Tonight, we had our annual closing ceremonies for the AWANA program our family is a part of.
If you're a Christian family and you're not familiar with AWANA, make yourself familiar with it. In short, it is a youth program that is incredible and it changes lives. To put it in perspective, in the most recent study AWANA published, they found that:
- Many church denominations are seeing anywhere from 69 to 94 percent of teens leave the church after high school.
- As few as one in 10 possesses a biblical view of God and the world.
- The majority of children from Christian homes leave the church by age 19.
If you're a Christian parent, these statistics should scare you. A LOT. By contrast, only 1.8 percent of Awana alumni dropped out of church as adults. Wow. Just wow.
So, if your children's spiritual walk is important to you and you have an opportunity to get your children involved in an AWANA program, do it. Just do it. I promise you, you won't regret it!
I have volunteered with the AWANA program at our old church for what feels like forever. Ok, so not forever - but believe me, when you're giving up Friday nights on end to work with a ton of super rambunctious kids hopped up on sugar and fun games, it does feel like forever! I've been a leader for at least 7 or 8 years, since before I was even pregnant with Sierra. Up until this year, I was a leader in T&T (Truth in Training). I worked with the 3rd-6th grade girls. I loved it! And up until last year, Sierra just tagged along with me to T&T. She LOVED being around the "big girls." This year, I transitioned to helping out with the Sparkies (k-2nd), so that I could be with Sierra. And now Bodie, who is too young for the formal program yet, is my newest sidekick. (On a side note, Sierra was way easier as a sidekick than Bodie - I spend much more time chasing Bodie around and trying to get him to behave than I ever had to with Sierra!)
Last year Sierra was finally old enough to formally join AWANA, and she was in Cubbies (pre-k)! Such adorable little kiddos in their blue vests, learning about Jesus and playing games. And this year was her first year as a Sparkie, which is where stuff gets real and they start memorizing verses in earnest!
36 in fact. That's how many verses Sierra memorized this year to complete her first book. Oh, and all the books of the New Testament. And, since she was still a pre-reader until very very recently, that means I memorized those verses right alongside her. How awesome is that?!?
My proud little girlie.
This is just a sample of some of the awesomeness that she learned this year:
(and yes, I'm pretty sure he's saying "with curry and justice for all." What can I say? The kid's got priorities.)
So, if you're a Christian family and not sending your kids to AWANA, why not? It is SO much more than just a youth group. Many weeks, AWANA is the highlight of Sierra and Bodie's week. They get so excited to go memorize Bible verses, play crazy games, have awesome snacks, hear a great message and, of course, leave with candy! What better use of their time than to equip them to be servants of Christ and really get His message and the importance of memorizing scripture? I LOVE that my kids are learning at a fun age that worshiping God and learning His Word is FUN.
If you need help finding a club in your area, let me know and I can help you out. And, if you live in LA and want to know more about our club, let me know as well! We're now off for the summer (as a leader, I am SO excited to rest and rejuvenate - and get my Friday nights back to myself for a bit!), but will be back in full swing in September!