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Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

I Need More Volunteers!!

I don’t think that I have ever been to a church or an Awana club where I didn’t hear someone express concern and dismay about the lack of people volunteering and how they “needed” more people serving.

I once did a Basic Training for a church seeking to start Awana. This was a small church, but those initiating this new Awana club came from a moderate sized church which had about 100 clubbers (Cubbies – 5th grade). They were planning for a director for each club and leaders for each group, getting dismayed that people were not stepping up to serve. As I progressed through the training, and began answering their questions and addressing their concerns I asked, “How many children do you expect initially?” Their response was a handful. Maybe 6 or so of various ages. I then tried to redirect their focus from the structure of a “big” club to one that fit their situation.

Now I believe in building a structure to plan for growth, but there is no need to build for a club of 100 if you only expect 10. Sometimes the seeming lack of leadership is a lack of proper planning and organization.

People are amazed when I tell them how few leaders I have and I generally do not have Sparks leaders and T&T leaders. I have handbook leaders who listen to sections for both groups and I have one person who “oversees” each group and stays with them the entire night. I have someone in place for the lesson and people in place for gametime. The night is scheduled so the handbook time leaders can manage both groups. This allows me to have fewer volunteers, yet build if needed (i.e. room for expansion) and reach the needs of the children. At a previous club, when we were low on Sparks leaders, we would split the group of about 30 sparks where 1/2 would go to large group time and the other 1/2 would do handbook time, thus requiring a few less handbook time leaders (it was also due to space issues).

So when you look at your Awana club structure, do you need more volunteers, or just want them? Can a shift in how you structure the night relieve stress on your team and yet still minister effectively to the children?

If you have any questions about how your night is structured, then feel free to ask and I am willing to offer suggestions based on my experience and your situation. I will begin to focus some on how to recruit volunteers and club structure in the upcoming weeks.

The Author

6 Comments

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  1. This is what we do. Our leaders listen for both clubs. They each have 3 Sparks max and 3 T&T max that they listen to each night. This makes it so much easier on looking for leaders.

  2. Thanks, Bill. I like this idea, and have brought it up with my leaders. their concern is they would lose some continuity with the kids, the opportunity to build a relationship with the kids through the entire night. How do you counter this?

  3. Dave, I would suggest that building the relationship is more than just the club night. Also, the greatest time to build the relationship is handbook time. If a leader just does handbook time, then they have the potential to build that relationship with the child for 6-7 years.

    The other item I would note would be that if the ratio of clubbers to leaders is lower, then you can build better relationships with the children. If there is a high number of clubbers to a leader, then the leader is stressed and begins to focus on “processing” the children through to get to all of them and sign off sections – you may also have more discipline issues as well.

    Each club needs to look and assess their situation, but be willing to “think outside the box” and not be locked in to a rigid structure.

  4. Rebecca Schlaegel

    Bill, before you started this, how did you communicate with your leaders about the idea? I have been stressing out over not having the interest into becoming leaders this year, until I read your post and I feel that this will work for our club, but I’m now concerned as to how my leaders will take it.

    1. Rebecca,

      In the situation where leaders did handbook time in both Sparks and T&T, it was a church plant so we began that way and did not have to “sell it” to the leaders.

      Not knowing the specifics of your club, I can only suggest trying to find the people who enjoy handbook time, interacting with the children, and place them in that role.

      It is a matter of evaluating your club, personnel, and space to see what works best for your situation.

      1. Thanks Bill. Have been talking to a few of the leaders and their overall take is going to be good. I have a meeting tonight to discuss the new year and will be bring it up to them. We really don’t have much choice other than say that we have to cut clubs because of no leadership and I don’t want to have to do that.

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