Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Is Awana Typecasted?


When an actor or actress play a certain role for several years, they can often be typecast in that role for the rest of their career.

What is typecasting?

Definition of TYPECAST
1 to cast (an actor or actress) in a part calling for the same characteristics as those possessed by the performer
2 to cast (an actor or actress) repeatedly in the same type of role

jethroThe classic example is Max Baer, Jr. who played Jethro Bodine on The Beverly Hillbillies. After the popular show was cancelled after 10 seasons (1962 – 1971), Max Baer, Jr. was not able to get another acting role because he was always seen as the dim-witted, country boy he portrayed in the Beverly Hillbillies.

In a TV interview on Fox Business, when asked about the impact playing Jethro had had on his life and career, Max Baer, Jr. replied,

I couldn’t lose the image even if I tried.  I tried for 10 or 15 years just to get away from the character so I could get other jobs.  But it was impossible.  (source)

Let’s try a little experiment…. answer this question with your first thought….

Time will tell, but I’m guessing that most people will select “clubs”.

I wonder if Awana has been typecast as just a club ministry.

Has Awana typecast themselves as just a “club ministry” over the years by focusing mainly on starting new clubs, not reaching kids?

While I was at Awana at the end of April, I shared that it will be difficult for Awana to break away from that typecast, just as it was for Max Baer, Jr., and just as it is for me. People know Awana as a club ministry and that will not change in the mind of many people. I shared that Awana will face the same obstacles that I face personally. Although I have been a children & youth pastor, spoken at retreats, organized summer camps and more, when people hear my name, or Commander Bill, they don’t think children’s ministry in general, they think Awana Clubs. It is difficult to break away from that sole connection people have of me, and that people have of Awana.

As it has been said before, the focus, not the mission, of Awana is changing from the question of “how do we get more clubs?”, to “how do we reach more kids?”

Yes, clubs is a great way to reach kids, but it is not the only way.

Is Awana typecast as a club (mid-week) ministry?

What do you think? Share your thoughts below…


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