I have participated in, helped organize, led workshops, and just about everything you can do for an Awana conference. I’ve heard many excuses as to why people do not attend conference. I’ve heard people say that it is too far to travel, yet these same people did not attend when the church we attended hosted the conference yet people travel greater distances for other family activities.
Another common excuse that missionaries hear is that conference is the same thing year after year. I know many missionaries go to great lengths to make the conference unique, but let me surprise you and say that I agree. Conference is the same year after year. I mean, what do you expect? We talk about the three components of Awana, large group time, small group time and game time – along with administrative and reaching children and parent workshops.
If we read our Bibles, then we see that in Ecclesiastes chapter 3 that there is nothing new under the sun. It comes down to presentation. So if going back to basics isn’t for you, or you’re tired of the same people leading the same workshops, then maybe it is time for you to step up and share what you’ve learned with others to help them in their ministry.
Another aspect of conference that is often overlooked is the networking opportunity. You are not alone serving in Awana, and others have been through what you’re going through, or someone needs advice and guidance for what they are going through that you have already faced – joining with your missionaries and others to pray and encourage one another.
Then once conference is over, take these new friendships and continue them by lifting one another up in prayer and encouraging one another.
Conference is what you make of it. If you go with great expectations, you won’t be disappointed. If you go thinking it is the same old thing, then you won’t be disappointed. It will be what you make of it (I’ve been on both sides of that spectrum), so make it a great networking opportunity and a way to enhance your ministry. But if you don’t go, you’ll never know.