The end of this year marks my two-year completion as an AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) club leader. Before I made a commitment to serve in AWANA, my husband and I had planned to send our two daughters to the program for kids under kindergarten so that we could have a guaranteed date night every Friday while our kids were at church. To our surprise, we found out that these groups were only for the children of AWANA club leaders.
In God’s sovereignty, what we sought out as scheduled date nights to prioritize our marriage in the busyness of raising our kids (who were only 1 and 3 years old at the time) turned into stepping out in faith and saying “yes” to the invitation to serve in AWANA. God’s hand was definitely orchestrating everything for me to serve because on paper, I had every excuse not to serve at the time.
By God’s grace, I can see that He called me to serve; not to further amplify the discomforts of being stretched, but so that I could experience His blessings for me and my family.
The Blessing of Helping My Children Learn God’s Word
AWANA is a Bible equipping program that commits to helping kids from kindergarten to sixth grade know and understand the gospel. Puggles and Cubbies are the programs that serve my toddler-age and preschool-age kids. Each week, my oldest daughter had to memorize Scripture and complete homework with parental assistance. The Cubbies handbook provided a structured format for me to help her learn about God’s promises from the Bible at home, while allowing her Friday teachers to reinforce the truths with additional lessons, activities, songs, and crafts. Because we desire to help our children be grounded in God’s Word, we definitely appreciate the partnership of their teachers who are invested to sow spiritual seeds of truth in their hearts.
One of the ways God has been working in my children is in their earnest belief that everyone worships God on Sundays. It was a surprise to them when we had to explain that our neighbors did not go to church on Sundays. One time we discussed with them why it is important to love God’s Word more than the favorite things in our lives. The girls expressed that they wanted to love God’s Word more than mac ‘n cheese, Souplantation, toys, candy, and even privileges. In turn, they told me that I need to love God’s Word more than my computer (true), and my phone (also very true). It has truly been a blessing to see their worldview being shaped by God’s Word as the highest authority in our lives as well as the source of all Truth.
The Blessing of New Intergenerational Relationships
AWANA has given me access to build intergenerational relationships with both older and younger people. Every Friday night, I appreciated the opportunity to serve children slightly older than my own kids. My hope is to make a spiritual impact on the very kids whom I pray will become future spiritual mentors and counselors for my children.
The AWANA leaders range from single young adults to parents with adult kids, as well as representation from each of the three congregations. I have been very encouraged to see other families and parents serving in AWANA, and to have the opportunity to connect with other women in our church. Through the new relationships formed, I have been personally blessed by the support, care, and wisdom I have received from these women, especially as it relates to the challenges I experience as a younger mom. God’s faithfulness to our church is displayed through the faithfulness from one generation serving Him to the next, and it is such a joy to get serve with members of this church family.
The Blessing to See and Participate in God’s Work
Within the short two years of serving in AWANA, I was able to see three of the girls in my group accept Jesus into their hearts and become a child of God—two of whom I got to personally assist in confirming their faith through the confession of sin and professing Christ as Lord and Savior in their hearts. I am humbled that God allowed me to participate in His work in their lives—to witness His Spirit work in their hearts to convict them of sin and to unveil their eyes to know and believe in the truths of the gospel.
When I probed deeper with the girls to understand the influences leading up to their spiritual birth, I learned that the AWANA book club lessons were the main source that helped them gain insight and knowledge about God, man, and Christ. This led to their personal confession of sin and profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His saving work on the cross. It showed me that we cannot underestimate the Holy Spirit’s power to open the hearts of young children. It also reminded me not to neglect the work of God in this ripe harvest field that can be found right in our own church.
There is always a need for more AWANA club leaders in order to accommodate the growing interest of families who want to sign their kids up for this program. With this testimony, I want to extend the invitation to serve in the AWANA children’s ministry to anyone who is looking for a place to serve God at FCBC Walnut. I have been encouraged and amazed to see firsthand the fruits of God’s work.