What does it look like to take Awana outside the four walls of a church? How many more kids can hear about a hope found in Jesus Christ? Read two wonderful testimonies, international and local, where these churches used Awana as an outreach opportunity for their respective communities.
Ruiru Bible Baptist Church, Kenya
What started as an outreach to a nearby refugee camp, turned into a movement across Kenya of children reaching children for Christ. In March 2012, Ruiru Bible Baptist Church, just outside Nairobi, Kenya, decided to take food and clothing to the children in a nearby refugee camp and to play games with them. The next week nearly half of the children in the camp attended Awana at Ruiru Bible Baptist.
The leaders realized that there were many children out on the streets who knew nothing about Jesus. They needed to get their Awana program outside the walls of their church to the kids in their community. They started a program they called “Awana Mtaani,” meaning “Awana on the streets” in Swahili.
Here’s how it works, clubbers and leaders go out in large numbers to the streets, market places, villages and even refugee camps, chanting Awana slogans and songs. They carry banners, puppets and the Awana flag too. Out of curiosity, kids follow them to a specified location where they play Awana games and then share the gospel with them. Even adults, who are just passing by, stop to observe, and the leaders are able to share the gospel with them too.
Ruiru Bible Baptist organized several outreaches in different locations, and the outcome was incredible! Through Awana Mtaani, other churches were trained to start Awana. Then Awana Kenya adopted the program and trained more churches to use it as an outreach tool. Through Awana Mtaani, Awana Kenya has been able to reach more than 15,000 kids with the gospel of Christ. To God be the glory!
Salem Baptist Church, Georgia
Here in the United States, two leaders from Salem Baptist Church in Georgia were inspired by the stories coming from Kenya and decided to do more to reach out to their surrounding community. After a year of planning and lots of pastoral support, they launched “Awana in the Streets” at a trailer park down the road from their church. Their desire was to really get to know these families and build a caring, nurturing relationship with them. Their prayer was that this foundation, built on relationship, would lead to opportunities to share the love and hope of Jesus.
Each week, Salem Baptist families went door to door inviting children for pizza followed by a time of games and a Bible lesson. With parental permission, kids started coming! What the leaders discovered is that their own children were greatly impacted by this outreach too. After a few weeks of knocking on doors, the children, who could not wait for the night of Awana in the Streets, were the ones running up to the doors and doing the inviting. The children got excited about sharing their faith and inviting their new friends to church. The program worked so well, that Salem Baptist Church reached out to a new area the next summer.
God is preparing a great harvest around the world and sending out children into His harvest. How could God use the leaders and children in your club to reach more children for Christ? Jesus called them to Him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:16, ESV)