CEF has big plans for little people

John Halford
Contributing Writer

Bridget Back, director of Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) in Southeast Indiana, has some ambitious plans. She wants to reach every child, in every county in her area with the gospel every day.

In a meeting at Osgood Town Hall on Wednesday, February 1 Back explained to her volunteer helpers and supporters that this was a possible dream. Research shows that 80% of children in the USA do not attend church. Between the ages of four and 14 there is a window of opportunity where children are most receptive to the gospel message. Research has shown that two out of every three adults who are Christian made their decision before the age of 18. “That’s why we need to find ways to reach them while they are young,” explained Back.

CEF is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization whose purpose is to reach children with the gospel, and to establish them in a local church for Christian living. CEF is active in every state and province in North America and over 176 countries around the world. The goal of the organization is to provide teaching and high quality, biblically sound and Christ-centered material to support local churches in their children’s ministries. We are interdenominational,” said Back. “We are not a separate church. We partner with churches and other Christian groups who want to become more effective in the children’s ministry.”

A key component of the CEF program is the Good News Club, where the message of salvation is woven into a fun-filled 60-90 minute program of songs, stories and games. Good News Clubs are established in all four Ripley County public elementary schools.

Back estimates that CEF is currently reaching over 500 children. “That is wonderful,” she said, “But, that means there are over 2,000 we have not yet reached. At some schools we are not able to offer Good News Clubs to all grades because we just do not have enough volunteers. We also need to organize clubs in many more places. It doesn’t have to be a school, although they provide a wonderful opportunity. But, you can have a Good News Club in your church, a park, a community center, even your home.”

Another way to reach young people is through the 5 Day Clubs that CEF holds during the summer. “5 Day Clubs are proving to be a very effective way to reach children and families,” said Back. “For 1 1/2 hours each day for 5 days, children aged 5-12 gather to play high energy games, hear stories and sing up-beat songs that capture children’s attention and give them an opportunity to respond to the gospel.” To be successful, CEF must rely on volunteers from the local community. “Most people who learn about what we are doing think it is a good idea. But, we need more people to become actively involved in volunteering and supporting us,” Back noted.

What kind of help does CEF need?

“We need more teachers to lead classes,” said Back. “Retired teachers are ideal because they have the teaching skills, and they are familiar with the classroom environment. Volunteers who come and just spend time with the kids are greatly appreciated. But, we also need help in other areas such as the office. I need help with the routine work so I can spend more time on training and communication. We also need help from professional people. We have pastors on our boards, but we also need the experience of businessmen, managers and teachers.”
For more information, check the CEF website at www.cefindiana/southeast. Better still, stop by CEF’s office in Versailles at 1305 South Adams Street, and talk with Back personally. She would love to show you how you and your church can help.

CEF plans to reach more than nine million children around the world this year. One of them could be the kid next door

Pictured are children learning the Good News story. This is one of the many Good News Clubs at schools located throughout the county. Volunteers are needed for the Child Evangelism Fellowship to help spread the word.