Our History

In 1935 Mr. Walter Jensen, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, founded Children’s Bible Mission (CBM) for the purpose of reaching boys and girls in the public schools with the gospel. His method was to go into the public schools and teach God’s Word, motivating the children to learn to memorize Scripture by offering as an incentive the opportunity to attend a Christian summer camp. Today, Children’s Bible Ministries has regional affiliates in nine states, includingOklahoma. Our national office is located in the Tuckaleechee Retreat Center inTownsend, TN.

History of CBM Ministries of the Great Southwest, Inc.

Beginnings (1945 – 1961)

Following many years of fruitful ministry in the pastorate, Indian mission work, and with university students, Dr. and Mrs. John Read began a Bible teaching and reading program in 1945.  With a letter of introduction from the county superintendent, they soon made appointments in eight rural schools where they taught Bible lessons and distributed Scriptures through the Bible Lovers League of Dallas, TX.  Within a few years, the Reads were reaching thousands of children in 40 rural and consolidated schools inOklahoma, eventually extending their ministry to over 100 schools in six counties inOklahomaandArkansas.

The Reads ministered for 13 years before Dr. Read suffered a heart attack in 1956.  His wife went to be with the Lord a year later.

In late 1958, George Warrington met with Oliver Price, director of theOklahomabranch of Bible Lovers League to discuss the possibility of continuing the work begun by the Reads.  The Lord prepared the way, and George became a field missionary with the League.

 


Challenges (1962 – 1991)

The 1962-63 Supreme Court decisions banning prayer and devotional exercises in school necessitated changes in school ministry.  Audible prayer, singing, and Scripture memorization drills were discontinued, and a Bible history course was begun.  Bible lessons were taught objectively as part of a secular program of education.  Attendance was voluntary and children were not permitted to read for a Bible without parental approval.  Classes were limited to schools in which the administration was receptive.  The total number of schools declined due to consolidation or caution on the part of school officials resulting from the Supreme Court rulings.

Transition (1992 – 1999)

In January, 1992, Bible Fellowships, Inc. (formerly The Bible Lovers League),NewLimaIndependentSchool District, and George Warrington, were sued by the A.C.L.U. following a complaint from grandparents of two New Lima students.

Attorneys with The Rutherford Institute defended George and Bible Fellowships, and in January, 1994, the case went to trial by jury inOklahoma Cityfederal court.  Plaintiffs were awarded the following damages:  $1.00 each to the grandfather and two students, and $250.00 to the grandmother.

As a result of this suit, George was urged by the board of Bible Fellowships and the localOklahomaboard to develop a Released Time Bible Class program.  Oliver Price contacted CBM Ministries which, at the time, had 15,000 Released Time students in seven states.

In November, 1993, Bible Fellowships sponsored the first Released Time program inOklahomain the community of Wanette, with a class in nearby Byars starting shortly thereafter.  Other classes in centralOklahomafollowed, but several schools were hesitant to grant approval due to the pending legal issues.  In late 1996, George contacted a friend inPonca City, Harold Ball, and encouraged him to consider starting Released Time there.  Doors began to open, and the first class was held in April, 1997, atKildareSchool.  With the help of Andreina Rains, word about Released Time spread, and programs were begun inChelsea,Tulsa, Nowata, and Crooked Oak.  During this time (1996), plans were proceeding for theOklahomagroup to affiliate with CBM Ministries.  In July, theOklahomabranch of Bible Fellowships was incorporated as CBM Ministries of the Great Southwest, Inc.

Growth (2000 – Present)

In September, 2000, Scott Brinson was asked to serve as Executive Director of the ministry.  Affectionately known by his students as “The Bible Man,” George Warrington continued to serve as area coordinator and RT teacher for central OK until 2004, having faithfully ministered the Word to thousands of boys and girls for over 40 years.

New RT programs were begun in Henryetta (2000), Lexington (2001), Branson, MO, and Springfield, MO (2001), Cameron (2002), Howe (2003), Depew (2003), Fanshawe (2003), Willow Springs, MO (2004), Smithville (2004), Ellisville, MO (2004), Hodgen (2005), Humansville, MO (2005), Watson (2006) and LeFlore (2006).  Over 1,500 boys and girls have publicly professed faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior since 1996 through Released Time Bible classes.

CBM of the Great Southwest has grown from eight schools and less than a hundred students enrolled in the early 90’s, to 25 schools and nearly 1,600 students today.  Our goal is to have at least one Released Time program in all 77 counties inOklahomaby 2020.