By JOHN FORTMEYER
PORTLAND — It’s happened previously in Chicago, Little Rock, Salt Lake City, the Twin Cities and Denver. This year, it comes to the Rose City.
Good News Across America, a targeted two-week campaign sponsored by Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) will take place in Portland and vicinity July 14-26, and dozens of local churches are being enlisted to participate.
The campaign is designed to impact whole communities for Christ by reaching children and families with the Gospel. Each summer CEF chooses a major American city and sends hundreds of missionaries to partner with local churches to help reach un-churched children and families. The idea is to provide Vacation Bible Schools to where the children are — anywhere children gather. CEF’s 5-Day Clubs are held in three locations near each church, culminating with a Friday night rally at the church designed to strengthen relationships that have been formed and ultimate see families evangelized and discipled.
John Luck, a Virginia resident who has coordinated the campaigns across America since the first effort in Chicago in 2008, has visited Portland frequently in recent months to lay the groundwork for this summer’s campaign. He is working closely with Ron Imig, Portland director for Child Evangelism Fellowship.
“We believe that Good News Across America is an opportunity for churches to significantly impact their communities and to build relationships with the schools,” said Luck. “We also believe there will be a number of people who will have a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ as a result of the outreach that will be done.”
Luck said the first week of the July effort will be a team-building time, and that the full outreach to children will take place during the second week.
The goal is to have about 175 missionaries working with 30 churches locally. So far about 20 churches in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties in Oregon and Clark County in Washington have committed to the project, and Luck expects to have the remaining 10 signed on by next month.
Those 30 churches will each choose three locations in their target areas, thus creating a total of 90 outreaches during the campaign, said Luck.
Lake Bible Church in Lake Oswego is taking part in the campaign, and Joel Smith, the church’s pastor of children and families, anticipates a good result.
“We’re about fullfiling the Great Commission,” said Smith. “One of the things that was fascinating to us is that within a three-mile radius of our building, are approximately 2,700 in the kindergarten through fifth-grade age bracket. Barna Research has shown that with that many kids, usually 80 percent of them do not go to churh. We’re always looking for ways to have an impact, and are incredibly encouraged by the fact that CEF is tartegting the greater Portland area.”
Luck said Portland was chosen not only because of the significant spiritual need, but also because of its large population, large number of churches and the potential to grow the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship in the Rose City.
For more information, phone 1-800-300-4033, ext. 1304 or go to cefonline.com and click on “Ministries.”