When you think of Awana, what is the one word that comes to mind? I would venture to guess that most people would say “clubs”. It is what Awana has done well for over 60 years.
At the Children’s Pastors Conference (CPC16), Awana introduced something that has been in the works for several years. It initially had the working name of KLS (know, love, serve), and this past spring “The Great Life” was introduced. When I went to learn about this new curriculum by Awana for use in weekend children’s ministry I was surprised. Awana introduced Awana Weekends! The Great Life, and Awana Weekends, is a relational approach to discipleship. From their presentation, “Awana is locking arms with like-minded churches and leaders who are committed to making disciples through children’s ministry“.
The Great Life is where we know, love, and serve Christ together.
- Know Christ: “follow me”, the great calling, Luke 9:23
- Love Christ: “love God and people”, the great commandment, Mark 12:29-31
- Serve Christ: “go and make disciples”, the great commission, Matthew 28:18-20
- Together for Christ: “be one”, the great community, John 17:20-21
What is an Awana Weekend Experience?
- a simple, relational, discipleship expereince
- an integrated community disciple-making model
- a curriculum for churches that are serious about evangelism, life-long discipleship, and church-parent partnerships
- a teaching and modeling of the Gospel story shown throughout Scripture
Awana Weekends Content/Curriculum Overview
- Built (initially) for K-5th grade
- 2 year scope and sequence covers both Old and New Testaments
- A developmentally different experience every two years
- Parent/Family curriculum integration
- Digitized file/lesson delivery
We were provided a copy of a sample lesson to see the way the curriculum is laid out. Like any curriculum, it has several components:
Family Circle Time
This is a about a 15 minute time period where the parents take time to “introduce” the upcoming lesson to their children. This family circle time has a three parts:
- Prepare – for the parents to prepare for this circle time explaining what will be discussed in the upcoming weekend in the weekend experience and what is needed for the family circle time
- Share – The teaching time, sharing God’s truth and sharing our stories
- Respond – an activity designed to help the children respond to what has been shared.
Ideally parents will receive this during the week before the weekend experiences and share with their families, having the children prepared and anticipating what may be coming. Awana realizes that not all families will participate in this portion and the weekend experience, lesson, is designed with that in mind.
The Weekend Circle Time (Lesson) follows a similar format:
- Prepare – a structured study time to help the teacher prepare themselves to present the lesson
- Share (30-40 minutes) – The presentation of the lesson itself. An interactive time between the teachers and students.
- Respond (10-15 minutes) – Activities to help the children respond to the message
- Reflect (5-10 minutes) – A time to summarize the lesson, look ahead, pray and send the children ready for the week. A time to reflect on the work of the Holy Spirit.
- Evaluation – At the end of each lesson is a guided page to help the teacher evaluate how the Circle time went that week and how they will pray for the children and families represented that week.
The curriculum focuses on the small group format which is key for the relational discipleship model of the Great Life. It is also how one can have a greater impact on a child’s life.
I liked what I saw presented by Awana and look forward to it being available in the fall of 2016. For more information about Awana Weekends and to join their email list, you can visit awana.org/AwanaWeekends.
Awana is not abandoning the clubs. They are providing a new, different, way to help answer their prayer, that all children and youth may come to know, love, and serve, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Download the sample lesson (pdf) for 2nd & 3rd grade that was shared during CPC16.