Five Reasons Why Awana Training
is Worth Your Time
How training enables vision, ignites passion, inspires family ministry, grows your club and helps you to lead children and youth to Christ
Most Awana leaders have multiple roles. In addition to your service in club or Awana Youth Ministries, you may be an employee, student, parent – or all three!
You’ve got a busy schedule. That’s why we’ve created convenient training opportunities that make the most of your time.
If you take advantage of these resources, you’ll come away with principles that, when put into practice, produce tangible results in your club.
Here are the five benefits that our leaders say they receive from Awana training:
Training enables vision
Rich Campbell has served as commander at Florida Bible Church in Miramar, Florida, for 14 years. He’s been to six Discover Awana conferences, two Commander Colleges, Basic Training and at least two Awana Ministry Conferences each year.
He credits his Awana training with giving him a vision for his ministry role in a much larger picture, as well as valuable methods for motivating and training his leaders.
“Commander College has helped me learn to be a piece of the puzzle with all the ministries at Florida Bible Church – to work better with everyone as a team, ” Rich said. “It has helped in getting the message to the staff and parents that the parents are the ones responsible for training up their children.”
He also uses the videos from Commander College to motivate both leaders and parents.
“I showed the video by Larry Fowler that told the parents that they are the ones who are responsible for the spiritual training for their children, not the Awana Leaders,” Rich recalled. “There was nothing but silence at the end of the video. But I also showed it to the Awana staff before that night because they too are parents. It had the same results. I could go on and on about all the times the videos have been a great tool.”
Awana training has given Rich a wealth of information and tools to recruit workers and train his staff and other ministry leaders. The DVDs that come with the role books have been especially helpful. Rich feels the Sparks leader video “Sparks Vision” is the best he’s ever seen for motivating leaders.
Another tool Rich uses are all the books written by Larry Fowler. Larry Fowler has written Rock-Solid Kids, Rock-Solid Volunteers and Raising a Modern-Day Joseph. He ensures that his directors get all of them, plus he’s even given copies to the pastors at his church.
And other churches have noticed. It’s now typical for new clubs to visit Florida Bible Church’s Awana program to observe and obtain direction.
Training ignites passion
As commander at New Hope Baptist Church in Parrish, Florida, for 28 years, Denver Moore has had no shortage of training experiences. In addition to Commander College 101, Discover Awana and other Awana offerings, he’s been to over 25 ministry conferences. Though he’s now a firm believer in the benefits of churches using Awana, that wasn’t always the case.
“When our pastor first introduced Awana 31 years ago, I told him it would not work in our church because it would take more people than we had interested in working with boys and girls,” Denver said. “How wrong I was!”
God provided the leaders, and through personal desire and training, gave them the passion for children. Denver believes passion is the first characteristic of a successful club.
“For me, that passion has been built from hearing messages and training from (Awana Co-Founder) Art Rorheim and Larry Fowler (Awana executive director of global training),” Denver said. “Passion for children just flows from them. When leaders have the passion and are given the tools to use with clubbers, good things happen and God is honored.”
One of the most helpful principles he’s gleaned from Awana training is the difference between a mechanical and a spiritual leader. By going over the material with his leaders, he’s seen some wonderful transformations.
“Clubbers need to know they are loved,” Denver said. “We encourage our leaders to build proper relationships with the clubbers by having them work with the same kids each week as much as possible, by having a prayer time with their handbook group and then following up on those prayer requests.”
As a result of their training, Denver and his leaders have gained a different perspective about the purpose of their church’s Awana ministry.
“We have begun to see children as people and not just a way of reaching families,” Denver said. “Many of our boys and girls are given the opportunity to serve the Lord (as helpers in Awana and weekend children’s ministry classes) and use the talents, gifts and abilities God has given them. The conferences helped us see the need to give back the spiritual training of children to their parents.”
By using Awana at Home and Focus on the Family materials, they've now developed a parents’ room where they can build relationships with parents and introduce spiritual training principles.
Training inspires family ministry
Juanita Stevens from First Baptist Church in Forest City, Iowa, could be a poster child for the value of training. Though a commander for just five years, she’s already attended all three levels of Commander College plus a ministry conference every year. She now presents at the conferences and teaches Awana Orientation to other churches.
Juanita feels the courses have helped her encourage her leaders and respond directly to their needs. She meets with her directors every other month to see how things are going and to cast a vision for the future. She also holds leadership retreats, which help build unity as they work together to develop the club schedule.
“The leaders feel more confident in their positions and understand what they are required to do,” Juanita said. “The club runs so smoothly. I can be gone and not worry. The directors have been able to take more charge of things.”
One of the most valuable lessons Juanita has learned is to incorporate a family ministry model within their club. Six times each year, parents are mentored by those who are now grandparents. They also have family worship time each week at the start of Awana and three family special events per year.
They must be doing something right. Club attendance has multiplied, and the number of parents in their mentoring ministry has doubled. More families are coming each week to enjoy worship.
“Feedback from parents and leaders has been amazing,” Juanita said. Clubbers and leaders alike have been challenged to memorize Scripture and are able to pull out verses when needed for a particular situation.
Training grows your club
Glen and Becky Hylton of Campus Baptist Church in Ames, Iowa, have 40 years of combined Awana experience. But their journey as Awana commanders began just four years ago when their pastor said he was going to “pull the plug on Awana if we can’t turn it around in two years.”
“With a heart full of hope and a passion for God and the ministry, we set out,” Becky said. “It was not long afterward that we heard about Commander College 101. We weren’t really sure what we were getting into, but we knew we had to get help from somewhere. After praying about it, God, through a senior member of the church, provided the finances to go.”
They have since attended all three levels of Commander College. What they learned was eye opening.
“Awana has been a part of Campus Baptist Church for more than 30 years and had really fallen into the status of ‘just something we did,’ not something we use to reach out,” Becky continued. “The thing that had perhaps the most impact on us at the Commander Colleges was learning how to prioritize the ministry: first the gospel, second the church and third Awana.”
But Commander College did more than just give the Hyltons the big picture. It provided them with practical ministry tools to reach their clubbers for Christ.
“At Commander College 101, we watched the Large Group Time lesson that demonstrated how Jesus is the only way to God from John 14,” Becky said. “We returned to church, excited to use it with the kids. We first shared it in Sparks where a child accepted Christ. We then used it in T&T Large Group Time and identical twin sixth-grade boys came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior!”
With a renewed focus on the gospel and some practical tips, Glen and Becky discovered how to use Awana as a vehicle to take the good news of Christ into the community to minister to non-churched families.
The results have been amazing:
- Last year, kids brought 103 visitors to club, 61 in the first five weeks. This year, they’ve had 95 visitors, 48 of which have joined the club. Many of those kids have brought visitors who have joined the club as well. They now have 150 active clubbers registered. Four years ago, they had 88.
- The club has implemented or participated in several outreaches to the community, including High Power® Soccer and The Great ShakeUP. They also offer Bible studies to parents while their kids are in club.
- Many clubbers and some of their family members have accepted Christ as their Savior. Some have been baptized and have joined the church.
“The Awana training we received definitely played a role in reaching kids with the gospel, facilitating club growth, improving outreach into the community, opening doors of ministry to unchurched families, developing leaders and seeing people come to know Jesus as their Savior,” Becky said. “What once was a ministry on the rocks has now embraced the rock-solid truth of the gospel and trusted God to provide the fruit for which we rejoice. We are very blessed to have been a part of His amazing plan and praise Him for the results!”
Training helps you to lead children and youth to Christ
While Linda, a leader in Nevada, was teaching a Bible lesson for T&T Large Group Time, she assumed that most of the kids had heard the plan of salvation and were already saved. To help crystallize it in their minds, she presented a lesson on how to lead a friend to Christ. She used the Gospel Wheel presentation she’d learned at the first Commander College 101 at Awana headquarters.
“At the end of the lesson, my most unruly clubber came to me and said she had never understood what people were talking about when they said you had to trust Jesus as your Savior,” Linda shared. “After listening to the Gospel Wheel lesson, she finally understood and wanted to do that in her life. And she wanted to do it before she went home – only she didn't know where to start.”
That girl became a child of God that night.
“Thanks, Awana, for training me for this moment,” Linda said.
TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU
Basic Training teaches leaders to share the gospel and to be the best volunteer.
Awana Ministry Conferences give leaders new ideas that develop their skills each year.
Commander College equips commanders to be successful in their five key responsibilities.
Leader Award System and Training Tracker record and reward leaders’ training experience.
Club Clinic provides short online training videos to address common club challenges.