Child Evangelism Fellowship, also known as CEF, is a Bible-centered, worldwide organization composed of born-again believers whose purpose is to evangelize boys and girls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to establish (disciple) them in the local church for Christian living. CEF has over 3,500 missionaries internationally, approximately 3,400 of whom are nationals. Out of those missionaries, 852 full-time workers serve across the USA and Canada with the help of an estimated 40,000 volunteers.
CEF was founded by Jesse Irvin Overholtzer in 1937. Growing up in a religious family, Jesse was convicted of his own sin at the age of 12 and sought counsel from his mother. He was told, “Son, you are too young.” It wasn’t until Overholtzer was in college that he heard the Gospel and trusted Christ as his Savior.
Later as a pastor, Mr. Overholtzer read one of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons which stated, “A child of five, if properly instructed, can, as truly believe and be regenerated, as an adult.” The Lord used this statement in Mr. O’s life to lead him to begin the ministry of Child Evangelism Fellowship when he was 60 years old. The ministry has grown into the largest evangelistic outreach to children in the world. CEF is currently ministering in countries around the world and in every state in the U.S.
The CEF of Greater Knoxville chapter began its ministry over 50 years ago. Our Mission is to enlist, equip, and encourage a team of qualified leaders to fulfill the purpose of CEF in the Greater Knoxville area, establishing children’s ministries in all 10 counties that make up the local chapter.