When it comes to "Vacation Bible School" summer camps, the children who attend are already familiar with the Christian gospels. Vacation Bible Schools are merely preaching to the choir.
More Americans are leaving church and preferring not to attend. As a result, their children are also not attending church, nor are they attending church camps.
Like predators, religious groups who want to boost their memberships are preying on children, seeking them out at schools, public parks, apartment complex common grounds and other areas in order to circumvent the parents' beliefs and preferences and lure the kids into church.
Rather than approaching the parents first, the Child Evangelism Fellowship dispatches 150-200 volunteers out to a targeted city to help 30 churches set up child evangelism programs. These churches then use a combination of peer pressure and fun activities to lure children in.
Once the kids are pulled in, the evangelists then have events that are targeted at the parents, such as family sporting events and other activities that the children are encouraged to invite their parents to attend.
The practice appears to be predicated on manipulating children emotionally through peer pressure and baiting.
The Child Evangelical Fellowship proudly explains:
CEF has developed a successful two phase evangelistic program which its volunteers help churches implement during the week of the campaign. The first phase is the 5-Day Club. Each of the 30 churches is asked to sponsor three of these clubs for a total of 90 clubs for the week. Rather than having the children come to the churches as one does with VBS [Vacation Bible School], the churches bring the clubs to the children. Depending on the community, clubs might be held in community centers or parks, on playgrounds or at apartment complexes. These clubs offer children engaging Bible lessons, songs, and games designed to encourage relationship building among the children, with church members, and especially with God. The clubs culminate on Friday evening with rallies at the sponsoring churches for the children and their families.
The second phase of Good News Across America involves the establishment of Good News Clubs. CEF volunteers train church members to run these clubs which meet once a week after school, in local public schools. Like the 5-Day Clubs, these clubs offer a good mix of fun with exciting Bible lessons. The children who attended the 5-Day Clubs during the summer are invited to attend the Good News Clubs during the school year. In this way, churches are able to maintain their commitment to these children.
Since 2008, the cities of Chicago, Little Rock and Boston have been targeted, drawing in 2000-2400 children to the "5 -Day Clubs". Next on the list is Salt Lake City, followed by Washington, D.C., and then Minneapolis-St. Paul.