I have been back in Gainesville for three years now. It was not my grand plan to come back here. I was living in Homosassa, FL, and having the time of my life. My wife and I were directors of a chapter of Child Evangelism Fellowship®, and we were tasked with installing Good News Clubs® in the public schools. For those of you who don’t know what they are, Good News Clubs are evangelistic Bible clubs that take place after school at the school. They are totally legal because of a 2001 Supreme Court decision that ruled that schools could not discriminate against clubs for their viewpoint. All children have to have a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. There is no charge to attend.
It was a full time job to solicit churches to be partners in the ministry, train their volunteers, evaluate performance, and run the gauntlet of paperwork and bureaucratic hurdles that are required to make the clubs work and be compliant with various regulations. Because it was difficult, it was particularly satisfying to bring successful clubs to fruition and see the difference it also made in the lives of the volunteers.
All of the credit for our success belongs to the years of organized prayer that went up on behalf of bringing Good News Clubs back to Citrus and Hernando counties. Our chapter was one that had dissolved after the Jessica Lunsford murder in 2005. The public schools decided to purge all the elementary schools of all outside programs as a precaution, even though the murder did not involve a school volunteer, employee, or have any other relation to the schools at all. This brought about the end of the chapter. But in 2010 a local prayer ministry, referred to as C4, began praying for the doors of schools to reopen to Good News Clubs. It was only after I returned to Gainesville that I understood how powerful these prayers were. That is because the spiritual climate in the Gainesville area is far less open to reaching children with the Gospel than it was in Citrus county.
This September will mark two years since I resigned from my part time staff position here in Gainesville. The chapter could not afford to pay me, and I really wanted to transition to the board. I have to be off staff for three years in order to serve on the board. It is a non-paying position, but it is where actual decision making is made, and that is where I would like to be. I am concerned about the survival of this chapter, and I believe some hard choices will have to be made in the next couple of years and I’d like to be a part of the process. In the meantime, I am looking for prayer partners and people who are desperate enough for the condition of America that they have sense enough to reach and mold the children even as other forces are doing their best to warp and ruin them. If you are one of those people, please contact me and let’s start talking about this. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.