the city sectors by the Ekklesia is vital for successful outcomes of a strategic plan targeting communities, schools, and city kids.

I am providing you a link to see a proposed strategic plan for CEF City Kids USA.  You will notice that it is currently a proposal.  The plan leverages the use of the 10 Keys of the Kingdom.  It has various metrics to evaluate progress over 3 years.  It also has space for scaling and changes depending on its success and reception by the CEF family.  This proposed strategic plan is focused on vision-casting, leadership development, and risk-taking during its first 3 years.

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