Home / News / 'Praying' on Unchurched Children: Evangelist Group Unveils Plans on Indoctrinating Young Children

'Praying' on Unchurched Children: Evangelist Group Unveils Plans on Indoctrinating Young Children

child predatorWhen 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.

About D.

  • If any organization has to bait people, of any age, to come there…I am leery of it. I understand that the CFC thinks they are doing the right thing. Good and informative article – thanks !!!

  • Sally

    When I was in elementary school, there was a group who did this IN the school building after school. It was totally voluntary, and I do not remember how many kids came. But we did crafts, had a snack, learned Bible verses…this would have been in the early 60's. I do not remember our parents being involved other than giving permission to attend, and I do not know which local church did this. I do remember one cool plastic star we made and put glitter on for the Christmas tree! Seems to me that we also read Bible verses for school assemblies…how times have changed! I don't really think this can be successful without parent cooperation. I mean, someone has to take these kids to the site, and then make the Sunday morning commitment afterward. And if the parents believe, they will take the kids.

  • jk

    Yet another predator we need to warn our children about.

    You'd better believe I'll be telling my kids to stay away from anyone (adult or child) trying to lure them into learning about god, jesus, or the bible without my consent.

    • I find it quite disturbing that just because they are Christian, they get free reign at schools and public places. I think we've read enough about some priestly behaviors to know that just because people say they are Christian and love Jesus, that they may not have children's best interests in mind.

      Also, if I don't want my kids indoctrinated, I don't want people manipulating them with peer pressure into these 'wholesome' activities. They are spitting on my family values by smearing their religion all over the place, making my kids upset and me the bad parent if I say "no" once I find out they are lured in.

      Groups like this really anger me, to be honest with you.


      • LadyFriend

        Not to mention that these are the same people who so highly value the rights of parents to "train" their children as they see fit without interference. Hypocrites.
        If I was a parent of one of those kids, I would be beyond furious.

  • I applied at a daycare today, in which on the application they asked, "Will you teach a Bible based curriculum?" Mind you, there was no overt signs that this was a religious daycare. No fish without legs, not cross, no anything of the like on the outside of the building. I told my son about it, who thought it would be promising. He said, "You told them "No" didn't you?" I said, "I did, but I wanted to say, "hell no!" but refrain from being that strong about it." He said he was sorry that it was not as promising as it sounded. I wonder if the parents know about this and if they do, how they feel about it and whether or not it is what they'd be teaching their children? Just because a daycare is Xian, doesn't mean they have the same Xian values as all Xian parents. The values of an Episcopalian parent are far different than an A of Ger's.

    Regardless, the Evangelicals are trying to make their way into daycares and get them while they are young. It would not surprise me if parents did not know exactly what their preschoolers are being taught in some daycares today.

  • I'll admit up front that I'm a children's pastor. Are you kidding me? Christians are hardly allowed "free reign" at most public schools. If anything, we are usually held to a much higher standard. For instance, I wanted to rent out part of a public school building during the summer months. The district wanted to charge me $30,000. They set this figure astronomically high to discourage us. Obviously, we couldn't afford it.

    On the "indoctrination" front, my calling is to spread the gospel Jesus is the Savior of the world to all people regardless of race or age. From a free speech perspective, it is no different than a public school indoctrinating my child with political/societal ideas that I don't agree with. Regardless of a parent's religious viewpoint, all parents must remain keenly aware of what their child digests through all forms of media, regardless of location or age.

    As to CEF, I think they're doing some really good work. Just remember that our society would not exist if it were not for Christian values being lived out daily in our nation. I understand that Christians have done some awful things in the name of Christ, but don't let a few bloody mistakes in history give all of Christianity a black eye. When you teach your child not do treat others badly because they wouldn't want others to do the same to them, remember that came from Jesus. When you hear some politician deliver the line, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free," remember it was Jesus who originally said it. And the truth he was talking about was HIM.

    If you would like to talk more about any of my comments, I freely invite you to contact me directly. I'm not ashamed. My name is Christopher G. Sykes. I live in Decatur, AL. My kids' website is http://www.infuzed.org, and our church website is parkviewdecatur.org. I believe you can find my contact info there.

    • Christians are allowed free-reign at public schools. There are more branches of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (at my school, it became Fellowship of Christian Students) than there are atheist groups because atheist groups are often stopped by school administrators. Hell, I remember when I was in elementary school (mid to late 90s) that a couple of Mormon missionaries would come by weekly to hang out and talk about Mormonism.

      The thing is that the CEF doesn't want to inform parents about what they are doing, the point of the CEF is to be predatory. You see, unlike a public school talking about political ideas that you don't agree with, Christianity teaches people falsehoods as truth.

      Actually, our society exists as it does and is as good as it is because of the rejection of "Christian values" like support for slavery, misogyny, homophobia, religious exclusivity (stoning unbelievers), et cetera. Our society has evolved because of the fact that we went against Christianity, not because of Christianity. Otherwise, it would be another religious hell hole like Saudi Arabia or Iraq.

  • Never been on this site before so couldn't decide if this was meant to be a genuine article or a spoof. The emotive language ("Predators … preying on children" …"Luring children in" … "manipulating children emotionally" … "peer pressure and baiting") makes me think it's got to be some sort of spoof.

    But just in case I'm wrong, would the author use the same sort of language for McDonalds or Disney or just about every other organisation that has a child target audience?

    What wicked, devious people they must be offering "fun activities" and "family sporting events", and encouraging children to invite their friends ("peer pressure"!!!!). And a program of "Bible lessons, songs, and games designed to encourage relationship building among the children, with church members, and especially with God" … how utterly unsurprising sinister!!!

    Is the author aware that this exactly what has been happening for at least 300 years?! Have they ever heard of Robert Raikes or the Sunday School Movement? I presume not.

    I've probably just been had. It's surely a spoof.

    • Miles (Clicks)

      It's not a spoof. The emphasis wasn't on the offering of snacks and activities, it's on these people who are actively seeking out children to recruit to their religion. For a Christian, this seems all well and good, but let's put this in a different perspective, you know, think outside the box here.

      Would a Christian want me and my friends going around the city trying to make little atheists and satanists? Surely not. Although, I would like to see less Christianity, I, as well as a large portion of atheists and all satanists, believe that children should be given the opportunity to make their own choices about religion. We believe that given a child's maleable mind, it's beneficial for them to come to their own conclusions about these things and allow for them to correct their own mistake should they change their minds. If you want to go to college campuses or wherever else there are young people of legal age to preach, that is all well and good, but to target children and present them with something as absolute fact when their parents may disagree just isn't right. Of course, if you are a Christian, you may disagree, however, I have lain out the problem as seen from the other side of the issue. It's the same principle as these Christians who believe that gays are out to recruit their kids to the homosexual camp. They disagree and don't want their kids indoctrinated, and either do we.

    • Or would you, as a Christian, enjoy it if Scientologists came to your children and started trying to convert them to Scientology. And yes, L Ron Hubbard did create materials and pathways for children to become little Hubbardites, including books like "Child Dianetics" and programmes like "Applied Scholastics".

  • Loving the blissful naivety of your life.

    There are people trying to influence yours & my children to their way of thinking constantly (or as this article likes to put it in it's dispassionate way! … predators preying on children in order to lure them into indoctrination by baiting them and emotionally manipulating them!!). Difference is they have budgets of millions & access to the media and educational systems.

    I have not read anything in the article which would indicate that these evangelical groups want to go behind parents backs. In fact, the article indicates just the opposite, stating that these groups are doing everything very publicly and even inviting parents along!!

    Every Christian ministry I know that works with children recognises the importance of parental consent & support – and in fact they tend to value & honour the role of parents more highly than many secular activities. No child is being coerced to attend anything against theirs or their parents will. If they were then I would share your very serious concerns.

    You ask me to "think outside the box" of my religious perspective. However you don't seem to understand that I have to do that every single day. The European culture I live in is much further down the secular, post-Christian era than the Americas. Every day my children step outside the confines of their Christian home life into a secular environment that is actively hostile to my faith & my way of thinking, and that seeks to "indoctrinate", "lure" and "manipulate" my children's minds into a secular way of thinking. I would love to think that my children were so utterly immersed within a Christian culture/world-view that secular humanists would have to proved fun, engaging activities in order to have opportunity to present their way of thinking.

    If they did so, I don't think I'd object to my children attending so long as I was happy that they weren't being exposed to anything explicitly harmful. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss things with my children, to appraise & critically assess things . Indeed, that is what I do most days after watching media, reading books, or having "educational" messages forcibly presented to my children.

    How can a child "make up their own mind" if they are never exposed to anything except what you want them to know? If that was a religious parent it would be called narrow-minded bigotry. You cannot raise children in a vacuum. If you want children to come to "their own conclusions" then you've got to at least let them encounter others with contrary views & outlooks. It is the responsibility & duty of a parent to ensure that this is done in a way & manner that is appropriate to their child – which is why I let my 7 & 9 year old get exposed to things my 2 & 3 year old aren't .

    Seriously, what is being reported here – in a utterly alarmist, OTT way – is nothing new. Now I realise that longevity doesn't necessarily mean something is right but go research the Sunday School movement founded by Robert Raikes. 300 years ago people were doing the same things. I think it may be the author who needs to get a little sense of perspective.

    • The reason why secular environments are "hostile" to Christianity is like a functional justice system is "hostile" to criminals. Christianity is a set of demonstrably irrational beliefs. Secular people don't need to "manipulate" anyone, what they seek to do is undo the manipulation done by Christians and other cultists.

      I agree, why don't you expose your children to Scientology, HIV or heroin? Certainly, they can't judge something unless they experience it! The fact of the matter is that Christianity is demonstrably harmful because believing ANYTHING for which there is no evidence is harmful.

  • Indoctrinating is a horrible thing, and is never fair to do to any child.

  • Traditional Christian denominations take advantage of the fact that their sects are considered "mainstream," and " traditional" being part of the longstanding cultural tradition of their societies. Anyone would immediately frown at the idea of some shornbald saffron robbed evangelists of some unknown gurumaharana pradapreshya peoples shining path cult of the moon, employing exactly the same methods as described in the report to lure children into their folds.

    I think Peter Shields should be honest with himself: he'd be extremely upset to discover that evangelists of some blessed heavenly moon cult have been targeting his children in the same manner without his knowledge. Children should NEVER be targeted for religious evangelical outreach without the prior consent of their parents. Parents who want their children brought up as Christians or moon's cult devotees make the effort to take them to church, sunday schools or the moontempleshrine themselves.

    Christian evangelists know, however, that children are vulnerable. Child Evangelism in the various forms i have encountered are essentially predatory. i think there should be laws regulating direct religious evangelism access to children which bypass their parents.

  • David

    These Christian groups are learning these tactics from whom they perceive as the enemy.
    Children are being indoctrinated as early as kindergarten.
    "Early reader" books with "Johnnie has two mommies" and "Mary has two daddies" stories are being used to indoctrinate children into acceptance of homosexuality.
    If anyone despises these tactics then they need to look at both sides and ban it all as despicable. If one is bad then they are both bad.
    Whatever happened to "See Spot run"?

    • Ada

      Actually, someone writing a book called "Heather Has Two Mommies" is not even close to what this group is doing. I haven't noticed any groups luring kids to an after school program with balloons and snacks to read them these stories. It isn't the existence of books and materials that is at issue…but rather how they are used.

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  • owlafaye

    This is child abuse of the worse sort. These children are not able to think for themselves. If the church tried to recruit them when they were nine years or older then they would certainly question these silly beliefs.

    Religious programming of children under their age of reason should be a crime.

  • I have not read anything in the article which would indicate that these evangelical groups want to go behind parents backs. In fact, the article indicates just the opposite, stating that these groups are doing everything very publicly and even inviting parents along!!

  • Elise

    I'm Canadian, and would like to point out that CEF also operates in Canada. My sister-in-law volunteered as one of the recruiters for a number of years (well, actually, it WAS supposed to be a job, but since she was paid via donations, she made a pittance) in Abbottsford, BC.
    Her pastor sent out a weekly newsletter detailing their activities and asking for donations. I'm an atheist, and I was pretty disturbed by the content. They often proudly proclaimed new 'converts' of very young children who came from families that practised Muslim or Sikh beliefs. It seemed to me to be encouraging a wedge between the kids and their parents, which would surely result in difficulties within a private family unit. Why would anybody want to do that? How could anybody be proud of sticking their beliefs into somebody else's family?
    Well, I guess my sister-in-law and her church did.
    My concerns were somewhat allayed, however, when I learned the other side of the equation. The 'job' my sister-in-law held was very time consuming, and paid next to nothing. She simply couldn't survive on it, and had to quit. Also, the truth was that many of the families the group tried to attract were quite poor, and they used the group as free daycare. Many of the parents weren't terribly concerned about the conversion attempts, and they only 'used' the group's activities for short periods of time (perhaps until better child-care alternatives came about, or kids were enrolled in school). The group often dwindled to one or two kids, and had to be cancelled.
    Also, I remember growing up in an atheist family when I was a kid in the 70's. It was impossible for my parents to shield me from religious influence… it was in school, it was on TV, it was… everywhere. When I was very young, I was a Chrisitian convert… for little while. A teenaged neighbour of mine (whom I absolutely adored) got me to attend a Sunday school she was helping to supervise. I asked my (rather surprised) mom if I could go, and she said if I really wanted to, I could.
    Well, if the idea was to entrance me into a religion via fun games and activities, it was a whopping failure. We had to spend hours in a dingy church basement. The games we played were all the same old ones we had in school and daycare, but with some kind of religious theme. We were given boring colouring books depicting Bible scenes. We had to sing boring, tuneless hymns. We were treated to occasional puppet shows with badly-crafted puppets, which essentially held no entertainment value. Frankly, I HATED the experience. It was as bad as daycare or school! I really felt as if I had been completely duped into giving up a formerly fun Sunday morning. When my neighbour excitedly asked me if I was coming back for the next session, I decidedly told her NO.
    Evangelists aren't really very good at having fun, at least not from a kid's perspective. In fact, a lot of Biblical stories aren't very kid-friendly. It often really does boil down into tedious preaching. I found over the years that most of the kids who became devout Christians were the people who had extremely devout parents… even my evangelist neighbour abandoned her fervour when she grew up.
    So while I don't particularly agree with the practices of the CEF, I also don't think they work very well. If, as a parent, you teach your kids to THINK rather than BELIEVE, they will not be easily converted to any religion. The truth is, more and more people are leaving churches and are shaking off the brainwashing techniques.

  • Preacherdog

    This article is false, and very typical of the liberal, anti-Christian mindset so prevalent within society today. I am well acquainted with CEF, and they are not seeking to merely "target" and "minipulate" young children. On the contrary, CEF exists to educate children with the glorious Gospel of Christ, to nurture them in the love and hope of God, and to strengthen the family unit. Sound like the author of this article was religiously abused as a child, or something of the like, and probably needed CEF when she was a child.
    Bogus article, full of unwarranted charges and claims. Made me sick reading it.

    • That's not an education. That is indoctrination into a particular religious mindset.

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