Big Picture


CEF equips parents to powerfully affect their children’s mental health and well-being

‘Raising kids with the love and knowledge of Jesus brings all kinds of benefits, including good mental health,’ says CEF Acting Vice President of Administration Fred Pry

For Immediate Release

May 6, 2024

ST. LOUIS — Mental, behavioral and developmental disorders begin in early childhood. According to the CDC, one in six U.S. children ages two to eight years have a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. For young children, the Gospel and hearing Jesus’ word is the light and hope they need. As a result of extensive research, George Barna said: “Whatever a child believes by age 13 is in most cases what he will die believing.” “In other words, if people do not embrace Jesus Christ as their Savior before they reach their teenage years, the chance of their doing so at all is slim.”

“Young people who are brought up to value faith and going to church fare better than those who don’t have religious or spiritual input,” according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. “Compared with no attendance, at least weekly attendance of religious services was associated with greater life satisfaction and a number of character strengths.” A Forbes magazine article about a similar study goes on to note that, “Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being.”

“Raising kids with the love and knowledge of Jesus brings all kinds of benefits, including good mental health,” says Child Evangelism Fellowship’s (CEF) Acting Vice President of Administration Fred Pry. “We shouldn’t be surprised at these findings, since we see the effects every day in our Good News Clubs®, 5-Day Clubs and other ministries such as CEF’s Christian Youth In Action® (CYIA).”

CEF’s Christian Youth In Action® (CYIA) program is transforming the lives of young people across the United States and around the world. Teens take one to two weeks of intensive training in how to present the Gospel clearly on a child’s level and how to counsel a child for salvation. They emerge with confidence, faith, and leadership skills to lead 5-Day Clubs for boys and girls. Through CYIA, CEF trains teens on how to reach children in their community with the Gospel.

“CEF brings hope and healing to the teens who are a part of CYIA through God’s Word and the confidence, faith building and leadership skills they learn through the program,” Pry says.

Angel, who came out of a troubled background, found new life through CYIA. “I had gone from this hopeless situation to where I wanted to do something with my life,” she said. “Joining CYIA gave me the opportunity to make my life not about me, but about serving others.”

A CEF volunteer in Illinois shared how 5-Day Clubs benefit not only the children who attend but often bring the Gospel to their families and blessings to the volunteers.

“I was asked if we could host a 5-Day Club in our yard. On the first day of the club, when Jack, the summer missionary, gave the invitation to trust in Jesus for salvation, a little boy, Dakota, leaped to his feet and ran over to pray with Jack. Dakota was gloriously born again.

“Dakota and his grandpa became very faithful attendees at church and Dakota eventually was baptized. As a result of that service, Dakota’s grandfather’s friend, Elsie, began coming to church regularly and became a believer in Christ. Elsie said, ‘I finally got saved on St. Pat’s Day. I’ve listened to him (the pastor) talk about it, and I finally surrendered at the age of 81. And it all started with Dakota!’”

Child Evangelism Fellowship, which was founded 87 years ago, has been establishing the Good News Club® 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 and many more.

In 2022, through CEF’s combined ministries, more than 19.5 million children worldwide heard the Good News. More than 439,000 teachers were trained around the world.

For more CEF news, see the ministry’s latest edition of the online magazine Impact.

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.

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