Stories from CEF
Former Good News Club Kid Becomes One of Youngest School Board Members in Texas
By Celia Brannon
While still a senior in high school, Chris Willis proved to an entire town that you can’t discount someone because of his youth. He ran for a place on the Granbury, Texas school board and defeated two opponents to be able to have a say in how the district handles its operations. Then, right after his 2019 high school graduation, Chris accepted a full-time position with CEF Greater Fort Worth as the coordinator for eight counties in their chapter.
“I purposefully find people who are broken,” Chris Willis tells me. Chris knows better than many, exactly what “broken” can mean. By the fifth grade, he had already lived a life that sounds like he might be reading it to me out of a novel.
Whistleblowing, death threats against his family, a move in the night to a faraway place, lawsuits suddenly dropped under suspicious and sudden circumstances, financial upheaval. All of this happened amidst fear, trauma, and severe family illnesses. The worst of that destruction was the impact it had on how each person in the family felt about God. Chris had been in a Good News Club® during this time and he had trusted in Christ through that ministry. You never know what one of the children in your club is experiencing!
You never know what one of the children in your club is experiencing!
Fortunately, Chris had neighbors his age who invited him to their church youth group as soon as he moved to Texas. In sixth grade, Chris attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Club meeting. He was disappointed that he didn’t get the spiritual connection he was looking for, so in true Chris style, the outgoing youngster decided to start his own club.
After the principal told him he had to have a faculty sponsor to start a new club on campus, he wore a sign on his shirt until he found that sponsor and the rest is history. Seven kids came. Then there were 30, and 40 and eventually, over 100 students regularly attended the Thursday club where he repeated the youth lesson from the night before, adding his own notes.
Seven kids came. Then there were 30, and 40 and eventually, over 100 students regularly attended the Thursday club . . .
In high school, Chris and his friend Chris Patton agreed that “they both wanted an avenue to reach large audiences for God” and they wanted it to be entirely student-led. Donations paid the $500 needed to rent the high school auditorium. Revive Student Rally had 600 in attendance that May. The following September there were 800 and the next May 1,000 students attended the rally, still completely student-led.
What’s next? Chris will be attending local colleges and universities to stay close to his commitment to the school district. He will be majoring in business and marketing and then plans to attend seminary.
While Chris has gone from a child in Good News Club, to a newsmaker—as coordinator for CEF of Greater Ft. Worth, he will continue reaching large audiences with the best news—the Gospel of Jesus Christ!