Greetings and blessings friends,
We pray this past month you have experienced the resurrection blessings of our LORD, as we celebrated Easter Sunday and we see the new life of Spring bursting forth again.
I have been thinking a lot about the resurrection this month. The Apostle Paul says, “I want to know Christ. I want to know the power of his resurrection.” It was Paul’s priority. It is what Paul wants more than anything else in this life: To know the resurrected Christ, and to know the power associated with that resurrection. It’s Christ’s resurrection power that brings hope and gives life great purpose. Let’s apprehend it!
In the past 14 months, we have certainly seen the illness and death of too many, including loved ones and a few of our precious volunteers who went home to be with Jesus. Our ministry was on life support, sustained by the grace of God. We need the resurrection power of God at work in our ministry, and we sense he is beginning to move in new ways.
Reflecting back on this school year, we all know that we didn’t reach nearly as many children with the Gospel as we usually do. But we are grateful for the several online clubs, thankful for the volunteers who persevered in this “new normal,” and praise the LORD for those children who were touched, including several who made the life transforming decision to follow Jesus.
We do see the LORD still at work. Just this past weekend, 22 Hispanic children heard the Gospel at an Ice Cream party club hosted by Angela. Nine of those children made decision for Christ! All heaven rejoices!
As we head into May, we still await word from the school districts on whether we will be returning to after-school Good News Clubs. Hopefully, we will know more later this Summer. Please pray with us that, we’ll be allowed back into schools come September.
Nevertheless, we can’t wait! Children must be reached for Christ. As we have been praying through this past year, I believe the LORD has brought inspiration and innovation, I see His resurrection power at work. He is showing us how to continue ministry in this season of Covid, and other approaching challenges. As an answer to our prayers, I believe, we have three new initiatives to reach the children of North Texas. Let me share some thinking behind our new initiatives:
Teaching Kids to Love: The question I began asking in 2020 was this, “how do we reach more parents, so that we can reach more children?” Good News Clubs do a great job of evangelizing and discipling children, but one of the challenges we face is how to reach more children. How do we widen the circle around each Good News Clubs, grow the number of clubs, and increase the number of children involved? One way clearly is to let more parents know about Good News Clubs, as well as the abundance of great resource we have available for their children. The question is, how best to do that? Both young parents and children are spending more time online, so let us meet them there. That is what Teaching Kids to Love – an online resource hub for parents – is all about. To get the word out, we developed several new webpages and tested a few Facebook ads. We continue to explore ways to improve the site and marketing. I want to invite you to visit www.TeachingKidstoLove.org and share it with parents you know.
Every Child – Every School: One of our strategic focus areas we have been working on at CEF Dallas, even before Covid-19, was engaging more churches. This is vital, so that we can develop more Good News Clubs and mobilize more volunteers. We praise God for our church partners who have a vision to reach the children of their communities, and we are grateful for the many Good News Clubs these churches host. As the harvest is “white,” we need many more churches to partner for the vision of Every Child. You are hopefully familiar with the CEF International vision statement: Every Child – Every Nation – Every Day. You may know that CEF International operates in every nation of the world, except North Korea. While we need to ‘think globally,’ we must ‘act locally’ by taking Gospel responsibility for our defined mission field. The question asked was, “what’s the best-defined mission field for any local church?” We believe the answer is their local school zone, or depending upon church size a number of school zones.
Here three reasons 1) a school zone is really the smallest measurable geographic area surrounding a local church, 2) a school zone is where the families nearest the church send their children to school and, 3) we can map the demographics at the school zone level and identify households with children. The next question we needed to answer was, “how do we best mobilize local churches to take Gospel responsibility for their school zone(s)”? One proven model I am well acquainted with is what we are calling our Neighborhood Outreach. This is a first simple step for any church toward establishing a permanent Gospel presence through a Good News Club in a school or nearby location. The Neighborhood Outreach serves the church well in promoting themselves to the young families near them, as well as promoting their Good News Club, VBS, or other Children’s Ministry. Our vision is that every school, all 600+ in our chapter region, will be adopted so every child has access to the Gospel. Please visit our Every Child Every School page to learn how your church can get involved.
Neighborhood Sponsorship Program: After we launched the Teaching Kids to Love initiative in January with a webinar and had planned to launch the Every Child – Every School initiative in February, which was delayed by the Great Freeze, something was still missing. We need to reach a wider audience, let more people know about the great ministry of CEF, and provide simple ways concerned Christians can be easily involved in reaching kids. When I first came to the ministry in August 2019, I had heard the name Child Evangelism Fellowship but had no knowledge of the ministry – and I consider myself pretty well informed about ministry in the region. What I kept hearing after becoming director was, “CEF is the best kept secret.” Church leaders don’t know our ministry. Some, like one recent conversation with a pastor bears this out. This pastor had heard of Good News Clubs but had no knowledge of CEF. If Church Leaders are unaware of our vital ministry, what about the general Christian audience? If most Christians aren’t aware of our ministry, how do we change that? Completing our traid of new initiatives launching in 2021, is our new Neighborhood Sponsorship Program. Here’s the simple idea: for just $2.50, CEF Dallas will direct mail a Kids Good News Kit to an individual home in proximity to the sponsor. Whether it is 10 homes or 1,000, envision the collective citywide impact. We invite and encourage you to become a Neighborhood Sponsor. Beyond our current reach, the potential for this initiative is tremendous. We’re exploring other ways to get the word out about being a Neighborhood Sponsor and invite you to share the opportunity with your friends and church. Simply share this link on your social media: https://cefdallas.org/neighborhood-sponsorship/
There are approximately 300,000 children, age 3 to 10, in the CEF Dallas chapter region. Together, we can truly reach Every Child! These three new initiatives will prayerfully serve us well toward that accomplishing that vision, and building up our core ministries.
Finally, our team at CEF Dallas invites you and a guest to attend the May 27th Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. We will honor our volunteers, celebrate all the LORD is doing, hear from our special guest, and have some fun together. Please do join us by clicking here.
May you know the resurrection blessings of Christ each and every day!
CEF Dallas – Director
How Can I Get Involved?
There are several opportunities to be involved with a Good News Club. You can pray for the children and teachers in the club. Become a club teacher or helper by contacting your local chapter and asking about training and opportunities.