- Child Evangelism Fellowship
Child Evangelism Fellowship Founder(s) Jesse Overholtzer Type 501(c)3 non-profit religious Founded 1937 Location Warrenton, Missouri, US (World HQ) Key people Reese Kauffman, President Area served US, 176 countries Volunteers 40,000 (US & Canada) Employees 2000 (full-time) Motto Every Child, Every Nation, Every Day Website cefonline.com
Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) is an international evangelical nonprofit organization founded by Jesse Overholtzer (1877-1955) in 1937, headquartered in Warrenton, Missouri, United States. The organization lists as its purpose to teach the Christian Gospel to boys and girls and to get them involved in local Christian churches, focusing specifically on teaching children the Bible. It has programs established in all 50 states and 167 countries around the world, with 750 full-time workers in the USA, and an estimated 40,000 volunteers in the USA and Canada, and over 1,200 missionaries overseas, approximately 1,000 of whom are nationals. During the reporting year ending in August 2008, they reported teaching more than 9.3 million children, mostly in small group settings. CEF is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).
The primary ministries of CEF are Good News Club and Five Day Club. Both of these programs focus on training church members from various evangelical churches to effectively teach children in homes, neighborhood centers and schools. On June 11, 2001 the USA Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing CEF's Good News Clubs to meet in public elementary schools after school hours, based on equal access and protection from viewpoint discrimination. Since that time CEF has been working to establish Good News Clubs in public schools around the USA.
Five Day Clubs are taught by youth that are trained through Christian Youth in Action (CYIA). CYIA is a program all around America that trains teenagers to effectively teach children Bible stories, missionary stories, Bible verses, and the Wordless Book as well as organize games and interact with the children.
Children's Ministries Institute is the official training institute of CEF, and holds 12 weeks training sessions in at least 15 countries around the world every year including two complete 12 week sessions on the CEF campus just west of St. Louis, Missouri. The organization has fair, camping, open-air, telephone and correspondence outreach programs for children, and provides classes to train their workers and other Christians who are burdened for evangelizing children. Additionally, CEF Press produces and distributes Bible and missionary lessons and related materials for use in teaching children to help accomplish the goals of the ministry. One evangelistic tool that CEF promotes is the Wordless Book.
Since 1998 CEF has had a high volume correspondence course program called the [CEF Mailbox Club]. The correspondence course program was renamed the Truth Chasers Club in 2011. Lessons are available for every age group of children and for adults as well. The program is staffed primarily by volunteers who come from all over the country to help with the work. Hundreds of thousands of students have enrolled in the program and more than 15,000 lessons are graded and mailed on a normal week. The CEF Mailbox Club is used by several other organizations as a discipleship program for the children whom they reach. These partnering agencies include the Jesus Film Project, Prison Fellowship International and Samaritan's Purse with the Operation Christmas Child program. Children are enrolled not only from around the USA but from countries all over the world.
Elk River case
The Child Evangelism Fellowship was prohibited by the Elk River, Minnesota board of education to distribute materials in that district's schools during open houses in 2007 and 2008. The Fellowship took the matter to U.S. District Court. In February, 2009, Judge Ann Montgomery ruled that the school district's order deprived the Fellowship of its freedom of speech rights. She went on to say that the school district could still prevent the group from distributing materials if it adopted a policy of closing the schools to all such groups, which the school district did in March, 2009.
- Rusten, E. Michael & Sharon O. (2005). The Complete Book of When and Where. Tyndale House. pp. 434. ISBN 0842355081.
- Anthony, Michael J., et al (2007). Perspectives on Children's Spiritual Formation. B&H Publishing Group. pp. 136–158. ISBN 0805441867.
- Balmer, Randall Herbert (2004). Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism. Baylor University Press. pp. 153. ISBN 193279204X.
- Wrenn, Bruce, Philip Kotler, Norman Shawchuck (2009). Building Strong Congregations: Attracting, Serving, and Developing Your Membership. Autumn House Publishing. pp. 102–104. ISBN 0812704908.
- CEF official website
- CEF Wonderzone.com - Children's Website
- CEF CEFPress.com - Online Store for CEF Literature
- CEF CEFCMI.com - Children's Ministries Institute
- CEF SummerMissions.com - CEF Summer Missions for Students
- CEF Specialized Book Ministry
- CEF CEF (European Region)
- Kilchzimmer European Regional Office
- Youth Challenge (Europe)
- Bible Visuals International
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