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 1,800 missionaries overseas, approximately 1,600 of whom are nationals. In the USA and Canada 700 full-time workers and an estimated 40,000 volunteers serve the ministry. CEF was founded by Jesse Irvin Overholtzer in 1937.
Growing up in a religious family, Jesse sought the counsel of his mother at the age of 12 after feeling convicted of his own sin. 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.
As a pastor later in his life, 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 over 179 countries and in every state in the U.S.