NAHUNTA — “Boys, put down your bookbags and come on in for Bible Club!”
Pastor Andee Courson of Southside Baptist Church in Nahunta remembers Mrs. June calling for the neighborhood children to come into her living room. The occasion was for an after-school hearty helping of Little Debbie snack cakes, but also Bible stories.
Courson admits he was there mostly for the snack cakes. But he now knows it as where he was introduced to the idea of teaching the Bible to children after school, and outside the walls of the local church.
The Good News Club is one of the primary children’s evangelism programs of Child Evangelism Fellowship, founded in 1937. According to their website, “The Good News Club and 5-Day Club ministries take place in neighborhood settings such as homes, backyards, schools, and community centers all over the world. These fast-paced, one-hour programs are designed to bring the Gospel of Christ to children on their level in their environment.” Child Evangelism Fellowship estimates that last year, between these two primary children’s programs, approximately 25.4 million children heard the Good News.
In southeast Georgia, Southside Baptist Church sits adjacent to the Nahunta Pre-Kindergarten, Elementary, and Primary school campus. With this many elementary- and middle school-aged children ranging from pre-k all the way through 6th grade literally within view of the church, Courson prayed that God would open the door for an after-school Good News Club program. He had seen it happen before in other areas prior to moving back to his home, Brantley County.
Courson turned to his own childhood classmate and School Superintendent, Dr. Kim Morgan. It took the entire summer of 2019 for the school board to decide about the club meeting on school grounds, with Courson becoming discouraged . However, two weeks prior to the start of the 2019-2020 school year, the pastor received notice that his request had been approved.
An overwhelming response greeted Courson and others when an information table at the school’s open house, word of mouth, and fliers brought 209 registered students for the program. The Good News Club now meets at Nahunta Primary and Elementary School each Tuesday, averaging 85 each week. Students are divided into three groups and enjoy a program that includes snacks, prayer, music, memory verses, Bible stories, and missionary stories.
The feedback and results have been nothing short of miraculous. Parents, grandparents, and caretakers of participating students have praised the program and its volunteers for their work. To date, 24 children have made decisions to accept Christ as their Savior.
Courson is grateful for the partnerships and support he has received from the principal and staff at Nahunta Elementary and Primary School, but he states that there is much more work to be done.
“Many more churches need to sponsor elementary schools and start Good News Clubs in the counties in which they are located,” he advises.
To start a Good News Club in your county, or get involved with an existing program, go to www.cefonline.com and click on “Get Involved.”
Amanda Hayes is a writer and public speaker based in Douglas, Ga.