Good News Club teaches through Bible, song

Donelle Pardee Whiting
Jill Hostettler sings and uses American Sign Language with school children at Lincoln Grade School’s Good News Club Thursday. The program is for children in kindergarten through fourth grade. Currently, only Lincoln has a Good News Club, but the Child Evangelism Fellowship is working to get clubs at Central Grade School and John L. Hensey School.

About 35 students at Central Grade School in Washington participate in the Good News Club.

Once a week, students meet after school in a non-denominational atmosphere to learn about the Bible and how to be better people, Karen Robertson said.

“So many people believe young children don’t understand the Bible,” she said, “but that’s not true.”

The program is designed by the Child Evangelism State Board.

Each club is sponsored by a church whose function is to fund the program.

Robertson said the organizers of the Good News clubs went to court in 2001 to be allowed to go into schools because schools allow Scouting, therefore, should allow students the opportunity to participate in Good News.

Presenter Jill Hostettler, the assistant director of the Child Evangelism Fellowship, works with the children through songs and devotional readings.

“Schools see an improvement in kids’ behavior,” Robertson said of those students participating in the club.

The club stresses being nice, listening, doing kind things and doing right, she added.

“It is Bible based,” Robertson said, “similar to Vacation Bible School.”

To encourage the students, they clap every time someone answers a question.

“They all get praise. No one child is singled out,” Robertson said.

Most children are pretty much set in their ways by age 15, Roberston said, so the group works with kindergartners through fourth grade.

Currently, only Lincoln has a Good News Club; however, Robertson said they are working on getting one at Central Grade School and John L. Hensey.

“We can’t change the world, but we can make it better one child at a time,” Robertson said.