Contact: Melody Bentley, 571-274-6058
MEDIA ADVISORY, Feb. 25, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- Child Evangelism Fellowship, the largest Christian ministry to children in the world, has announced the establishment of its international ministry in five more countries. This brings the total number of countries where CEF is present to 170. According to Mr. Harry Robinson, Executive Vice President of International Ministries at CEF, these five countries include Kosovo in Southeast Europe, Grenada in the Caribbean Sea, one country in the Middle East and two more in Africa. These last three countries cannot be named in order to protect the safety of the CEF workers serving there.
The model that CEF uses contributes greatly to its successful establishment of programs abroad. Rather than send missionaries to a foreign country, CEF finds nationals who are eager to go into full-time service to evangelize children in their own country. To prepare them, these nationals, or workers as they are called, attend a 12-week training course usually taught by CEF workers from the same region of the world. These new workers are then equipped to go back home and train local volunteers to evangelize children through the establishment of local clubs, called Good News Clubs. If possible, the workers try to partner with local churches offering training to willing church members to run Good News Clubs sponsored by their particular church. "Our goal is not to compete with the local churches, but to support them," said Mr. Robinson. "We do this by providing churches with a program that will help them evangelize children."
Another key component to CEF success is the establishment of an indigenous board composed of individuals from a cross-section of the culture, and if possible representing different denominations. Such a broad composition of the board fosters greater outreach. The board's responsibilities include prayer for the success of the local CEF work, holding workers accountable, and insuring that the CEF program they run stays true to its purpose of meeting the spiritual needs of children. Additionally, the board works to raise financial support for the workers from local sources. Finally, it helps with that crucial work of integrating the CEF program into local churches.
None of this would be possible without the dedicated support of the CEF International Headquarters in Warrenton, Missouri. Besides the training already described, CEF Headquarters creates training materials for volunteers all over the world as well as the curriculum they will use to evangelize and disciple children. Finally, CEF arranges financial support for many of the full-time workers through its program, Sponsor a National, or SPAN, until local financial support is established. Most of the support for this program comes from the charitable contributions from citizens of the United States or other western countries. Currently, CEF has 2700 workers around the world, 95% of whom serve in their home countries.
Establishing a ministry in a new country requires great care and persistence. Much prayer and consideration may go on before nationals are ready to commit to full-time service with CEF. Yet, a tremendous momentum is building as countries are opening in regions across the world. "We are committed," said Mr. Robinson, "to establishing a CEF presence in every nation and territory of the world by 2017. By our count, we have 37 to go."