First and foremost…
CEF® was founded by Jesse Irvin Overholtzer in 1937. Growing up in a religious family, Jesse at the age of 12 was convicted of his own sin and sought counsel from his mother. He was told, “Son, you are too young.” It wasn’t until Overholtzer was in college that he heard the Gospel and trusted Christ as his Savior.
Later as a pastor Mr. Overholtzer read one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons which stated, “A child of five, if properly instructed can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult.” The Lord used this statement in Mr. O’s life to lead him to begin the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship when he was 60 years old. The ministry has grown into the largest evangelistic outreach to children in the world. CEF is currently ministering in countries around the world and in every state in the U.S.
We sincerely desire to reach “Every Child, Every Nation, Every Day.” Scripture forms the foundation for this ministry vision.
Every Child: God has given His people a clear commission—to reach every creature with the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our special mission in CEF is to evangelize every child. (Mark 16:15)
Every Nation: CEF is a worldwide ministry serving in every region of the world in an ever expanding way. (Matthew 28:19)
Every Day: We are committed to leading children to be in God’s Word every day. As children grow in their relationship with the Lord through meditating on His Word, they develop godly character, which produces much fruit to the glory of God, including spreading the Gospel to their peers. (Psalm 119:2)
The Importance of Godly Leadership at Every Level
Spiritual leadership is the highest form of authority. The men and women who lead must have a personal heart for God in order to be able to discern the will of God and lead the ministry effectively. Regardless of the skill of a leader, if he or she lacks a heart for God, the work will be eroded at its very foundation.
The Importance of the Spiritual Welfare of our Workers
It is vital that we are never satisfied to simply teach our staff the methods of how to reach children and how to train others to do so, but we must purposefully invest in the spiritual lives of our staff. When CEF staff are men and women who are primarily driven by passion for God and His glory and have a clear call from the Lord, the work will prosper. If we keep our focus on God and on His calling, then we will be sustained in times of challenge.
The Importance of Prayer as Our Foundation
It is not the work we do, the meetings we hold or the decisions we make that bring the greatest advances in the work; it is the time spent before the throne of God in prayer, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that brings power, laborers and resources into the ministry.
The Importance of Evangelizing Children
There is no limit to the number of organizations that do many good things that are important to boys and girls in need. We are thankful for them and believe that God uses them to help hurting children. CEF, however, has been called by God to make it our highest priority to present the Gospel so children may be saved and discipled in God’s Word. We must stay on point.
The Importance of a Clear and Biblical Presentation of the Gospel
The fact that a young child can comprehend the simple message of salvation and become a child of God is the foundational principle of CEF. Everything else that we do is based upon this fact. The good news of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation. We must present it clearly and accurately.
The Importance of a Commitment to Excellence, for the Glory of God
Every aspect of the work, no matter how big or small, has significance. This includes the training we conduct, the materials we produce, the facilities we use and the way we present ourselves. In every area we must strive for excellence to the glory of God!
NOTE: much of this information was provided by the national / international CEF website found here. Any changes or corrections on the official CEF national / international website (cefonline.com) take precedence over information found here.