The U.S. constitution says there is a separation of church and state. But one Cove church has found a way to successfully combine the two entities.
There are now 23 Good News after-school clubs overseen by Child Evangelism Fellowship throughout Central Texas. As this school year comes to a close, the goal is to have more programs in Copperas Cove schools next year said Barbara Gilbertson who is the regional manager of the program.
“We have lots of schools in Killeen, Temple and Belton (that) are requesting clubs in their schools right now,” Gilbertson said adding the program is successfully operating in a six-county area including Coryell, Lampasas, Bell, McLennan, Milam and Falls counties.
Melinda Burch, the children’s ministry coordinator for First Baptist Church in Copperas Cove, successfully started a Good News club at Clements-Parsons Elementary School. The club meets one hour weekly. Burch said the club averages 15 to 40 children and six adults in the club each week.
“At least 15 of those (children) do not go to church. So just under half are under-churched kids who are hearing the word of God. It’s pretty exciting,” Burch said. “I really enjoy doing this and I love being there.”
Burch said anyone interested in starting a Good News club in a Cove school must go through the social office to rent the facility and must touch base with the principal.
She said she recruited most of her participants by putting club fliers out at the school’s annual open house event.
Burch, who home-schools her own children, said the ministry has opened doors not only for the students, but for her too.
“The Good News club has given me the opportunity to share Biblical teachings with children who normally I could not reach,” she said.
She said she and the students attending the Good News club have developed their own hand signals to encourage and support one another throughout the school day.
“I remind them that God is your helper and he gives you people who will help you and surround you,” Burch said.
The First Baptist Church rents the music room at the school for six weeks at a cost of $225. The church also provides snacks and materials for the program.
“Every penny spent is worth it. Last semester, three children came to the Lord,” Burch said. “This is truly a blessing to me and to those that are being saved. If not now, I know those stories will be with them and one day, they will come to the Lord.”
Pastor Russ Cochran of Hillside Ministries agreed.
“I remember songs I learned back in the Good News club. The most amazing thing is that when I went to college, I was given a CEF Bible. It puts the scripture at a kid’s level for easy understanding. It is a great program. Pretty awesome,” Cochran said.
For more information on Good News clubs, go to www.goodnewsclub.com.