VM Awana Project

Posted by Todd S on Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

Awana Sunday

This past Sunday we had our first Awana Sunday.  28 of our 34 clubbers were able to attend (which is great since some go to other churches and we only have 3 from our church).  We had a total attendance of 122!  The church was literally packed.  We said the pledges, the clubbers sang the theme song and then each group gave a presentation which included their song, verse and a summary given by the director.  At the end, Todd gave the Gospel presentation using the verses from T&T’s Start Zone, and we had that club actually recite the verses as he went along.  While there were no responses to the salvation message, we know that God planted a seed in many of the folks there.  Afterwards, we had cookies and punch that allowed our church family to mingle with those from Awana.  Many from our church said how much they appreciated actually seeing what goes on at Awana.  It was very encouraging! 

Our prayer is that the Awana families who are not attending a church or are seeking a new one would possibly consider our church.  We were able to talk to each of them on Sunday at the fellowship after the service and received many comments and questions.  Awana really opened up this opportunity to expose them to our church when they may not have considered it otherwise.

It is hard to believe, but we only have three more club nights (including tonight) and then the awards ceremony.  It has been such a wonderful year, and the Lord has done so many amazing things in the lives of our clubbers and leaders!  We can’t wait to start our second year and see where God leads us. 

 Todd and Angela Shoemaker 


Posted by Tyler L on Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Keeping It Fun

One of the goals of Awana is to keep it fun.  This seems to be a rather superficial goal, but only if we don’t understand the reason.  Would anyone want to do something that they don’t enjoy?  Of course not!  These children that we are reaching with the Bible and the love and grace of God would avoid us like the plague if they did not enjoy coming to Awana.

However, when these children (and adults as well) enjoy what is going on, they WILL be back.  This goes beyond the games.  During the lessons, try to keep things fun.  Last night at Bethany, KS our speaker grabbed the kids attention with juggling.  It fit with his message of being used by God.  The kids listened.  They loved it… THEY WILL BE BACK! 

Bible memorizing.  Can this be fun?  Yeah!  We’ve written the verse on balloons, one word per balloon.  Read the verse together then have a child pop a balloon.  Read it again.  Continue until each balloon is gone and the children are quoting the verse by memory because there are no words left on the balloons.  They loved it!

The only caution I have for our church and others is to not neglect the Word of God for the sake of fun.

Now, go have fun.


Posted by Todd S on Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Center Hill, PA Mid Year Tune Up!

We are about half way through our first year with Awana.  Things have been great so far.  We continue to see new kids come out and are excited to see other kids continue to come.  God is certainly good! 

One struggle this winter has been winter sports for some of our clubbers.  Our community just recently lifted the ban on Wednesday night sports which has conflicted with some our clubbers.  We have purchased some postcards from the Awana website to send along for clubbers who missed to let them know that we miss them.  This has been a great tool for us to stay connected.  Our clubbers who are active with sports continue to work through their handbooks which allows them to fit right back in. 

We also are in the process of doing a mid year tune up.  Our wonderful commander (Angela) is going around with each group to make sure things are going good and addressing any issues our leaders may have.  Tonight she shadowed the Cubbies and already saw some good things and also some things that need refined.  We have great leaders who understand that this is a new program and we need to work some things out as we understand how a club night will work for us.

A great praise was that one of our clubbers accepted the Lord tonight!  That is what it is all about.  When the leader shared that they would now go to heaven to be with God the clubber was so excited they started to cry (tears of joy!)  What a great thing to hear. 

Todd and Angela Shoemaker


Posted by Eric A on Monday, December 10th, 2007

BCBC – the first half! (Part 2)

I took a number of photos during our second meeting. The kids are really having fun and enjoying themselves. We have 2 or 3 kids (of our 27) that have done Awana before, they are the only ones with uniforms in these photos.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14749220@N05/sets/72157602540159680/show/


It is now December and since I took those photos about 20 of the kids have finished their booklets and are starting in their books. They love it during large group time when I point out the ones that have received books today. Everyone claps and cheers.

I ordered uniforms for almost everyone today and in January we will be giving them points for wearing their uniforms and bringing their books.

This Friday (Dec 14) we are having a Christmas program & potluck for both our Awana program and Sunday School. The church and community are invited…let’s see how many come! About 24 of the Awana kids were sure they could be there and have parts in the play so…hopefully they will all come. We gave them all cards to put on their fridges so that they (and their parents) will remember and come. At the VBS potluck & program we had about 100 people out (75% community people, not church members!) so we are praying that we would get that many again. Please pray with us as this may be the only time many of these families are in church. We will be inviting them to come to church on Sunday as well as to the Christmas Eve Service.

Dawn Anderson


Posted by Eric A on Monday, December 10th, 2007

BCBC – the first half! (Part 1)

Wow! Time flies!

We started our club here in Bowdoin, Maine at Bowdoin Center Baptist Church (BCBC) on Friday Oct 12. We had 28 kids come (about twice as many as we thought would come!) They arrived by school bus as we are doing an after school club. The bus turns around in the church driveway everyday and doesn’t mind letting kids off.

Since we are a small church, we have workers from 4 other churches as well as our own. This is a great for us as we want this to be something for our community, not just our church.

As time has gone on, we have continued to have 25-28 kids come every week. The ones that have decided to do this come every week (one 4th grade boy even decided to do Awana over basketball!) The kids that come tend to be mainly non-churched kids. They do not know what a Bible is and have never attended church. Many of them have been to VBS but that is their only exposure to church.

Dawn Anderson


Posted by Todd S on Saturday, December 1st, 2007

End of November Update: Center Hill, PA

Awana has been a wonderful children’s ministry for our church.  Things are going extremely well.  Our club meets on Wednesday nights and began on October 3.  We started out with 14 clubbers and have had as many as 23 in one night.  Some of the clubbers go to our or other churches, while some do not currently attend a church.  We have 16 leaders:  3 in Cubbies, 3 in Sparks, 4 in T&T, 3 listeners, 2 game leaders and myself, the commander/secretary.  Each club has a secretary who records attendance, dues, sections recited, etc.  I then take that information and record them on the permanent cards.

Each clubber pays a $10 registration fee and $.50 weekly dues.  This covers most of the cost of uniform, book and awards. 
Each night we have a different theme night.  Some are themes for games and other times revolve around the lessons.  We are going through the book Why Should I Believe the Bible is True?.  Our club nights begin by saying the pledges to the American and Awana flags.  We also sing the Awana theme song.  Our church has been blessed with a projector that has really helped with getting words in front of the clubbers.  This coming week will be Store night.  Each clubber has earned Awana shares by reciting sections and bringing friends.  I have tried to keep things simple (which is hard for me since I grew up in Awana at a large church!).  But I already have ideas about next year – Sunday School attendance awards and even quizzing! 

Our congregation has positively responded to Awana.  In addition to the many volunteers, we have many who are praying for us.  The Lord has also blessed us by several donations to help with the additional cost of Awana.  Of course, we have to watch our spending and have tried to stick to a $50/month budget.  Sometimes we have gone under, sometimes over.  This includes expenses for theme nights (cupcakes, Halloween treat bags, etc.) and administration (labels, stamps, cards, etc.) costs. 

Besides finances, our biggest challenge has been space.  We have already begun praying for a new building 🙂 and until the Lord answers, we will continue to be creative with the space we do have.  I have had to make different schedules for different nights in order to make the most of our building.  Most nights, the Cubbies are downstairs  in a back “room” which is made a room by sliding out a divider.  The remaining part of the basement is used for handbook time and game time.  We are unable to use the game square because of our size.  However, since no one really knows what it is (except me), it has not affected game time.  We even used some of the games we played at Discover Awana this past week! 
The Cubbies leaders have certainly been faced with many challenges that they were not expecting.  One week they had a child who would not listen and hit other kids.  That child has not returned.  They also have a few parents who stay the entire night.  This past week, one of those mothers was unable to stay which led to crying by her two sons in Cubbies.  Thankfully, their older brother is in T&T and helped to get them to go back to the others.  They continue to persevere however!

 Todd and Angela Shoemaker


Posted by Brian Wechsler on Saturday, December 1st, 2007

End of November Updates

Larry Shetenhelm, Jennings, MI: We now have a full month of Awana. We have three “clubs” Sparks, TnT and Trek. The average attendance in the lower grades has been 18 and in the teen group 10. More than 35 have registered. We have 7 leaders and 5 others preparing the Family Meal. The program begins as the children get off the bus in Jennings. We offer a Family Meal after the club meetings. The idea is to encourage parents and/or guardians to have a meal as they pick up the children. Very few of them have come for the meal. We will decide whether to continue the meal after the first of the year.

One new idea we are using is to send each clubber home with the Scripture verse of the day. The clubber receives credit for the memory verse when a parent and/or guardian signs the Scripture memory card. The goal is to have the Word of God spoken in each home. We know the Word of God will not return void.

We are pleased with the attendance and are trying to be creative in using the Awana materials. (At little cost)

The Trek group is growing as new teens come almost every week. One reason is there is absolutely nothing for teens to do in Jennings. We have challenged them to “take their faith to the next level.”  

A church in Florida has donated about 49 uniforms (leaders and clubbers) for our use. We did not plan on uniforms due to the cost.

Some of our leaders have been involved in Awana in the past, which is a great help! One comment they have made is that most Awana clubs are “church kids” plus a few unchurched kids. It is just the opposite here. Only our grandchildren come from a home that makes Sunday school and worship a priority. As of today NONE of the other parents/guardians attend church on any regular basis.

Discipline is a major problem. Most of the children are from undisciplined homes and are often in trouble in school and on the school bus. We use the “5 count” and some are slowly catching on. We will most likely need to begin taking kids home before club is over. It is our prayer that some will see the value in and of discipline.

Ken & Kathy Wagstaff, Andover, ME: We have had 2 Awana meetings so far.  The first week was 15 kids and the second was 24.  We use the school calendar because the bus drops the kids off at the church on Friday afternoons so we didn’t have Awana last week because of Thanksgiving vacation.  This week we are having a prayer & planning meeting for the adults after the club and a quick supper.  So far things are going well.  Finances are the biggest problem but God is supplying what we need.  The catalog has so many neat things but we are sticking to the basics for now.  The adults bought their own uniforms and we are sending home information to the parents so maybe some of them will purchase their children’s shirts.  The rest we will trust God for!

Jim and Judy Foster, Skykomish, WA: Our Awana is different than most.  We have more workers than kids! There are only about 30 kids pre-school-6th grade in the whole area.  We have 12 on the roll.  3 of the kids coming are Mormon and 1 is Hindu.  We aren’t sure why their parents allow them to attend but we are thrilled.  We know God wants to do great things as we have Satan really trying to stop our Awana club from going forward.  We know Satan works hardest when he knows God has plans.  We are looking forward to the victory and seeing how our Wonderful Lord works it all out. 

We only have 2 days a week that we can have anything for kids.  Sun. & Mon. evenings are our only times.  The school has an after school program until 4:30 so that is not an option.  With ski season open and the slopes only 16 miles away Fri. and Sat. are out.  Tue., Wed. & Thur. are game nights at the school and the younger kids are on the Jr. cheer team.

We see our church people pulling together and are excited for the program and the opportunity to reach kids for Christ.  One unchurched mother said her 2 young sons will not let them forget.  This is an open door to this family that we have been praying for.  Another mother has not been willing to step inside the church to even pick up her daughter from Jr. church.  She would wait outside.  Since Awana has started she comes early to pick up her child and sits in the back and listens.

We are going to use the Awana club members in our Christmas Candle light service, hopefully reaching families that have never come before.  We are so thankful for what Village Missions and Awana have done to give us this program.

Ray and Karla Berry, Manning, ND: Manning’s Awana Club is going very well I had three concerns in  doing Awana 1. Money 2. Personal 3. Space

1. God has supplied very much that we don’t need dues or want for anything. PTL

2. Personal God has supplied all that have been needed we have some helping from other churches. PTL

3. Space God has not stretched the church but with 7-9 kids we don’t need a lot of space.

I still believe Awana for the small rural church needs to be simplified and less expensive if a couple of large donations had not come in we could not have it free and 2 key workers from other churches helping we could not be doing Sparks and T&T as we are. How is it needed to be, I don’t truly know.

I will say as I’ve heard at Awana “if you explain it God may not be in it” May God be praised.

Ken & Charlotte Schmidt, Morton, WA: Well, not too much to report on our end…we started club Nov 1st. the first nite was supposed to be registration, but only 1 clubber showed…so we had to repeat that nite the following week. That means that Nov. 15th was our 1 (and only, up to this point) full blown Awana meeting…consisting of 3 clubbers! It went well, and we expect to get more tomorrow nite…

Andy and Stacy Taylor: Bridge, OR: Bridge Church has had a low of 20 kids and a high of 28 on BARF (Bring A Real Friend) night.  In addition, we have had 4 to 8 High schoolers, who have their own study, and then help with games.  We are not using uniforms, but had “Bridge Church Awana’s” T-shirts made.  Finances and helpers have not been the problem, we could take three times as many kids.  I think our greatest challenge right now is letting the community know what is going on.  We have clubs on Sun. eve so that we don’t conflict with school events, but it has disadvantages too.

The training in Chicago was helpful, but not crucial.  We are finding that what we were told holds true, if we give the teens a ministry, they are more consistent.

Our game director is struggling.  The book is helpful, but our space doesn’t allow for a circle, and he does not have internet. We are going to have to have someone else get online for him to help find alternative games.

Bottom line is that it is being effective, to reach kids and even families already.


Posted by Howard C on Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

awana commander (Pastor)

We had our first night of AWANA on sunday night.  We had to wait for our AWANA missionary to train us.  With some activities at the elementary school we decided that Sunday the 4th was the best time.  We meet from 6:00-7:30.   We were excited with the 6 children that came out.  We told them that we were celebrating the first night of AWANA at our church, so we had baloons and cupcakes! We had one cubby,2 TNT’s and 2 TReks.  The TReks also were helpers.  We had one women who we have been praying for sor some time come and volunteer to play the piano for us- she stayed the whole time and heard the gospel.  She said she would be back next week-  Kids were excited and want to invite their friends!  Howard and Nancy Carr Moxie Community Church


Posted by Todd S on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

First Month Completed – Center Hill, PA

We are finishing our first month of Awana tonight.  Our training and organization went very well.  We have 16 helpers every Wednesday night.  Our first week we had 14 kids and the second week they all came back.  Our third week we had a BARF night (Bring A Real Friend) night.  We had 20 kids show up that night and we had 22 last week.  God is certainly at work.  We are dealing with size issues with our building being smaller.  But God is giving wisdom.  We have theme nights scheduled for every club night.  We visited a club about 35 miles away that was very helpful.  We also found other church websites who have Awana a big help. 

 http://www.gbce.net/Library/Brochures/AWANA%20Brochure.pdf – This website has an excellent explanation of Awana on the one panel.  I used a lot of this information for our brochure.  I put a pre-registration form on one of the panels.

http://mapleridgebiblechurch.org/Cubbies%20Brochure.pdf – This was another option to do a brochure.  This actually helped in planning areas of club.

http://kenoshabible.org/awana/parent_letter.htm – This was an excellent welcome letter that I used to give to parents after their child attended Awana.  Of course, I tailored it to suit our church. 

As far as theme nights, I took several ideas from the calendar we received as an example at Discover Awana.  I also looked through our lesson book (Why Should I Believe the Bible is True?) and developed some themes from the lessons so they corresponded.  Having grown up in Awana, I also remembered some of my personal favorites!  There are also some good ideas on the Awana website in the Commanders Corner forum.  Awana Theme Nights

 Todd and Angela Shoemaker


Posted by Brian Wechsler on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

From Our Hispanic Field in Avenal, CA

Good day Hermano Brian,

This is Hna. Lupita from Iglesia Evangelica in Avenal and I am responding to you in regards to the AWANA program.  I am excited as well are our Pastors Raul and Theresa Corona about the program, but we have not been able to start to do anything with the program because we have about 80% of our members working about 12 hours a day in their job with an hour drive back and forth to from their homes to their jobs. But everyone is excited about the program and as soon as their long hours of work ends, in which we are hoping about the middle of November, we will be starting the training and choosing our leaders that will be helping out.  Pray for us that everyone is willing and that many hear the calling of our Lord and have willing hearts to serve in this area.  We have had a great number of brothers and sisters that want to serve in the program and we are confident that God will bring out the best of each one of the willing hearts to make this program a success in our church.  

God Bless You and have a wonderful day. 

Lupita


About the Project...

A couple of years ago Village Missions began discussions with AWANA about adapting their program to meet the needs of a small church...read more.

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