by KIMBERLY GRACE BOWMAN
“…He said to them,‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.’Then He took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them” (Mark 10:14-16).
Over the past century, our children have become more and more vulnerable to the garbage of this world. They have easily become unguarded victims of what this world tries to offer them. And some have even been left without knowledge of the salvation and saving love of Jesus who came to give us life and joy. Whether it be because they have never heard a message from within church walls or have simply never been told of the amazing love Jesus has offered to each and every one of them, the Child Evangelism Fellowship is one of many ministries who work consistently to bring Jesus to this younger generation inside—and especially outside— church walls.
In 1937, God placed within Jesse Irvin Overholtzer the desire to reach out to young children who, unlike many adults, could understand the message of the salvation of Jesus if they were to be taught in a manner they could comprehend. As a child, Mr. Overholtzer was told he was too young to understand salvation. Jesse Overholtzer would not receive Jesus as his Savior until his college years as result of these comments. Later in his life as a pastor, Overholtzer was inspired by one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons and the statement within, “A child of five, if properly instructed can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult.” Therefore, Pastor Overholtzer at age 60 founded the Child Evangelism Fellowship. Since its founding, the CEF has grown into state divisions, overseas missions, and a resulting 12 million children who have been impacted through the tireless efforts of the CEF to fulfill the Great Commission.
In recent years, the public school system has become a frequent target of the enemy to introduce un-Godly teaching and ideas into the hearts and minds of young children, while the truth that comes from God is usually left outside of the school building. The CEF is one method that God is using to greatly impact the children within the public school systems for the glory of Christ.
Among the many avenues within the Child Evangelism Fellowship, the CEF utilizes a program called Good News Clubs to reach out to children within public settings such as the public school system. Although the CEF has been in operation since 1937, a Supreme Court ruling passed in 2001 allows religious organizations such as the Child Evangelism Fellowship to meet in public schools.
These Good News Clubs, which serve as the flagship program of the Child Evangelism Fellowship, are primarily weekly half-hour classes which are led by trained teachers who minister the gospel to young children. A typical Good News Club is usually started by a church, which chooses to adopt a school under the name and supervision of the Child Evangelism Fellowship.
In Mississippi, Director Andrew Ward leads the Child Evangelism Fellowship. He can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at (601) 573-2850. Within the CEF, there are many opportunities to reach out to boys and girls by way of Good News Clubs through the commitment of a church to adopt a school. If you or your church might be interested in spreading the gospel to children by being part of starting a Good News Club within a school, contact Andrew. Visit their website at www.cefofmississippi.com. And for more information about the Child Evangelism Fellowship and to learn more about the ministry opportunities within the CEF, visit their main website www.cefonline.com or call the US Ministries and Ministry Opportunities at (800) 300-4033.
Kimberly Grace Bowman resides in Florence, Mississippi, and is a junior in high school through A Beka Academy homeschooling. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.