Our blog series following our congregation members who work for Christ outside of Trinity continues this time with Angie, and her work with CEF.
Angela, (but better known to us all as Angie!) works for Child Evangelism Fellowship and has done for many more years than she maybe wants us to mention! The last 17 years have been as full time staff, and there were 19 years as a volunteer before that. In 2002 she became a full time youth worker in CEF of Ireland and in 2012 was appointed to her current post as lead to the Education Department.
CEF was started in 1937 by Jesse Irvin Overholtzer in USA. He was a pastor and as he was reading one of CH Spurgeon’s sermons he read, “A child of five, if properly instructed can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult.” The Lord used that statement to lead Mr Overholtzer to begin the ministry of CEF when he was 60 years old. They now work in almost every country in the world and began in Ireland in 1950.
The aim of CEF is to evangelise boys and girls with the Gospel and to establish (disciple) them in the Word of God and in a local church for Christian living. In CEF of Ireland the mission statement is “Every Child, Every County, Every Day”. They want every child in every county in Ireland (Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland) to hear the Gospel at least once, praying that they will trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation, and then spend time every day in God’s Word, getting to know Him better.
The core ministries with children are Good News Clubs® in the winter and 5-Day Clubs®, Holiday Bible Clubs and camps in the summer. They also take school assemblies and classes. For teenagers they have Junior Youth Challenge (11-15 year olds) and Senior Youth Challenge for young people aged 16+. Various training courses are run to help those involved in children’s and young people’s ministry, and offer bespoke training to churches and other mission organisations.
When did you first know you wanted to do your current role?
I don’t think it was ever a case of wanting my current role! I have always enjoyed training others. For me it started in Girls’ Brigade in training Officers and Sub Officers. Even as a youth worker in CEF I was involved in training at the Summer Outreach Training Courses and Teaching Children Effectively™ courses. In March 2012 our National Director mentioned in a workers’ meeting about the vacancy in the Education Department – due to retirement there had been no one in it for two years. The thought came to me, “You could do that!” but I quickly put it to the back of my mind. I just didn’t feel adequate for it. But the thought wouldn’t go away. I’ve learned many times over the years, that if something is of God, it will not go away. I began to pray earnestly and I talked to leadership. The Lord removed my excuses/reasons one by one and verses in my daily Bible readings just confirmed it. And so in November 2012 I was appointed to lead the Education Department.
Give us a highlight from your time in current role.
CEF run Children’s Ministry Leadership Courses. A CMLC is a 12 week residential course. To be a full time worker with CEF you have to do the course, but it is also for those who are involved in children’s ministry and want further training. For the first time we had a course in Ireland. We ran it in two halves, in the autumn of 2016 and 2017, with 18 students in the first half and ten returning for the second half. For me it was brilliant to be involved in organising, running and teaching at the course, getting to invest in the lives of the students and see the potential in them. Some of them are now full time workers with CEF, and I’m praying that more will join them and work among the children in Ireland.
Is there anything you would like to say to your supporting congregation at Trinity?
I cannot say it enough, but you have no idea how thankful I am for my Trinity family. Your financial support and your prayer support mean so much to me. It’s lovely to know that when I’m travelling or teaching you are behind me. So don’t think of this as my work. Ultimately it’s God’s work, but you all have a huge part to play in it. When I go to teach workers and students in Ireland and in other countries, you are playing a part in that ministry too. It’s not just me but us together. Because of what you do, many children in Ireland and Europe get to hear the Gospel and have the opportunity to trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation.
What are the biggest challenges facing your organisation just now?
We need more workers. There are counties in the Republic of Ireland where we have no ministry and areas in Northern Ireland where we have no workers. There are lots of children in these areas who know nothing of God and His love for them. We would love to see ministry started in counties or vacant areas filled. Will you pray that, as we seek to share the needs of the children and the vision CEF of Ireland has to reach them, God will work in the hearts and lives of those who listen and help them to see how they can be involved?
You can learn more about the work of CEF in Ireland here www.cefireland.com