Who better to know the best ways to prepare for a new year of ministry than Awana missionaries. They see churches who do it well and churches who don’t do it so well.
We asked Tim and Sherry Thomas, Awana Missionaries in southern Wisconsin, to list ways churches can prepare for a new year.
At Awana we love our acronyms; even the letters in the word Awana have meaning. Then there’s AYM, T&T, AMC, and HTM, just to name a few. So when asked to contribute to this blog we just could not resist using one ourselves. Using the word “preparation,” here are 11 ways to help you prepare for a new club year.
P – Pastor
Awana is designed to be an integral part of your church’s ministry, so meet with your pastor regularly. Share blessings and challenges; discuss ideas you may have for the fall; set goals; and see if your club can incorporate any themes or events the church has planned for the year.
R – Rest
Take some time each summer to set aside Awana-related business. Join that small group you never had time for, catch up on your reading, take a vacation. You will be a much better leader in the fall if your start refreshed. Remember – even Jesus took time away from others to relax and pray.
E – Engage Your Missionary
Your Awana missionaries would also like to hear about your blessings, challenges, and goals so why not give them a call. We really do care about you and enjoy hearing from you. We may have ideas, or know of resources that would help you meet the goals you and your pastor have made.
P – Pray
The Bible says that we should be praying always and in all things (Luke 1:8, 1 Thessalonians.5:17) and prayer should be regular in the life of every believer. It is included in this list as a reminder not to get so wrapped up in the doing of ministry that we forget to pray.
A – Arrange the Calendar
Check the master calendar from your church office and note any special dates. Check the local school district(s) calendar. Create some special theme nights and add any important events so clubbers have enough time to complete books. Plan at least 32 club nights.
R – Recruit Leaders
As fall approaches we may need to replace some leaders. The first step in recruiting new leaders to pray (see Matthew 9:37-38). Read Rock Solid Volunteers, by Larry Fowler and check out the the Awana website for ideas on recruiting leaders.
A – Attend Training
Each year Awana missionary plans several training opportunities for you and your leaders to keep you current, equipped, and encouraged. They go by different names (PCD’s, On Targets, Commander Coffees, etc.) but almost every missionary plans local training meetings. Commander College is available around the country and don’t miss the annual Awana Ministry Conference.
T – Thank Your Leaders
Don’t let the busyness of summer come without first taking time to say, “Thank-you” to each one of the leaders who served alongside you. Plan an appreciation dinner or barbeque, and publicly thank each leader with a card or gift.
I – Invite your missionary
As we previously stated, missionaries really do care about you and want you and your clubs to thrive. But we may not enjoy dropping in unannounced or uninvited. Please consider inviting your missionary to attend one of your club nights, leader trainings, worship services, mission’s conferences, or special event.
O – Order Supplies
Take an inventory and make sure you have the supplies you need for the fall. When ordering from Awana, please order responsibly. We know shipping costs are rising, but do you really need a four-year supply of T&T handbooks? Remember that August and September are the busiest time at Awana as over 12,000 other U.S. churches are also ordering their supplies.
N – Never Give Up!
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:6 (ESV).
Before becoming Awana missionaries eight years ago, Sherry and I served as leaders, directors, commanders, and ministry team members, (just like many of you), for more than 25 years. Some of the children that were our clubbers are now pastors, teachers, and parents that are raising their children to know, love, and serve the Lord. Hearing from them makes all those years worthwhile and makes us shout for joy.