Expressing the Kingdom of God within your context!

What could this mean for your ministry BECOMING?

  1. Inclusion and diversity of your staff, board, and/or committees
  2. Cultural competencies for effective direct ministry
  3. Engaging cross cultural communities with their access and favor
  4. Personal reflection and biblical reconciliation where needed

Diversity Training is any program designed to facilitate positive group interaction, to address and reduce biases, prejudice, marginalization, discrimination, and generally teach individuals who are different from others how to work together effectively. However, not all such seminars, webinars, workshops, and/or training is the same.

From the broad corporate perspective: Diversity training is defined as raising personal awareness about individual differences in the workplace and how those differences inhibit or enhance the way people work together and get work done. This probably will include the dynamics of inclusion, where everyone is valued, respected, affirmed by having a voice, and feels like they matter. Each of these outcomes should be desired within all workplace and ministry settings.

Values-based diversity and inclusion training programs are designed encourage increased collaboration, enhance interpersonal skills, and empower everyone to become more productive. Studies found that companies and organizations which foster diversity and inclusion are 35% more productive. This certainly is true of a biblical Kingdom Building approach, which propels individuals and organizations towards proper alignment and right relationships with God and individuals.

How will a values-based Kingdom-expressing approach to diversity and inclusion be successful?

  • Develops an understanding of biblical diversity and inclusion with an emphasis on expressing the Kingdom of God on earth
  • All training sessions are tailored to fit the organization’s mission, objectives, and goals
  • There’s an expectation to dig deeper and become open to vulnerability and taking risks to express the Kingdom of God
  • Organization’s commitment to extend training and measurable diversity engagement over increments of time

Identifying your diversity, inclusion, or collaborative needs for successful engagement

Open and honest conversations with your team, chapter, and/or organization is essential for addressing and tackling the complex, under-served, or neglected topics of diversity, inclusion, race, gender, etc. Here are a few common subject matters, which might help your organization identify your needs for successfully engaging diversity.

  • Affirming true value of people
  • Asset-based collaboration
  • Challenges and Goals
  • Cultural Competence
  • Conversations and Discussions
  • Changing Spiritual Atmosphere
  • Education and Discipleship
  • Changing mindsets and attitudes
  • Partnerships with sustained action

Next: Kingdom Formation and Expression What could this mean for your ministry?

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

PRAYER: One Race

Father, your Word tell us that every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth have been made of one blood. Regardless of the color of our skin or where we live, we are all of one race the human race. Forgive us — forgive me — for magnifying [myself] which profits nothing.Transform us to be like You, a people who look at the heart and see every person as You see them. Each one of us is made in Your Image. This is astonishing and reason for great joy and wonder. Help us to value every human life as you do, and to put behind us our focus on [ourselves]. Teach us to celebrate our similarities — the important matters of heart and mind and soul and spirit; of common human experiences, the wonder of being filled with Your Spirit, and indescribable joy of experiencing and praising You! Give us Your Eyes to see people as You see them and enable me, by the power of Your Spirit, to love them as You love them… and as you love me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. pg. 33 Make Us One (see below)

Our nation is in turmoil over many issues these days―political, social and health related. But systemic racism and how it touches so much of society is one of the most painful. The Make Us One 31-day devotional prayer guide speaks into this issue. It is designed to open the heart of the reader so he or she can experience inner healing, repent where needed, and move him or her toward heart-transformation. Ultimately it is a cry for God to bring healing over this evil in our nation. Each of the powerful, insightful, scripture-based prayers is written by a national prayer leader or pastor. It has a hard-hitting, clear, prophetic voice for our times, and a message to the Church that it cannot turn a blind eye to this issue any longer, but needs to live out Jesus’ prayer in John 17, that we would be one. Another resource “hand-in-glove” to Make Us One is One Blood, written by another friend and mentor, Dr. John Perkins.

My RDU Prays collaborator Nikko Peele complied Make Us One for such a time as we are experiencing in our nation. I’ve used these 31-day devotions each morning during the current winter season and as I prayerfully looking into 2021. Helpful. Sharpens my perspective and outlook. You can find Make Us One at https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks… johneblake

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.

Child Evangelism Fellowship® of North Carolina in Durham presented its 2020 Ministry Briefing and COVID-Relief Update on Wed. Dec. 16th via Zoom for CEF supporters and friends. The Board members of the CEF Durham Area Chapter and its Director shared an exciting year-end report and update on how over 7,000 children were reached even during the restrictive COVID pandemic since March 2020.

See January-March 2020 began with strong ministry – April-December everything was adjusted = 7,000+ city kids reached!

Hear the recorded meeting of testimonies and a Christmas Greeting from the board members. The year-end report was given by me, the director. Here is the LINK for the meeting (use this 7k^c4fx$ to view). To read a more detailed report with graphics and pictures click on NEWSLETTERS and look for 2020 Ministry Report. I’ve posted, below, the graphics for my 2020 ministry report.

We have always followed a simple, but profound threefold purpose: evangelism, discipleship, and connecting local churches to unchurched children and families across our area, which is in concert with the mission statement of Child Evangelism Fellowship for 83 years. For 27 years, Child Evangelism Fellowship staff and volunteers have reached city kids in the surrounding Durham area. Through our Good News Clubs, sports camps, and collaborative events with dozens of ministry partners, we’ve been able to share the gospel with children of all ages. Thousands have accepted Christ as their Savior over those 27 years and many lives, families, and communities have been changed. Biblical discipleship and character development are happening weekly in schools and neighborhoods. Prayer Evangelism integrates everything we do.

Prayer Retreat at St. Francis Springs Center in North Carolina

So, after a great start with direct ministry with kids, training volunteers, preaching in the jail, and completing character development classes in schools, everything came to a screeching halt. There were new realities and soon to follow a New Normal. Despite the current situation and changing circumstances across the nation and our state, we simply did what we have been doing, but made some dramatic adjustments and became more innovative and creative. To reach 7,000+ in 2020 here are the adjustments we made and ministries we pushed forward with the help of our volunteers and our CEF Education and Creative departments.

  • Connections, ideas, and access of communication sources we could leverage for all teachers, kids, and families to use in finishing up the already started ministries before summer began.
  • Created, mobilized, and ramped up our prayer networks across the area via prayer walking, PrayDurham and RDU Prays initiatives, engaged in Prayer Walks for Justice & Peace, as well as enrolled in the Ekklesia Excelerator course with other Kingdom-building friends, leaders, and CEF volunteers.
  • Conducted summer camps (reading, 5-Day Club, etiquette, life skills, and character development, but no sports) via Zoom with close to 80% attendance daily for six weeks.
  • Weekly visits in communities, where we minister regularly, with breakfast, care packages, Wonder Why? booklets distributed, singing, and prayer with city kids and their families (per current COVID guidelines)
  • Bike distributions, with a helmet, vest, and bike light for all city kids attending Good News Club in one downtown community (see picture below)
  • COVID-Relief supplies, food, and devotional books were distributed for all city kids and families in another public housing community where we have weekly outreach and clubs. This was accomplished by the community’s CEF ministry team, a financial grant from the Duke-Durham Fund, local churches, food banks, and residents collaboratively meeting the expressed needs of this community throughout the summer and fall. (see picture below)
  • Continued to engage conversations and study with others locally about Race and Justice issues via Christianity Deconstructs Racism and Together We Stand.
  • Team leaders connected Good News Club TV and other learning resources to their students.
  • Drive-thru Back-to-School and Christmas events with our ministry partners as we distributed Christian books, Bibles, and Gospel-centered literature (seen in the video below and see picture below).

Graphics and pictures of ministry adjustments in 2020 and ministry outreach history of the CEF Durham Area Chapter

A long-time CEF volunteer, co-teacher with Lou Brodgen, special friend, hugger, and lover of all children. During a difficult time in her life, Sandy started the Butterflz youth ministry along with CEF and her church. many city kids were reached and nurtured. Her “Celebration of Life” was held on October 24th at Christian Assembly Church in Durham. A butterfly release was done outside following the service. Sandy will certainly be missed, but is now with her Savior in Heaven. June 14, 1969 – Oct. 11, 2020

Friends of CEF Durham: Help us reach city kids now by sponsoring a child/youth to attend a camp this Fall 2020 or Spring 2021   Camps for City Kids includes: Sports instruction and play, character development, Bible clubs with life skills and social etiquette classes, as well as helping all campers understand their God-given value, power, and destiny.

Coach Parrish, after 44 years of coaching and now caring for his son Andy, has join me along with a friend and former Jordan High School classmate, Emily Biggs, with this challenge to all supporters of CEF Durham and all former players of Coach. In the words of Coach Parrish: This is a great opportunity to give back from your athletic experiences to a young kid that needs direction during their early years of development… Today’s city kids need the same challenge and opportunities my former players had, now more than ever.

John Blake recently reported to the CEF Durham Board that 15% of all children we reached this year were enrolled in weekly clubs and programs in schools and neighborhoods. 78% of the total 7,138 kids reached were reached before the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, direct outreach has been a challenge! Even so, 1,500 kids were ministered to this summer in virtual camps, via back-to-school events, and COVID-relief supplies for their families. So, going forward, we will continue virtual clubs/teaching and offer a few camps this Fall and hopefully many more next Spring 2021.

After 44 years of coaching: Coach Parrish has a challenge

Hey! I’m reaching out to all of my former players from Githens Junior School to JHS, SHS, RHS, and JHS again as well as all JPS and PS campers. I’m thanking all of you for all of my GREAT MEMORIES from the start – 1968 – to the end – 2012 – of my coaching journey. On behalf of one of our guys, John “Doc” Blake, a JHS ‘73 student and sport trainer, who went on to become a Sport Medicine and strength coach caring for East Carolina athletes, then at SHS, RHS, JPS and PS athletes.

Today “doc” is the director of CEF in the Durham area. I’ve served on the CEF Board of Directors and led summer sports camps with CEF until Andy’s accident. So, Andy and I, along with Emily and “doc” are challenging each of you to sponsor kids to attend the next camps, which doc Blake and CEF will be offering this Fall and next Spring. This will be a great opportunity to give back from your athletic experiences to a young kid that needs direction during their early development. 

I still love all of you who ran those suicides, which helped in developing your physical and mental toughness to win. Today’s city kids need this same challenge and opportunity more than ever. Finally, I would love the opportunity to reconnect with you.  Just use any of the many media means to contact with me.
Coach Larry Parrish

Connell Green September 7, 1964 – June 29, 2020

Connell lived and ministered in a community where CEF has served in Downtown Durham for 20 years

From Christ Central Church, where both Connell and I have attended for 5 years:

We are heartbroken to share that Connell Green passed away on Monday, June 29, 2020, of liver failure.

Connell was one of Christ Central’s earliest members. We will miss Connell’s bold prayers, his wise and prophetic spirit, his knowledge of scripture, and how easily he called upon God’s Word. We’ll miss his infectious laughter and his smile that could light up an entire room. We’ll miss the way Connell was quick to offer encouragement, to strangers and friends alike. In fact, to Connell, everyone was a friend. He knew no stranger

Connell loved people well. Most recently, we witnessed this as he championed his neighbors from McDougald Terrace who were displaced together for many months. He admirably cared for others in the midst of a really difficult situation. 

Connell’s entrepreneurial spirit was inspiring. He loved baking cookies and sharing them with others. He was a family man who shared his love for his children and grandchildren often. Connell loved to dance. He was a Jobs for Life graduate and an author. 

We grieve Connell’s loss. We also grieve a reality that prevents us from attending his funeral or hosting a celebration for him at this time. We plan to honor Connell’s life in-person when it is safe to do so. Though we find assurance in knowing that Connell is with his Savior Jesus in Heaven, we miss him so much already.

“The problem wasn’t that I couldn’t put words to paper. The problem was I couldn’t get those words to make sense. That’s because I wasn’t clear on my objective. I was trying to say too much and, as result, I was saying nothing.” writes Brenda Barbosa The One Sentence That Will make You a More Effective Speaker Wow! I can so identify with her statements. I will share a few more of her comments as well as mine to my friends who have so much passion for their mission and truly have something to say.

“This… will make all your speeches clear, concise, and compelling.”

If your audience is often confused and lost:

Here’s a few tips for becoming more effective when you communicate as you speak and write

  • Distill your thoughts into one succinct takeaway for the audience/reader — it’s your big idea
  • Choose a topic out of your big idea and focus on it
    • Without a big idea to light the way, you’ll wander aimlessly through draft after draft of your speech… you’ll become so tired of going in circles you’ll simply want to give up or, worse, you’ll decide to “wing it.” …jotting down some notes, throw together a few slides, slap on a title, and call it a presentation.
  • Determine what inspires you about the topic
    • This is usually your area of expertise or passion
  • Articulate your inspiration (idea) with one sentence
    • Think of the single sentence as a lighthouse guiding you through fog. If you become overwhelmed with an abundance of data or competing themes, the single sentence will help you stay on track.
  • Note: Any piece of data, story, or anecdote that doesn’t jive with your single sentence should be trashed (probably can be used later with another talk and newsletter)

“Anyone who has an idea worth sharing is capable of giving a powerful talk,” Anderson writes in his book, TED Talks: The Official Guide to Public Speaking. “The only thing that truly matters in public speaking is not confidence, stage presence, or smooth talking. It’s having something worth saying.”

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