During this season of thankfulness, those of us who serve at Awana in a full or part time capacity want to say “thank you.”
You are the ones making a difference in the lives of children and youth, both here in the US and around the world. You caught the vision of discipleship and have seen the difference it makes in the live of girls and boys. The real work that the Lord is doing in Awana around the world, He is doing in and through YOU!
It is you, pastor, who is opening up your church to the community on a weekly basis to allow the Awana ministry to take place.
It is you, ministry director, who is inviting others into this mission of eternal significance.
It is you, listener, who is faithfully spending time, eye to eye, with kids as they unpack verses they’ve engaged with each week.
It is you, game leader, who allows children the ability to laugh, have fun and belong.
It is you, volunteer, who is walking with these boys and girls through the truth of God’s Word.
It is you, parent, who is planting and watering the seeds of faith in church basements and classrooms, in gyms and on playgrounds, around kitchen tables and in the rows of minivans.
It is you, the disciple maker, who is carrying out the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
You are building the Church, continuing the work of every disciple who has gone before since the time Jesus ascended into Heaven.
This just isn’t talk either, we’ve seen you in action!
Jeff Gilpin, Awana Missionary to Nevada and the surrounding region, wrote us about the Awana Ministry Conference (AMC) that was held just days after the deadly shooting there. In his crowd were several that had been affected by the events, including some Awana leaders who are first responders and had been called to the scene. Jeff wrote us the following: “the AMC in some ways was healing and gave everyone a sense of resolve and mission to reach the lost as it was driven home that we truly don’t know how much time any of us have…today is a gift.” This is you, reaching kids in the face of tragedy with the hope that the Truth found in God’s Word provides and just one example of the difference you’re making!
Making a difference in the lives of kids happens in both big and small moments. In fact it is our faithfulness expressed in the seemingly small moments that make a lasting impact. Time after time letters come across my desk from the growing population of Awana alumni. These letters bless me daily, but do you know what most of those letters say?
Sure, they talk about the fun they experienced playing games. They all certainly talk about the foundation of faith that engaging in the Word of God laid in their lives. Each of these letters, without fail, talk about a leader that made a difference in the lives of each writer. There is always reference to a Mr. Tim or a Sister Sue or another leader, by name, who made a difference. Awana leaders, you are making a difference and these letters are proof.
Do you know how this difference has been made? While some certainly did happen in the midst of tragedy, all happened through caring, adult leaders being present in the lives of girls and boys. This is what we have termed “the Great Connection.” It is the intersection of the timeless truth of the Word of God and the faithful presence of a caring adult. It is seen in the act of a leader, kneeling down and seeing a child eye to eye, listening and engaging. These seemingly simple actions are discipleship in action.
I should tell you that the impact I see from Awana isn’t only in the form of letters, but in the lives of those in my own family. As I look at my own grandchildren, I see the presence of Awana leaders in their lives. I hear the echoes of encouragement they receive weekly. I see a growing love for Scripture from the seeds that have been planted and cared for by their time in large and small group. Awana leaders, you are making a difference, and my grandchildren are proof.
I can’t stress to you enough how essential and critical what you do week in and week out is; and not only to these children and youth, but for the Church. You are sowing into tomorrow’s leaders today! The girls and boys you see weekly are the influencers of tomorrow’s culture, leaders of the next generation of the Church and the future of our faith.
Awana leaders, pastors, parents, whomever you are and however you might serve, thank you so very much for walking in obedience as a disciple making disciples! Thank you for investing in the lives of children and youth. We are so incredibly grateful for you.
Gratefully serving alongside each of you until every child has Hope!