Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

The Misperception of Awana…

Several years ago I had an eye opening moment. During an evaluation at my job, I realized that it did not matter what I did, what mattered was my boss’ perception of what he thought I did. Consequently, I had to make an extra effort for them to have a different perception. See, reality did not matter. The only thing that mattered was perception.

Awana faces the same thing.

When you think of Awana… what do most people think of?

Awana = Children’s Ministry

The perception of many is that Awana is only a children’s ministry, when the reality is that there is a children’s and a youth component to Awana. The youth, or teen ministry, of Awana is called 24-7 Ministries.

While Awana has made attempts to emphasize their teen ministries (24-7 Ministries), and some strides have been made, many churches still do not know about it, or opt not to use it. There are several reasons why churches opt not to use 24-7 Ministries and I may address that in another post, but not now.

I want to emphasize some of the benefits of 24-7 Ministries.

– Continued discipleship and learning (memorizing) God’s Word

– Increased training to serve God

– Regional competitions (Bible Quiz & Games)

Yes, several colleges offer scholarships for those who complete the “handbooks” and earn those awards. Beginning with scholarships for those earning the Timothy Award. YES!!!! I said Timothy! So some T&T’ers can earn small scholarships! Click here to see colleges offering scholarships.

– At the high school level (9th -12th grades) there is a national event called Summit. Journey students gather together for fellowship, to compete in Bible Quizzing, AwanaGames, Fine Arts and volleyball. During this time, those seniors who have completed all requirements from 3rd – 12th grade (T&T, Trek & Journey) receive their Citation Award. The highest Award offered by Awana. (NOTE: While I have heard many great things about Summit, I have not yet been able to attend one due to limited vacation time and cost. I do hope to attend, and assist at, one soon).

Awana is more than just a children’s ministry. There are more aspects to Awana then just Awana Clubs and 24-7 Ministries as well, but that is not our focus for this post.

So Awana is perceived to be a children’s ministry even thought that is not the reality.

Awana needs to break that perception and sadly, in my personal view, they have unintentionally fostered that perception. I think of the fall conferences. What are they called? They are Children’s ministry conferences, yet at conferences I attend, people seek workshops for Trek and Journey (the 24-7 Ministries). Even at the simulcast, the emphasis was on children’s ministry, though other aspects were shared. Look at my article about “My Thoughts About the Simulcast“. I reference the emcee of the day and Sean O’Sullivan commented that, “It kept us connected with the Kid oriented nature of our organization”. Even those serving in the local church see Awana solely as a children’s ministry and not the bigger picture of Awana and all it has to offer.

So maybe we need a fall conference focused on Awana Clubs, the children’s ministry arm of Awana, and then a 24-7 ministry conference for the teen ministry. If not two separate ones, then a more concerted effort to incorporate the teen ministries into the conference.

No matter what, Awana needs to work harder on the perception of the ministry in order to reach more youth, just as I had to create a different perception at my job.

So, did you think that Awana was just for children? Did you know there was a teen ministry?

What can Awana do to change the perception that it is only a children’s ministry?

Finally, if you have experience with the 24-7 ministries, please share your experience here.

To learn more about the 24-7 Ministry of Awana, click here…

The Author

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