Soo Chang, head of school at Providence School, was the keynote speaker at the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) Annual Luncheon, April 6 at Southcoast Church in Goleta.
Chang, who is originally from South Korea, lived in Paraguay as a child before coming to the U.S., where he studied at USC. Chang’s prior assignment before landing in Santa Barbara was in Beaverton, Oregon.
During his presentation, Chang said that, according to a Barna Group study, 43% of those surveyed develop a belief in God before the age of 13. A smaller but still significant number entrust their lives to the Lord by age 18, he said.
According to Chang, very young children have the capacity to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. An example Chang gave was from his own family. He said his then-5-year-old son shared CEF’s “Wordless Book” with his 3-year-old brother, who was able to understand what the Lord did on behalf of people.
Chang said the color-coded blank pages of “The Wordless Book” share that God lives in heaven and wants to have a relationship with people (gold page); how humans all have sinned (dark page); how Jesus shed his blood and died for those sins (red page); that he forgave people and gave them a clean heart (white page); and that humans will grow spiritually once they have put faith in the Lord (green).
“The Wordless Book” is believed to have been first shared to several hundred orphans in January 1886 by London pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon. CEF has been presenting the gospel using “The Wordless Book” for many years.
CEF was founded in 1937 by Jesse Irwin Overholtzer, who was told at age 12 that he was too young to understand the Gospel of Christ. In college, Overholtzer entrusted his life to the Lord, later became a pastor, and then CEF was born.
Today, CEF is a bible-centered worldwide organization whose purpose is to evangelize and disciple children with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the largest Christian outreach to children in the world.
CEF offers an after-school program, known as the Good News Club, which consists of trained volunteers who share the gospel with children on public school campuses.
The reason CEF is able to run these clubs at schools stems from a June 11, 2001 Supreme Court decision stating: “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Child Evangelism Fellowship could have access to public school facilities to conduct Good News Clubs. The decision stated that Bible clubs such as the Good News Club must be given the same access to school facilities accorded to any other non-school related outside group.”
Since then, CEF has grown throughout the U.S. and in the Santa Barbara community. In addition to Good News Clubs, CEF runs Summer 5-Day Clubs, which are similar to vacation bible schools. This year, CEF is offering Adventure (hiking), LEGO, and Soccer 5-Day Clubs.
Each Good News Club and 5-Day club includes a Bible lesson, stories, games, music, and a snack. Clubs are open to all children, ages 5-12, from all backgrounds. For more, visit cefsantabarbara.org/programs/ or contact Sharon Jegottka, 805-698-7719 or email@example.com.