The vision of Child Evangelism Fellowship is to guide a new generation that seeks to honor God.
Sometimes, when this ministry enters a classroom, it is the only time during the week children are filled spiritually… the only time they hear about Jesus. It is a generation CEF believes is searching – for significance, meaning, and for their place in this world.
“Our job is to empower churches to go into their community and schools,” said Naomi Kemp, local coordinator of the CEF Central Alabama chapter. “If we can get the kids coming to church, that’s teaching them the Gospel.”
Child Evangelism Fellowship is a Bible-centered organization composed of born-again believers throughout the world whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the word of God and in a local church for Christian living.
CEF of Alabama includes five active chapters across the state with the state office located in Montgomery. Its goal is to serve the community and/or local churches in reaching children with the Gospel of Salvation through programs including the Good News Club and Christian Youth in Action.
Last year, CEF reached more than 20.4 million children globally. In Alabama, statewide chapters taught in 148 clubs/programs, reaching more than 4,500 children with 280 making professions of Christ as their savior.
“God is so good,” Kemp said. “The week before Alabama shut down (in March 2020), we had 22 to 23 Good News Club (gatherings) going on in schools, and around 14 children accepted Jesus at the clubs that week. That’s an unheard-of number.
“In a given month, we maybe have six or seven. It was absolutely a Godsend.”
Good News Club is the “meat and bones” ministry of CEF, Kemp said, and trains teachers to meet with groups of children in schools, homes, community centers, churches, apartment complexes – just about anywhere the children can easily and safely meet with their parent’s permission.
Each week, a teacher presents a Bible lesson, with time together also spent worshiping, memorizing Scripture, learning of missions stories and reviewing games or other activities focused on the lesson’s theme.
“Probably 80 percent who attend Good News Club are unchurched,” Kemp said.
“Churches get to sponsor a program and go to the school once a week and teach the kids about Jesus,” she added. “Then they get to build these relationships with these children.”
And these children, Kemp said, have provided hope and insight into what developing a relationship with Jesus has meant to them.
• “At a school I visited this past fall, a little girl gave me an envelope on the last day of the 5-Day Club that said, in the ‘past five days, I have learned about God and Jesus I did not know. You are the best.’”
• At Good News Club this past fall, a third-grade boy stood up and said, “God is perfecto!” Kemp said they had been learning about Jesus and about “peace be still.”
• At another club location, a young girl approached her leader and said, “It’s fun in here; I love it.” Kemp said, “It’s great to hear it’s fun to learn about Jesus.”
“When I started doing this in the early 2000s, I was their first introduction to Jesus … in the South … in Alabama,” Kemp said. “One of my very first summers a boy asked, ‘Now who is Jesus? I just thought he was a cuss word.’”
The Christian Youth in Action is where Kemp got her start in 2003. The program trains individuals in effective and engaging ways to teach children about God. They are trained in learning how to present the Gospel clearly on a child’s level, counsel a child for salvation, and lead a dynamic club ministry for kids.
Components of this club include teaching a Bible lesson, a real-life missionary story, and a Bible verse as well as leading songs and games.
“Learning this effective way to share the Gospel was one of the best experiences of my young life,” she said. “I did CYIA – I like to call them espresso shot VBSs – all through high school and most of college. I was Summer Coordinator in 2011, and was a volunteer as much as I could for CEF.
“God called me to become the Local Coordinator in March 2019, and together with the other creative and amazing people in our group, we spread His love, wisdom, and the story of His amazing grace throughout Central Alabama.
“It’s wonderful to know you’re helping write names in the Book of Life.”
Asked why the community should care about what CEF is doing, Kemp said, “number one, we’re putting Jesus into the schools in a legal way. We’re helping them learn more about the Bible.
“A secondary but wonderful benefit is children who attend the Good News Club have better grades. The teachers say students who attend the club are better behaved. It has helped their retention. They are becoming better students. The churches get to know the school needs.
“Previously, we had a church that started a tutoring program (Frazer Church with Chisholm Elementary School), and it directly impacts the schools. With the hopeful returning of the Good News Club, these children and these schools will continually get help from the community and spread knowledge of what the schools might need.”
There are a few schools opening up for GNC this spring, including Coosada and Daniel Pratt Dlementary Schools. CEF will offer individual workshops at churches so they can start going back into schools.
During her time with the CYIA, Kemp said she would “see these kids in Walmart, and they would ask about stories being told in programs,” Kemp said. “Those interactions with the children … I just fell in love with them. You’re teaching kids about Jesus, but it also helps with public speaking, Bible knowledge.
“If there is a teen who went through this, they are either in ministry or fully involved in their churches. That’s the ministry that raises the church leaders of tomorrow.”
Want to volunteer? Have more questions? Contact Naomi Kemp at email@example.com or visit CEF online at cefcentralalabama.org.