As we were starting our first Good News Club at Mi Patrimonio in Tijuana, Mexico my husband and I started to walk around the neighborhood to invite children to the Good News Club in our home. I came across a mother and her nine-year-old daughter Linda who live behind our house.
You and I often greet others with the quick question, "How are you?" Usually we get a hurried "fine" in reply. Many times we barely slow down for the answer. The Maasai tribe of Kenya has a greeting that goes a bit deeper--"How are the children?" It would be good for us to stop and ask that same question.
Can we answer as the Maasai would, "The children are fine"? Judging by statistics, no! Many children are struggling with challenges at school, cultural pressures and family relationships. Even more important than these issues is the child's relationship to God.
In trying to reach kids with the Gospel we must ask, "Where are the children?" Most of them can be found at public school facilities. Therefore, if we want to reach kids today, we need to go to the schools.
The great news is that CEF is already there! Good News Clubs are a growing presence in the public schools of America. In the same schools where teachers cannot name Christ or pray without conflict, children are hearing the good news of salvation every week through Bible and missionary stories, songs and activities. Evangelism and discipleship are the primary goals of these clubs and we are meeting them. Last year 16,321 children in school-based clubs (after-school and released-time classes) received Christ as their Savior!
The average attendance in a Good News Club® held in a public school is 43. Right now we are reaching 20,000 more kids through school-based clubs than last year. That growth excites me!
There is room for you to get in on this ministry. New clubs begin across the U.S. each week--school doors are wide open. And what goes on at club reaches the whole family. In fact at one club in Missouri we have the oldest official Good News Club student, Shelly.
Shelly's daughter Haley came to club all last year. Her mother picked her up after club, but she arrived early and waited outside the door to listen to the lesson. One day Shelly asked the club teacher if her mother could sit in on the club and she eventually asked to join! Shelly has faithfully come with Haley ever since. She participates in all the activities such as songs, memory verse drills and games. Shelly says, "CEF lessons are so simple that I understand them!"
Let's be more than people passing each other with a hurried "How are you?" Take time to find out how the children are in your area and minister to their deepest need--the need to know their Savior.
Yesterday at club I noticed a third grader who wasn't taking part in her small group. She was detached, uninterested, and determined to stay that way. Last week I tried to engage her in conversation, but she refused to answer my questions or make eye contact. Last night I made the decision to speak to her parents about her behavior - if she wasn't going to participate, maybe she would rather not be at club ... and maybe my job would be a bit easier if I didn't have to worry about the situation.
Take the case of Austin*. It’s not that Austin, a third grader, is a bad kid or spoiled brat …. So you can imagine his school teacher, Mrs. Hanson’s surprise when the following event occurred.
The TRAINING of individuals multiplies our ministry and enables us to reach many more children with the Gospel than we otherwise could. For the past eight years we have trained over 250,000 TEACHERS annually. Training is vital if we are to see more children reached for His glory.
EQUIPPING our workers with quality literature is ESSENTIAL to effective outreach. Our overseas regional directors confirm that one of the reasons we have been able to expand ministry each of the past ten years is because of the literature being provided FREE OF CHARGE to trained teachers. We are also distributing literature in the USA at NO COST to hundreds of thousands of children.