Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Are You an Awana Advocate, Addict, or Attendee?


As I type this, there are a group of people at Awana learning how they can be advocates for Awana.


Yes this may be one of the secrets of Awana that I shared earlier this week, but if you were following the hastag #Awana14Launch on Twitter, then you knew this as you saw the following tweets:

So what is an advocate? The term advocate is defined as

Verb (used with object), ad·vo·cat·ed, ad·vo·cat·ing.
1. to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly
2. a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.
3. a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.
4. a person who pleads the cause of another in a court of law.

To paraphrase it, it is someone who shares a story with others.

I believe that Awana suffers in many churches because they do not have advocates. Rather they have attendees or addicts. Let me try to briefly explain.

An addict is someone who thinks every church NEEDS Awana. It is non-negotiable for them. The only time you may hear them talk about Awana is when you try to take it away from them and then they fight for what they need.

An attendee is someone who attends Awana. They may be a volunteer serving, or a clubber. They attend club on a weekly basis for various reasons. They may even be working diligently through their handbooks, or leading amazing large group times, but once the final “amen” is said for the prayer to end the night, not a word is said about Awana.

One of the top “complaints” in children’s ministry is that there is a lack of volunteers, yet often the only time we share about children’s ministry is the desperate plea for people to help. Doesn’t sound like much of an advocate, does it?

An advocate is someone who shares about what God is doing, how lives are being changed, excited for what they see taking place. Here’s an example. I was the commander of a club of around 100 Cubbies thru T&T with about 35 volunteers serving. The children’s ministry director often said that I was a great recruiter when the truth was that I didn’t do much recruiting at all. The leaders serving were the best recruiters, advocates, sharing about Awana, encouraging others to be a part. There were people in the church, with no connection to Awana, mentioning how great Awana was because they saw and heard what was taking place. They were hearing, and seeing, the story of Awana.

I am an advocate for Awana, because when we got our children involved about 20 years ago as clubbers, and then I became a leader, I immediately saw the impact this ministry had and how God would use it. With the Gospel and the Word of God at the core, how could it go wrong. Seeing children eager to recite God’s Word was such a blessing. Then I saw the thousands of churches using Awana and wondered how much more effective it could be if we networked together, sharing ideas and what God was doing in our clubs to encourage one another.

When you see how God uses Awana, how can you stay silent?

Yet so many do.

So which one are you? Are you an Awana advocate, addict, or attendee?


If you’re an advocate, then I encourage you to share your story. You can do so be e-mailing your story to me (let me know if it is okay to post it on this website), or sharing in the comments below.



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