Well, it has been a while since I made time to write a blog entry. In October business was brisk, now I don’t have that problem. In November my family and I went on a sort of vacation / missions trip to Child Evangelism Fellowship world headquarters in Warrenton, Missouri. It was an amazing week and I learned a lot about this ministry that I have been becoming progressively more involved with over the past two years or so.
For those who don’t know much about this ministry I’ll give you some background information.
- C.E.F. was begun in 1937 by one man named Jesse Overholtzer who had a passion for reaching children with the Gospel.
- Mr. Overholtzer understood the Gospel at an early are but was not taken seriously by his parents or pastor as it was apparently the thought of his time that children cannot understand the Gospel.
- 70 years later they are a huge international ministry that in currently working in 159 countries of the 180 countries in the world.
- They are one of very few ministries to children that still present a complete Gospel message including teaching on sin before the offer of the Gospel.
- One critique that I do have is that they sometimes begin the lesson with heaven which I see as a sort of bait for the Gospel rather than what it is Biblically, a side benefit of being in a right relationship with God.
- However their Gospel presentation is essentially complete and their staff and volunteers are well trained.
- Ministries that they have are
- 5 Day Clubs where they come to your home and present lessons, songs and memory verses for five days in a row for about one hour. The Host provides a place to meet and a snack and is responsible for passing out invitations in their neighborhood. It is an effective outreach and often impacts people later in life when they attend as a child.
- Good News Club which are like a weekly 5 Day Club or an Awana program that meets in the Public Schools after school. This ministry is huge. Here in St. Clair County, MI we have 14 of them going on in different schools.
- Mailbox Club which is a mail in bible study for everything from young children who do them with their parents to prisoners who do them from prison. They are completely free to the one who does the lessons. C.E.F. even covers the postage. We went down there to help out in this ministry and the week that we were there they processed over 10,000 of these lessons and recorded about 30 people who made professions of faith.
- Wonderzone.com which is like an online version of the Mailbox Club
- They also offer extensive training, great literature and opportunities to serve as missionaries throughout the world with a primary emphasis on reaching children.
- Christian Youth In Action / Summer Missionary Assistant are 2 week and 1 week training programs that train teens to be the teachers in the 5 day club ministry in the summer. This is really where my family began to get involved in this ministry, when my oldest son decided to get the S.M.A. training.
- They offer training also for the average person who is involved in any type of childrens ministry and opportunities to be a “trailguide” on the wonderzone where you can log on and correct lessons and correspond with the people doing them without a huge time committment.
- This is just a sampling of the ministry that goes on at C.E.F. Check out their website at cefonline.com for more.
Currently I am a member of the local committee here and our family is enjoying the opportunities that we are finding to serve the Lord with this ministry.
If you are familiar with the 5 Day Clubs I would encourage you to support and pray for these young people with all seriousness. Many of them go on to full time service with C.E.F. some become pastors, etc. There is a lot behind them and I was amazed at the magnitude of this ministry whose goal is to be active in every country in the world by 2017.
Our trip down to the headquarters was pretty wonderful as well. We met a lot of very dedicated people there, mostly seniors who were giving their time to the Mailbox Club ministry. There were also many who were working there on staff from maintenance to management who raise their own support to have those jobs. We had the opportunity to serve in just about every area that they ask for volunteers to serve in since we were the youngest and most ablebodied of the volunteers. It was a tremendous blessing and I wold encourage any of you with young people in your family to encourage them to attend the C.Y.I.A. / S.M.A. training next summer or those involved in childrens ministry to get a hold of their training and materials.
That’s it for this entry except to say that as with all of us these days, C.E.F needs to get the bills paid. If you would consider helping as a voulnteer or a donating to this ministry it would certainly be a fruitfull gift to the spreading of the Gospel.