Many senior and associate pastors love that Awana is part of their church’s children’s ministry. Some do not. This may surprise you, especially if you adore serving in this extremely effective worldwide movement of child and youth discipleship.
While Awana may be endearing to you, there are pastors all over who find the program frustrating. It doesn’t bother them that this legacy ministry is reaching millions of children and youth for Christ. They aren’t concerned that Awana Ministry Directors and leaders are super passionate, dedicated, and impactful disciple makers. What drives them crazy is when Awana keeps showing up on their radar for unwise reasons!
- Is your Awana ministry known for overspending its budget?
- Do you leave big messes for the janitor after each club night?
- Are you building a roster of burned-out volunteers?
- Has Awana turned away or turned off parents this year?
- Do you frequently beg for more __________ (fill-in the blank)?
If the Awana ministry you lead is on your pastor’s radar for any of the reasons above, PLEASE KEEP READING. It won’t be easy, but you can turn a draining reputation like this around. Here are five wiser ways to get your pastor to notice Awana in your church.
1. Be Spotless and Squeaky Clean
You can tell when someone lives by the motto, “Always leave things better than you found them.” This is a great way for your Awana club to serve the church! Make every effort to respect the people and property of your host congregation. It will set an example and give pastors something worthwhile to talk about. And, the next time your children’s or youth ministry wants to host a huge event or reserve a last-minute room, there’s a much higher probability you’ll hear, “Yes!”
2. Stretch Every Dollar
Did you know you don’t have to spend every cent that comes your way? You might think that emptying your entire ministry budget will ensure it doesn’t get cut back next year. Actually, there’s more integrity in stewarding resources in a way that’s aligned with your priorities and honoring to the community of givers. When you choose DIY (do-it-yourself) instead of outsourcing at full price, you demonstrate a willingness to go the extra mile for the sake of the mission. Show sr. pastors and associates that your Awana ministry cares more about making disciples than dishing out dollars—it will pay ministry dividends in the long run.
3. Maximize Any Environment
Children’s and youth ministries are known for wanting dedicated meeting spaces. It makes sense. Turning multi-purpose rooms into fun, welcoming, and engaging environments for kids is hard work. However, before you put in a request for another building project, find ways to leverage whatever real estate you’re given as effectively as possible. If Awana can be run well in a field or under a mango tree in Africa, you don’t need a state-of-the-art gym floor for games! Experiment with creative ways to maximize any environment so disciple making can happen in the lives of kids, leaders, and families. Your church leadership will take notice and start exploring ways to emulate your heart and maybe even find funds for your ministry!
4. Build Up Families
Awana is specifically designed to support home discipleship. Awana isn’t something every family wants to be a part of, but for those who do, it’s important to get them onboard and spreading the word about how the ministry is building them up. The weekly gathering is great for kids and youth to experience games, teaching, and small group interactions all centered on the Gospel and God’s Word. But, the secret ingredient is really the handbook that goes back and forth like a baton between home and church. Talk to moms and dads about what they can expect from you and what you expect from them. Walk them through all that the handbook has to offer. After setting them up for success, collect stories from moms and dads that you can share with church leaders. When they recognize how Awana builds up families, it will change the conversation they’re having when you’re not around.
5. Release Inspired Leaders
Yes, serving alongside kids and youth can be exhausting, but it’s also exciting. Instead of being known for burning out volunteers, your Awana club can become a flywheel for multiplying trained disciple makers—something the whole church needs! Do what you can to remind leaders why you put in all the hours, what’s happening in the minds and hearts of children and families, how the church is being strengthened, and where God is at work around the globe in this and future generations. Return volunteers back to the congregation energized and your pastor will start praising the outcomes of the Awana ministry you lead.
Are You Getting Wiser?
- What reputation does the Awana ministry in your church have these days?
- How have you successfully shifted from unwise to wise reasons for being on your pastor’s radar?
- What ideas do you have for how to implement the five wise ways above?
We’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and ideas in the comments below!