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Number of After-School Good News Clubs Continues to Grow Since 2001 Supreme Court Ruling in Support of Child Evangelism Fellowship
Contact: Melody Bentley, 571-274-6058

HERNDON, Va., Jan. 21, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- The number of after-school Good News Clubs, Bible clubs sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship, the largest Christian ministry to children in the world, grew for the twelfth straight year since 2001, the year the Supreme Court upheld the clubs' right to meet after school in public school buildings. At that time, there were 1,155 after-school GNCs in the United States, with less than 17,000 children enrolled. By the end of 2013, there were 4225 clubs attended by 174,174 children. Also, impressive is the fact the number of children enrolled at the end of last year is 11.5% higher than in 2012.

Photo: After-School Good News Club Meeting

After-school GNCs, which require parental permission for a child to attend, offer a healthy mix of engaging Bible instruction, memory verses, songs and fun-filled games for elementary school children who are taught that one's faith in Jesus Christ is evident through loving others. To see what real impact the after-school GNCs are having on the public schools, Child Evangelism Fellowship conducted a survey last year of 224 public school principals in 28 states. Of the principals surveyed, 87.4% responded that they had personal knowledge that after-school Good News Clubs have been "a positive experience for their school." 52.2% reported noticeably improved behavior on a part of the students who participate in the Good News Clubs. Said one of the responding principals, "...the students who are in the Good News Club rarely receive discipline referrals to the office. Undoubtedly, the club has been a successful part in our curbing bullying and classroom disrespect for the children."

"We are grateful for the positive impact that after-school Good News Clubs are having on public schools," said Mr. Moises Esteves, vice president of USA Ministries for CEF, "Knowing that God loves them helps children to love others. Every day, we see children come to us who are spiritually hungry, who know sorrow and brokenness, and we see the gospel of Jesus Christ change their lives." Take 18-year-old Kayla who credits the positive direction of her life to her involvement in an after-school Good News Club as a child. The Good News Club helped her overcome the emptiness she felt by her father's abandonment, she says, by sharing with her the love of God. She benefited so much from the Good News Club that at the age of eight she led a GNC at recess for her friends who could not attend the after-school club. "If there was no Good News Club, if I never brought that paper [permission slip] to my mom that this is something I want to be in," said Kayla, "it's kind of a scary thought to wonder where my life would be. The Good News Club kind of changed my whole life. It set the Lord in my life."

To keep up with the number of after-school Good News Clubs around the country, CEF has increased its full-time staff to 710 to handle the demands of training, screening and equipping more than 25,000 volunteers who lead the clubs. Still, the demand keeps growing. Many principals around the country are asking for Good News Clubs. Thankfully, pastors and congregations across the country are becoming increasingly interested in meeting the spiritually needs of children. Many have agreed to partner with CEF and provide the volunteers to lead a Good News Club in their local school. "We are excited about the momentum that is growing," said Mr. Esteves, "There are 65,000 public schools in the U.S. What we have accomplished so far is just the beginning."

For further information about after-school Good News Clubs or about Child Evangelism Fellowship, please visit cefonline.com.