‘CEF’s Military Children’s Ministry offers security, continuity and the Gospel message through Good News Clubs® tailored to military life,’ says CEF Military Children’s Ministry director Andy Bunn
For Immediate Release
November 6, 2023
ST. LOUIS — When Americans observe Veterans Day, they often reflect on the sacrifices made by our soldiers, sailors, airmen, coast guardsmen and others serving in the nation’s armed forces. What most Americans don’t think about is the impact that being in the military can have on a child and or children who have parents who are in active duty.
“A key part of military life involves children and families, for whom Child Evangelism Fellowship has a special place in our hearts,” says Andy Bunn, Military Children’s Ministry director. “It’s not an easy life for many, and we are doing our best to reach those families. CEF’s Military Children’s Ministry offers security, continuity and the Gospel message through Good News Clubs® tailored to military life.”
About four million people call the U.S. military “home” and more than one million American children have at least one parent on active duty. Life for military families often means frequent moves to different states and even different countries. When a parent is deployed away from the family for six months to a year or more, it can bring enormous stress to children. The Military Children’s Ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is designed to help children build a strong foundation of faith to see them through upheavals and unique challenges.
“Veterans Day reminds us of how much we owe the brave people who serve in the armed forces,” Bunn says. “Children in military families face uncertainty, frequent moves and deployment of parents. Our Good News Clubs® share with them the unchanging anchor of Jesus Christ.”
Dr. Bunn is uniquely prepared to lead the CEF Military Children’s Ministry. A graduate of West Point Military Academy, he holds an MDiv from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and earned a Ph.D. in Leadership from Piedmont International University. A Desert Storm veteran, Andy served 10 years in the Army, training and leading soldiers and as a department head for ROTC.
“The Lord has seen fit to take me on a journey of military service, secular work, vocational chaplain ministry and leadership, including executive leadership of a ministry that trained church leaders in Africa,” Andy says. “I’m grateful for how God worked and grew me for this vital ministry assignment, to teach God’s Word to the next generation so they might know Him.”
One Good News Club® teacher shared this:
“A mother of a girl who attended club at a nearby military installation came to ask for the prizes we had given out. I gave her a music CD. She explained she would send it to her husband stationed in the Middle East so he would know what Anna was learning and not feel left out. After that, I made sure Anna had two resources to take home every time! I wondered what impact those songs had in that soldier’s barracks!”
Approximately 25 to 35 percent of the people in a given military community move every year. Most assignments last two to three years, with the end of the assignment possibly bringing a move across the world. Children in military families not only frequently have to pick up and leave their homes but spend extended periods away from their parents during deployment and training.
Over two million American children have had a parent deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan, according to the National Center for Children in Poverty. More than 2,200 children have lost a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan and at least 19,000 children have had a parent wounded in action.
“Children in military families must continually adjust to new surroundings and make new friends,” Bunn says. “They need stability and assurance that transcends their environment. They need Jesus, the Rock of Ages. We have established ministries on 16 bases in 13 states and are aiming to add more in the near future.”
Marine Base Ministries
In late August, Navy Senior Chaplain Wayne Macrae, who has chaplain responsibility for the western region of U.S. Marine bases, contacted CEF’s Military Children’s Ministry. He was able to meet with several CEF chapter leaders from Southern California and Arizona.
“The Lord is now leading the coordination of ministry to children on FOUR Marine bases in San Diego, Miramar, and Barstow, California and Yuma, Arizona!” according to the July-September 2023 Partnering with Chaplains newsletter. “Let’s pray God’s word and the opportunity to serve children on military bases continues to get out such that MCM is contacted daily!”
How It Works
A Good News Club® is held in a home or school that is safe for a child to attend and helps children to learn the Gospel through Bible lessons, songs, memory verses, small group time and many more activities. Through Gospel presentations and discipleship, the Good News Clubs® allow boys and girls to know God’s stable presence and love, even as they face loneliness, fear and frequent upheaval. They are another way to bring the teaching of biblical morality to not only the children but to the neighborhood and connect children and their families to others where they live to develop community spirit.
Active ministries include: Alabama: Fort Novosel (Army); Alaska: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (Air Force/Army); Florida: Hurlburt Field (Air Force); Kansas: Fort Riley (Army); Kentucky: Fort Campbell (Army); Louisiana: Barksdale (Air Force); Missouri: Fort Leonard Wood (Army); New York: Fort Drum and Fort Hamilton (Army); North Carolina: Fort Liberty (Army), formerly Fort Bragg; South Carolina: Fort Jackson (Army); Texas: Fort Bliss (Army) and Fort Cavazos (Army) formerly Fort Hood; Virginia: Fort Belvoir (Army) and Joint Base Langley-Eustis (Air Force/Army), and Washington: Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Air Force/Army).
“These families deserve all the help we can give them,” Bunn says. “They put it all on the line and their children are a big part of that. We are grateful to God that we can play a role in giving them the lifesaving message of the Gospel.”
Child Evangelism Fellowship, which was founded 86 years ago, has been establishing Good News Clubs® in countries around the world for decades. Clubs are thriving worldwide, in countries including Australia, Cambodia, Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Uganda.
Last year, through CEF’s combined ministries, more than 19.5 million children worldwide heard the Good News. In 2022, more than 439,000 teachers were trained around the world.
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is an international, nonprofit, Christian ministry that has been dedicated to seeing every child reached with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, discipled and established in a local church since 1937. CEF is located in all 50 American states and in most countries around the world, with over 3,500 paid staff and tens of thousands of volunteers around the world.
To interview a representative from Child Evangelism Fellowship, contact [email protected], Beth Bogucki, 610.584.1096, ext. 105, or Daniel Moyer, ext. 104.