Public Elementary School Good News Clubs

Recruiting Ground for Fundamentalist Churches

The Good News Club is, among other things, a staging ground for recruiting families fundamentalist Bible churches.

CEF recruits fundamentalist churches to sponsor Good News Clubs in public elementary schools

CEF’s “Adopt-A-School” program recruits “church partners” to sponsor clubs in public elementary schools. CEF workers actively contact “Bible-believing” churches — churches that agree with CEF’s 15-point Statement of Faith — to introduce them to and train their volunteers to use CEF’s materials in Good News Clubs. While CEF describes itself as “inter-denominational,” its focus is so strictly sectarian that it forbids volunteers from encouraging children to attend “a church that does not teach the Word of God as outlined in CEF’s Statement of Faith.” CEF USA Organization Policy Manual § 200.1.3.3.

CEF does not welcome or recruit doctrinally liberal churches to become partnering Good News Club sponsors. In 1981, Mr. Reese Kaufmann, CEF’s current President, wrote to Dr. Ian Paisley of Ulster’s vituperatively anti-Catholic Free Presbyterian Church, which has close ties to Bob Jones University, to assure Dr. Paisley of CEF’s strong separatist fundamentalist credentials:

  • CEF does not desire to work with each and every group, denomination, organization, church, or individual. CEF will work only with Bible-believing churches and individuals which are in agreement with our doctrinal statement, which are practising separation from the world in doctrine and practice, and which do not work with any group or individual in a ministry context that would be contrary in doctrine or practice and would in any way cause compromise to the Fellowship. For example, CEF does not work in any way with those who participate in what is commonly known as the charismatic movement; CEF is not associated with the National Council of Churches; CEF is not involved in what might best be described as the ecumenical movement by sponsorship, cooperation, or participation; [and] CEF is not working in any way with the Roman Catholic Church.

CEF, in turn, describes Good News Clubs as an opportunity to grow the sponsoring church

CEF’s website declares that “God has opened the doors of public schools to the Gospel!” and that “CEF is ready and eager to help churches enter the schools, fully equipped to share the Gospel and teach the Bible to school children and extend the biblical influence to families.” A CEF Adopt-A-School brochure offers the following inducement: “Personal follow-up to children and their families can increase your church growth….” CEF encourages partnering churches to seed the clubs with children whose families already attend the church. Those children are then encouraged, and provided incentives — as discussed in the “Peer Evangelism” section — to get classmates and school friends to come to the club. As suggested by CEF’s “Team Leader’s Handbook,” children are also given flyers “at the end of EVERY club so they can invite their classmates,” rewarded with “incentives” for bringing friends.

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