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"Teaching Bible Truth to children - Giving them a moral and spiritual foundation for life."
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An interview with Ron Easton, Program Director of Key Bible Clubs

Some people say that children are the church of tomorrow; others say children are the church of today. Ron Easton, Program Director of Key Bible Clubs, approaches ministry as if perhaps both are true. Their goal: "Teaching Bible Truth to children, giving them a moral and spiritual foundation for life."

Key Bible Clubs operates in whatever public school or similar space is open to them. Although there are increasing challenges in getting agreeable elementary school principals to allow religious based education in their schools, Ron tells me that they still were able to reach about 1,100 students this year throughout the Southwestern Ontario area—about 80 schools. That's about a tenth of the number involved in Key Bible Clubs in the 70's, but Ron invites you to pray with him and his staff that schools will remain open to them, even if simply out of fairness to the equity mandate outlined by the Ministry of Education.

Key Bible Clubs has a central purpose of assisting parents in the moral and spiritual training of their children. By viewing the family as the centre of each child's education, children receive core spiritual and moral teaching for them to share with their families and discuss at home.

Ever since Key Bible Clubs began in Ontario in 1948, it has tried to provide what every child needs to hear in order to give them a grasp of what the Bible teaches in order to help them decide whether they want to become a friend or follower of Jesus Christ. They train, send and prepare their Key Bible Club Leaders carefully to ensure sound basic teaching at a level children can grasp. Club leaders are paid for leading a club, but often they use this modest stipend for teaching supplies and other materials.

Because any religious education in a public school is allowed but only outside of regular instructional time (according to Regulation 298), a Key Bible Club will meet either before or after school. With only about an hour of time each week, leaders work hard to make the time fun, educational and, most importantly, spiritually beneficial. Main teachings include:
  • The creation story,
  • The ten commandments
  • Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament Law
  • Christ's two great commandments (love God & love your neighbour)
  • The fruit of the Spirit
  • The armour of God
  • The life of Christ

Ron figures about 70% of the kids involved are not from churched families but have some Christian tradition. This is exactly on target with what Key Bible Clubs is after. By reaching kids from families which share a more general affinity with Christianity, this opens the door for Key Bible Clubs to provide a solid understanding of Christian teaching for the benefit of kids directly AND their families indirectly. Ron shared a story of how a child took the message she learned at Key Bible Clubs and shared it with her mother, effectively leading her to faith in Christ. That mom is now a regular faithful supporter of Key Bible Clubs in gratitude for giving her the gift of new life through her daughter!

In Paris, Ontario, a club leader there reports that she has 155 children in 5 clubs. During the course of this year, 71 have received Christ as their Saviour. This is impressive growth! Pray that these kids continue to grow in maturity as leaders walk alongside them in discipleship. Don't forget—we live in an age where increasing numbers of kids don't even know what the Bible is.

While kids up to Grade 5 may be the most popular age range involved in Key Bible Clubs, Ron often hears stories from leaders about older kids who seem to find reasons to use computers in the room where the club is meeting. Perhaps it's not seen as "cool" for them to be directly involved. Leaders can tell that these older kids are listening in, though, and often get to engage them in casual conversation later. Other older kids do remain directly involved in Key Bible Clubs as leaders helping the younger ones. Either way, I could tell Ron is fine with working at whatever comfort level the older kids are at. The main thing is that they are listening...and that leaders get time to chat with them.

From meeting with Ron, I got the clear sense that Key Bible Clubs encourages a gentle and respectful approach on all levels. In working with school boards and administrators, Ron knows he could make a forceful case in this age of pluralism to allow a Christian message to have equal voice in proportion to atheism or any other world view. However, Key Bible Clubs sees the clear advantage in cultivating positive relationship with school officials wherever possible. Their preference, then, is to regard permission to run a Key Bible Club in a school as a privilege, rather than a right.

So too with the kids. Key Bible Clubs puts a high value on providing children with a solid foundation for making wise choices that will last a lifetime. The organization's values statement says, "It's more than do's and don'ts. Kids learn to value themselves, to be sensitive to others and to appreciate the world around them. Most importantly, they come to understand how much God loves them." This kind of ministry takes time and excellent modeling to be effective.

Here is a list of schools that currently have a Key Bible Club. If your local school does not have an active club, Ron would welcome you to contact him and see about working together to approach the principal for permission. The principal makes the final call, and with the regulations being murky around spiritually based education in a public school setting, your voice as a parent or community member could make a decided difference.

www.keybibleclubs.ca

Ron Easton, Program Director for Key Bible Clubs: director@keybibleclubs.ca
519 690 1615

Active Key Bible Club schools:

Oxford County Schools
Rolph Street P.S
Maple Lane P.S.
Tavistock P.S.
Emily Stowe P.S.
Springbank P.S.
South Ridge P.S.

London/Middlesex County Schools
Princess Anne
Ealing
Lambeth
Tweedsmuir
Glen Cairn
Delaware
Parkview
Wilberforce
Caradoc
Mosa Central
East Williams Memorial
Oxbow
Parkhill-West Williams
Byron Northview