Kids As 'Fishers of Men'

Kids evangelized at a community barbeque, and one person was so touched that he prayed to accept Jesus. He even said that it was the first time he heard the gospel shared so clearly.

A girl in Colombia, age 10, shared the gospel on the two-hour busride to school each day, with adult passengers, and over 70 people were evangelized. She led so many to the Lord that the pastor from her church began another church with those new believers. Today over 350 people attend this church.

These are just two examples of children evangelizing.

Last week, Emmaus Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, hosted the first of 6 Kids’ EE clinics for 2005. Clinicians and clinic Teachers-in-Training came from CA, KS, OK, OH, TN and TX. The intensive training equipped these individuals to return to their churches and train children to share the gospel with others.

Kids’ EE is a ministry of Evangelism Explosion International, which has been training people to share the gospel since it was founded in 1960 by Dr. D. James Kennedy. Kids’ EE trains adults to train children, who not only ground their faith in Jesus, but also learn to share the gospel with others.

There are six four-day clinics to train people to work with children in N. America, up from last year's four clinics. For the past 4 years, Kids’ EE has trained almost 300 teachers in N. America, and over 2,300 teachers throughout the world.

Kids' EE's worldwide success has been notable. It's estimated that the number of believers increased from 152,147 in 2003 to 225,025 in 2004, and the number of participating local churches increased from 11,635 in 2003 to close to 14,000 in 2004.

However, there are still "40 million children in N. America [who] do not have any type of Biblical instruction," Marcia Ardis, Director of Kids’ EE North America said. Kids’ EE believes that the harvest field in North America is ripe, and children are part of it.

"We believe that children CAN share the gospel," and "We need to equip them…"

Dr. Kennedy founded this ministry, "because of the Biblical command, the Great Commission in Matthew that we are to go to all parts of the world."

"Jesus said, 'Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,' " Ardis told CP. “Children can be, and want to be, fishers of men!”

Kids’ EE began in 2000 and is designed specifically for kids ages 8-13. Its three objectives are to bring children to saving faith in Jesus, to ground children in the Gospel, and teach children to share Jesus with others, or in other words, evangelism.

Research has revealed that "if children come to know Jesus at an early age, and they're not grounded in the gospel, they much more readily stray from their faith during their teenage and early adult years," states Ardis.

"...It is the responsibility of parents and pastors of the church to teach [children] how to [evangelize]. We believe the Great Commission is for everyone, not just adults or even youth," states the website.

The program includes fourteen units.  The basic units are Heaven, Man, God, Christ, Faith, and Commitment. For each lesson, the children study the Bible messages and then take home an object, called a "Take-Home Truth," which provides the children opportunities to share Jesus with others. 

For example, in the Heaven unit, which Scripture teaches is a free gift, meaning not something earned or deserved, the children take home a little gift box, and use it to start conversations with adults with the purpose of "fishing" or evangelism.

In another lesson, Kids’ EE teaches children that all are sinners and can't save ourselves. To help children understand this teaching, the class makes chocolate chip cookies. In making these cookies, all the ingredients are good and perfect, except one rotten egg. This is a demonstration of "our lives."

"We have lots of good stuff in our lives, but can we serve our lives up to God when we have one rotten part?" The egg symbolizes sin. The class then discusses how "God solves our problem through Jesus."

"Kids can go where adults can't go," Ardis said…” to their school, playground, sports events, neighbors’ homes…”

Future clinics include Peoples Church in Fresno, CA, April 28 – May 1; Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL from May 3 – 6; Westgate Chapel in Toledo, OH from June 21 – 24; Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN from August 1 – 5; and Christ Community Church in Omaha, NE from September 20 - 23.

EE International also has training sessions for adults and youth. There will be a Youth EE clinic in Ft. Lauderdale the Monday after Easter. They will be training adults to equip teens to share the gospel worldwide, their OJT (on-the-job training) will be on the beach.