Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Are you Following the Great Commission?

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells us to go into all the world and make disciples of all people. Realistically, we cannot all do that on our own, but there is a way that you and your club can follow the great commission.

Yesterday I shared about the plight of Awana clubs, and the missionaries, in Egypt and asked you to join me in prayer for them. Awana in Egypt is just a small part of what Awana International does around the globe. Awana is growing in leaps and bounds internationally and you may not know what Awana International is, or is doing. I wanted to help share some of that with you and so I  asked them some questions. The responses below are from Shelley Welch (International Program Specialist & Children-at-Risk Project Manager Awana® International) and Tom Chilton (Director of International Training Awana® International). Here is the interview:

Some Awana clubs in the U.S. have suggested sending old, outdated, U.S. resources overseas to international clubs. Is this a good idea? If so, is there a good way to do it, and if not, why not?

Yes, we have had some Awana clubs in the U.S. send some of their old, outdated, but still in good condition resources to international clubs.  Since international clubs typically use a different curriculum and awards than what is used in the U.S., the best way for an Awana club in the U.S. to do this is to send a list of the materials they would like to donate to  This way, the International Program Specialist can look to see if any of the materials are being used overseas, and if so, can connect the U.S. club with the appropriate missionary.  At that point, the U.S. club and the missionary would determine how best to get the materials to the international club (usually, the U.S. club pays to ship the materials).

How are the program materials different than the U.S.?

Most international clubs still use the old Sparks, Flame, and Torch programs instead of the new Sparks and T&T programs.  With the Leader-based Model, clubs use the TruthSeekers curriculum which takes the clubbers through the Bible from Creation to Christ over a two year period and then focuses in on Christian living principles through Acts and Romans.  Another difference is that depending on the country, the materials have been translated and contextualized to fit the culture so that the American slang is changed into words/ideas that are understood in that particular country.

What clubs/ranks do international clubs have? (Sparks, T&T)

Sparks is the old US program so the ranks are skipper, hiker, and climber.  Flame is dove and eagle.  Torch is deer and lion.  There are no ranks for TruthSeekers.

I’ve heard about the Leader Based training used internationally. Can you explain what that is and how it started and how it is going?

Leader-Based Training is a new strategy for empowering and equipping Christian leaders to train others in their church on how to start an Awana club and run an effective ministry for children’s evangelism and discipleship.  We do this through a year-long training program which includes four events where 50 churches are trained at a time.  They learn about the importance of children’s ministry and how to run an Awana Club.  The main training consists of five days of interactive lessons and networking.  The first training was piloted in Zambia in August 2007.  Since that time, over 5,000 churches around the world have started Awana clubs using this training.

Is there a possibility that Leader Based Training may replace the current Basic Training in the U.S.?

No, not in its current format.  However, effective principles from the Leader-Based Strategy (LBS) are being examined in hopes of enhancing U.S. BT.  In addition, some of the thinking behind Commander College inspired LBS and could be infused into U.S. BT to strengthen the training for all leaders.

Are there any opportunities for leaders of local clubs (or teens in Trek & Journey) to go on a mission trip with to help in international clubs?

Yes, we are exploring opportunities on a case-by-case basis.  Some trips are arranged through partner ministries, but we are also open to LBS-related teams or trips.  We do not have anyone designated to organizing these trips, however, so we don’t have the ability to handle a high volume of teams like we used to with MIT.

What is the best way for a club to get involved with Awana International?

The best way is for a club to pray for and to support the start up of as many international clubs as possible through AAC.  We currently have many, many more opportunities to start clubs than we can afford to train and equip with our current resources.  Once these clubs are started, they are self-sustaining financially, so future gifts can go to starting more clubs and reaching more children.  We are also open to churches adopting an entire Leader-Based training class or an entire country.  This kind of relationship could develop into a lot of other cross-cultural partnership opportunities.

This is just a brief look at Awana International. Tomorrow I’ll share questions I asked about the Adopt-a-Club program. If you would like to learn more about Awana International, then I encourage you to visit the following sites:

Awana International Main Site / FaceBook Page / Follow on Twitter / Blog Site / You Tube Channel

Think outside your club and pray for Awana International.

The Author


Add a Comment
  1. Thank you so much for sharing this information.

  2. Thank you Commander Bill for proclaiming on behalf of Awana International how God is working around the world. Today, children are being reached with the hope of Jesus Christ, and lives are being transformed through the power of the Gospel. This is happening in churches, orphanages, slums, refugee camps, to name a few. Children are a high priority to God and we are humbled to be a part of His Kingdom work.

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