Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

The Gospel Truth About Children’s Ministry



One of the things that I like to do is to go out in a canoe on a lake and just relax. The view across the lake to the shore is spectacular. It is so peaceful that I can sit there for hours. What I don’t know, is what is below the waterline that can be devastating to my mission.

That is the way it can be in ministry as well. We find that nice peaceful place and sit there enjoying the scenery. It looks good to others, but under the waterline can be a different story.

I like to use the duck as an illustration for ministry. As children’s ministry leaders, we may be seen cruising effortlessly on top of the water, but below the waterline our feet are working hard. What is seen above the waterline is not always what is happening below it.

I give these analogies because that is what Awana has done for the last couple of years.

In 2013, Awana conducted a comprehensive survey among children’s ministry leaders from across the U.S.A. Our purpose was  to listen so we could really understand the issues below the waterline. (emphasis added)

Awana sought to really see what was happening in the trenches of children’s ministry and not just look at the surface. The results that they found resonated with me as a children’s ministry leader. The struggles they found are struggles I have experienced and the “why” of children’s ministry are why I am passionate about reaching children with the good news of Jesus.

The analysis shows the turbulence “under the water” as children’s ministry leaders seek to reach children with the Gospel, but at times there seems to be a disconnect of what they envision and the reality of ministry.

Awana has taken this research and placed it in a book called The Gospel Truth About Children’s Ministry (to be released June 22, 2015 and available on the Awana web site). In the book, the top 10 findings about children’s ministry are shared and suggested solutions are given.

This book offers critical insight into the truth about children’s ministry and can be a valuable tool as you prepare for the upcoming ministry year. The book and the research challenge us to take some time and ask critical questions.

We must pause, as the children’s ministry community, and ask ourselves, “Am I simply running children’s ministry programming? Or am I making disciples of kids, parents, and leader?

We must each take a look at our ministry and ask the questions above. Once we have the answers, we then need to ask, “What am I going to do next?”


Awana has provided me with a copy of the book that I would like to give away. To have a chance to win, simply download an exclusive look at the beginning of the book, including the list of the top 10 Kidmin Research Findings and some of Awana’s suggested solutions, then comment below on one of the 10 findings. The winner of the book will be randomly selected on Monday, June 29, 2015.


Order the book here…..

Find out more about Awana here….


The Author


Add a Comment
  1. I have seen many of these same issues when I took over as commander. Because our church firmly believes it’s not just about completing the book we made some changes. We have a theme that covers the entire year to which we then correspond a once a month theme night (is crazy hair or black out night). Last year we did the 10 commandments over the course of 10 weeks and then took the rest of the time to explain how they do not save us, Jesus does and then went on to teach about what the Christian life looks like, sin, repentance, serving, witnessing, communion and even a baptism for a lesson. I love Awana and would love this book to use as a resource to further encourage my leaders, and families,to help us continue to evaluate what we are doing and more importantly, why.

  2. This is something I’ve been pondering for two years now: We Need a Program That Can Meet Digital Natives Where They Are. I am finding that as I age, new technology is becoming more challenging for me. Flannelgraph figures would be a hard sell compared to what our Awana kids are used to experiencing. In preparing “Council time” lessons, I’ve often thought of clips of movies that would be a good reinforcement or neat things I find on the internet that offer a great visualization or animation of something we’re looking at. I simply don’t know how to incorporate technology into our club, and I feel stronger every year that it is something I need to do! Many of the other findings intrigue me as it is obvious children’s ministry has changed a lot while the church has not kept pace. I feel I am letting my parents down as I watch them floundering in today’s culture. There has to be more to this.

  3. Theresa Gottshall

    All of the findings resonated with me but the one that struck me the most was #5 – It really does take a village:Discipleship is relational and engages the family. While we all know this – I think many times we feel alone in this quest and that the family has given the “right of discipleship” to the church and children’s and youth ministry workers. I know many of our Awana leaders and directors feel frustrated at the lack of parental participation both at home, reviewing the lessons and helping their child(ren)learn their verses and understand what they really mean and taking the time to speak with their child’s leader and/or director. I know as a leader, director and now Commander – I feel a great responsibility to reach the parents and partner with them but often feel that all our efforts are often fruitless. I now pray that God will open doors for us to reach the parents and that we are willing to put in the effort and not feel frustrated but rather joyful when we reach if only one family!

  4. The description indicates that there would be resources and ideas to engage kids, and their parents, to help disciple kids. It lays out the study process extremely well. In addition it clarifies the big issues in children’s ministry. However, other than some questions at the end of each section there were no helps except for a “commercial” for a new Awana curriculum, that isn’t available until spring of 2016! Fall is generally the time of implementing new programs and materials at a church. I am very curious to know how this material will better engage the parents/families than any other material or the Awana club material. Overall, I cannot say this book was helpful in planning our ministry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* © 2014 Frontier Theme