History

History

Child Evangelism Fellowship® (CEF®) was founded in 1937 by Rev. J. Irvin Overholtzer, a man with a God-given vision for boys and girls in need of the Savior. Today his vision lives on.  CEF® wants to reach the children with the Gospel. The primary concern of CEF® is to evangelize children so that not one of "these little ones should perish." Matthew 18:14 "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."

75th Anniversary

Child Evangelism Fellowship® Cares About Children...

Cross

CEF's  greatest need is for God to inspire and call many more dedicated Christians to become involved in this amazing outreach to children. " Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!" (John 4:35)

Clubs

CEF® strives to disciple children in the Word of God, so that they can "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  This builds character, and promotes moral and spiritual growth that has a positive impact on their personal and home life, school performance and decision making skills.  To this end each Good News Club® and 5-Day Club® includes a clear presentation of the Gospel and gives an opportunity for children to trust in Jesus as Savior.

Presentation of the Gospel

 CEF® reported that in 2018 nearly 98,618 Good News Clubs were held worldwide, 671,941 children heard the Gospel from trained workers in North America, and within the 6,310 Good News Clubs in the USA 71,209 children professed faith in Christ!!

CEF needs you...

  • To become involved in the ministry to children in your neighborhood.
  • To become a volunteer instructor, assistant or helper with a CEF®  Good News Club®.
  • To be trained in the effective CEF® methods of outreach to the children.
  • To pray for the ministry on a daily basis.
  • To support CEF® and Ventura County Good News Clubs® financially and prayerfully.

Sharing the Bible’s good news:
Outdoor Sunday school meets on Thursday

Rachel Teaching
The Ventura County (Calif.) Star-Free Press   
Sat., Dec. 5, 1987 A-7

By Bob McCarthy / S-FP staff writer

On a lawn across from Montalvo School, 42 children are gathered to take Bible quizzes, sign gospel songs and hear a story out of the Old Testament. The weekly meeting of the Good News Club is led by Rachael Gutierrez, a first-grade teacher at the elementary school who leads two meetings a week in Ventura County.

This week’s turnout at the Montalvo club is the biggest of the year.  And distractions during the service are plentiful.  Just as Gutierrez is getting warmed up telling how jealous King Saul chased king to-be David all over the Judean countryside, two young girls jump to their feet and exclaim, “Our dog is loose.” They dash out of the yard, around a hedge and disappear down the street to catch the running dog.  They’re headed on a chase of their own, and won’t return for 30 minutes.  By then the only chasing being done is by the kids with fruit juice and cookies. But the number of children, whether too many or too few, doesn’t concern Gutierrez.  She enjoys teaching the children about Jesus; she says she sets up the outdoor club each Thursday.  Drawing young listeners is the Lord’s job, she says. “I just trust that the Lord will send the boys and girls He wants to be here,” said Mrs. Rachael, her club name. Still most of the youngsters sitting on the 10 by 10 patchwork of blankets watch as Mrs. Rachael illustrates the story with figures on a flannel story board.  Today’s story has David fleeing for his life from King Saul, who wants to protect his turf.  So Mrs. Rachael scoots the shepherd boy from one city to the next.
The Good News Club is one of the ministries of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Ventura County. 

The group was begun in 1937 by a Chicago minister named J. Irvin Overholtzer and came to the county in 1940. In Ventura County, there are 15 Good News Clubs stretching from Ventura to Newbury Park, according to Betty Franz, who with her husband, Rod, heads Child Evangelism in the county. Though the clubs are the group’s largest projects they are not the most visible.  The Little Red School House that is open each year at the annual Ventura County Fair takes that distinction. During the annual Fair, boys, girls and adults are invited inside to hear a Bible story geared toward young listeners.  At the 1987 Fair, more than 2,300 people stopped to listen.  When the story is over, CEF volunteers explain the Christian plan of salvation. Nearly 100 volunteers worked at the Fair in August, Rod Franz says. Betty Franz says the thrust of Child Evangelism’s work is toward children who don’t attend churches.

Child Evangelism also sponsors Tel-a-Story, a Bible story children can hear by calling 647-8263.  A new story is played each day.  At the end of the tape listeners are provided a phone number to call “Aunt Hazel,” a matronly volunteer who answers any questions young callers might have about God or the Bible. In a similar fashion, "Aunt Teresa” receives letters from children about their Christian experience.  She mails back replies to many of the same questions posed to Aunt Hazel. During the summer, with the help of teenagers and college students, CEF sponsors five day clubs in the county’s neighborhoods. Most of Good News clubs are held indoors.  But Mrs. Rachael purposely conducts hers outside to attract children who wander down the street.  That her strategy works is evident on this particular day.  When she arrives at 3:15 p.m. there are about 35 children on the lawn.  Within 20 minutes 10 more have freely wandered onto the lawn. Being outdoors poses certain problems, such as bad weather and traffic noise.  But none of these dampen Mrs. Rachael’s enthusiasm for the children.  “I love telling boys and girls about Jesus,” she said.  “I want them all to know they’re welcome with God.”