Our guest blogger to day is Pastor Shawn Thornton. Shawn is Senior Pastor at Calvary Community Church, Westlake Village, California and also a member of the Awana Board.
As a child, parent, leader, and pastor, I have seen the many benefits the Awana Ministry brings to the local church as a whole. Let me share with you the 5 ways an Awana Club Ministry can bless a local church–far beyond the club itself.
Blessing #1: Helps keep the church’s main thing the main thing
Awana at its very root is about the basic Gospel of Jesus Christ. Children and students are pointed toward a relationship with God through faith in His Son. Awana helps kids, parents, and program leaders focus on the Gospel. This focus brings an infectious synergy that, when harnessed properly, can impact the focus of the whole ministry of the local church. Awana can and should stir a church to keep the main thing the main thing!
Blessing #2: Provides an environment to grow new church leaders
Many adults who are fairly young in the Lord and new to the church settle into a church’s Awana program as one of their first avenues of Christian service. Some move from roles of listening to verses and directing games to leadership roles of club directors and commanders. As clubbers grow through the club years, many become leaders in training. Pastors and other church leaders can easily look to their Awana club for emerging deacons, elders, small group coordinators, and other key ministry influencers. When properly utilized, the Awana ministry provides an environment for discipling and developing a variety of church leaders!
Blessing #3: Assists the church in cultivating spiritually minded parents
Today’s Christian parents struggle to find formal and informal ways of nurturing their kids spiritually. The nature of the Awana ministry allows clubbers and parents to interact over various Bible verses. Parents may be challenged by their attempts to explain specific words and phrases of God’s Word. The stretching involved for the parent grows the parent and provides space for a parent and a child to share together about the things of the Lord. That is a very good thing for parents and the church!
Blessing #4: Roots the church’s next generation in God’s Word
Biblical literacy in America continues to fade. Each year fewer and fewer people can connect significant stories of Scripture and famous biblical quotes back to the Bible itself. Many churches have drifted from equipping the next generation with a working, personal knowledge and application of God’s Word. The Awana ministry focuses a child on hiding God’s Word in his or her heart. The church benefits from the next generation emerging from clubs with an active biblical literacy!
Blessing #5: Build’s a church’s sense of community and family
Awana, from the very start, has blessed many churches by developing healthy teams of adult leaders, cultivating strong relationships among parents and leaders, and encouraging clubbers to enjoy small group connectivity with their particular team or handbook group. If an Awana club is run the way it is intended, a sense of community and family is built. An effective Awana club helps make the church grow smaller just as fast as the church grows larger because people are coming to Christ through its ministry!
Failing to see the broader influence and impact an Awana ministry in your local church can have robs your church family of the blessing of an effective Awana ministry.