This summer I was able to see God use the Awana ministry in one of the most unbelievable places. The picture you see above might look a bit weird. We’ve blurred out the visible faces of the children in this picture for their safety. Some of the amazing kids in the image above are refugee children, trying to live fun, healthy and happy lives in a country that is not their own. I want you to notice two aspects of this picture.
First, these children are having fun! They are in an Awana club and even though they are far from their homes, they are singing, praising God and enjoying themselves. If you could hear the picture, you’d hear songs filled with laughter, being sung from smiling faces. What a precious gift the pastors of this region are giving to kids!
Second the girl in the middle, whose back you see, is leading these boys and girls. She’s a student, in high school, being empowered by church leaders in the area to reach kids with the gospel and to lay a foundation for lifelong discipleship. This girl, who we’ll call Anna, isn’t an anomaly. On the contrary, around the world, often we see the work of the Church being done through the leadership of youth and young adults.
In some countries, ravaged by war, HIV and other epidemics, the responsibilities of leadership are stewarded by students who have a heart for God and a willingness to serve. In other areas, students are stepping into leadership because they have been equipped and empowered by the local church. This is the case with Anna.
While she loves similar things that high school students here in the US love like technology, laughing with her friends, and even shopping; Anna sees herself as a missionary to the millions of refugee children that live in the cities and camps throughout her country. Together with her parents, Anna is equipped through Awana to reach kids with the gospel. Anna’s church utilizes Awana to bring the gospel into the streets and onto the sidewalks. The attention and care Anna and other leaders provide these young lives makes a lasting difference; providing the timeless truth of God’s word and combining it with the timely need of the presence of a caring adult. This approach of being both “Highly Scriptural” and “Highly Relational” is what we at Awana call: The Great Connection, and it is a distinctive of the Awana ministry throughout the world.
Anna and hundreds of thousands of leaders around the world are making this Great Connection week after week. From Kansas City to Kathmandu, equipped Awana leaders are walking children and youth through the truth of God’s Word. These men and women are not just hearing kids recite Scripture, but through their time, attention and faithful service over 4 million kids are growing deeper in their relationship with Christ and becoming dedicated followers. At this very moment, the weekly activity of leaders like Anna is shaping the future of the Church.
What will today’s 4 million Awana kids accomplish in tomorrow’s culture? Will the next leaders of cities and countries be Awana alumni? Is God going to shape culture through these Awana kids because of the life and leadership of men and women like Anna?
Today you can be part of tomorrow’s church! You can partner with Awana through a financial gift and equip more leaders like Anna in cities and communities worldwide. Through the local, sustainable ministry of Awana around the world, you can empower more and more leaders, bringing the gospel to places you may never go in person. For every $10 you give, we can reach a new child with the ministry of Awana for four to six years! That means if you gave $10, you’re accomplishing four to six years of active ministry in the life of a child. Give $50 and reach five kids. Commit to a recurring gift, and you can bring gospel-discipleship every month to more and more kids! Visit awana.org/hope and click the donate button to partner today!