In communities where it may seem there is a church on every corner, one may be surprised to learn that over 80% of families do not attend church. In today’s society there are very few ways that children can learn about the Bible and Jesus’ teachings. Good News Club® strives to provide an accessible opportunity to kids everywhere. Good News Club® is an international ministry in which trained teachers meet with groups of children in public schools to teach weekly Bible lessons that include songs, Scripture memorization, review games, and missions stories. Meetings are held after school hours and all children who attend must have written parental permission.
Can the Bible Really be Taught in Public Schools?
In 2001, the Supreme Court ruled in Good News Clubs v. Milford Central School that Good News Clubs can meet in public schools in the United States after school hours on the same terms as other community groups, provided that all children who attend Good News Club® have parental permission. While the Bible has been taught freely in public schools all over the world for some time, this historical ruling opened up the opportunity in the U.S. as well. Today, there are over 6,000 Good News Clubs® operating in public schools nationwide. Globally, the number of clubs exceeds 69,000!
Who Teaches Good News Club and What is Taught?
Typically, schools are “adopted” by a nearby local church. Volunteers from that church donate their time and energy to teach and administer the school’s club. All volunteers are trained by Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF)®, the parent organization of the Good News Club®, and screened according to CEF’s child protection policy. Tony and Tracey James are the directors of the local CEF® chapter located in Ormond Beach, FL. Tracey describes Good News Club® as a “high octane” Sunday school class where boys and girls will hear the message of Jesus that is taught in the Bible. Lessons also include discipleship training to build character and strengthen moral and spiritual growth.
Impact on Local Community
There are currently six Good News Clubs that meet in St. Johns County elementary schools, sponsored by either Crosswater Community Church, Anastasia Baptist Church, Ancient City Baptist Church, or Covenant Presbyterian Church. Tony James says that observable impacts can be seen in Good News Club® students such as better attitudes, more thoughtful actions and a desire to do good in all circumstances. He shares that the response from administrators and parents in local schools has been very positive. Clubs are continually asked to return each year. Teachers and administrators have even reflected that the children in attendance have improved performance in school after partaking in Good News Club®.
How to Get Involved
Check with your child’s school to see if they offer a Good News Club®. Inquire about volunteering with the club if interested! If you attend church, ask if they would be interested in sponsoring one. Child Evangelism Fellowship® is a non-profit organization and support from the community is critical! Those interested in donating to help this local ministry may do so via the CEF® of East Central Florida website.
CEF® of East Central Florida