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?

After 26 years as a CEF chapter in North Carolina, we are even more vigilant to reach, love, evangelize, disciple, and connect city kids to local church congregations. Most of these youth (4-14 yrs.old) are not involved in a local congregation, thus the mission purpose of CEF worldwide for 82 years. So, in the Durham area, we will continue in 2020 and beyond, as we did in 2019, to reach over 10,000 children, youth, and families through Gospel-centered strategies in their communities and schools.

“Nowhere to Go, Nothing to Do” accurately describes the lives of the city kids we teach.

Whether it happens to be on the streets of our city or in various classrooms, the biblical message of salvation as well as how to live for Christ will be taught and lived out by amazing volunteer teachers and leaders each week. I’m excited about the unique opportunities we will have to enhance our mission in 2020. See our prayer request and current ministry report to the left. We need and are asking God for more volunteers and resources to expand this effort. I’m asking you to consider being one of those to be an answer to our prayer. Merry Christmas and a Happy 2020!

Get a copy of the Fall 2019 IMPACT magazine edition, which contains the article, “Nowhere to Go, Nothing to Do” by John Blake by sending a contribution of any amount to CEF Durham to cover postage and helping us reach more city kids as we expand our weekly outreach.
 

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.
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.

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

For detailed information visit The Center of Light website

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

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

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

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

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

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

Childhood memories: re-experiencing historic moments

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

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

Places and moments I can never forget from my past

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

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

Deeper reflections — perspective of the world where I minister

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

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

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

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

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.

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