How to Start an Awana Program

Most churches have a children's ministry on Sunday mornings. Providing a place for kids to learn about Jesus, have fun with their friends, and worship God. However, creating a ministry beyond Sunday mornings can be challenging. Each church is unique in size, environment, and culture, and it can be difficult to navigate the best way to provide a weeknight kids club or program. One way to create an excellent outreach for children in your community is by joining the Awana Ministry. This ministry strives to share the gospel with children by "building lasting faith foundations for children and youth." You can find them at https://www.awana.org/.


The amazing thing about this ministry is that they strive to invite children who aren't already attending with their families into the church on Sunday mornings and reach those already in attendance. It is an outreach to the local community. Small churches, like the Sylvan Park Church in Nashville, Tennessee, can have a great impact. To welcome the lower-income families who would otherwise not be able to attend, this church buses kids in from the area and provides a meal for the children. Click here to read the rest of the story. https://www.awana.org/success-story/small-church-big-impact/


If you want to start an Awana Program, here are some excellent ways to get started!


1. Begin with Strong Leadership

Begin by reaching out to your church congregation and forming a group of strong leaders. It's essential for each of these leaders to see the value in sharing the gospel with the next generation, have a heart for serving children, and work together as a team towards a common goal. Share the vision and plan together as you work months ahead to prepare for this program. Recruit and train volunteers to ensure everyone is on the same page in how the program will run.


2. Design the Program

You can design and write your own program if you have the resources and time. If not, awana.org provides curriculum, training, and advice. The three key elements you will want are a large group time of learning and worshipping God, a small group time of sharing and digging deeper into the lesson, and a fun game and activity time for kids to move, play, and create! Most Awana Programs are held one evening a week and last about 1 ½ to 2 hours. These kid clubs provide a safe place, a fun environment, and the opportunity for kids to hear about Jesus.  


 3. Invite and Arrange

Share the program with your church congregation through a Sunday morning slideshow, bulletins, and announcements. Get the word out to the community with posters, social media, and flyers. Reach out to local nonprofit agencies and neighborhoods to get a feel for the best way to arrange for children to be able to attend your program. Some communities are better equipped for transportation than others, and when necessary, work together with your church to provide a way for children to be able to attend who would not otherwise be able to. Speak at local events, libraries, and schools to invite families to bring their kids to your program. Be sure to include some of the fun activities the kids will be doing to help them see how much fun they would have if they attended.


4. Get Down to the Nitty Gritty

When planning the weekly events, it's important to have a Bible lesson, fun, exciting stories and interactive lessons, worship music, small group discussion and prayer time, crafts, games, and activities. Keep things exciting so that kids will want to come back again. Being creative with the games will help with the kid's engagement. 


For some fun game ideas, check out our Free Minute to Win it Games for your children's ministry at https://www.childrens-ministry-deals.com/collections/minute-to-win-it-games. We also have some fun interactive videos like Simon Says and question games here https://www.childrens-ministry-deals.com/collections/childrens-ministry-game-videos


These are great to add to your kid's club night. Get the kids moving with a parachute ball game, relay races, Redlight Greenlight, and more. Work on arts and crafts that tie into your Bible lessons and give kids a way to remember the evening by having a take-home craft. Give kids opportunities to accept Jesus into their hearts. You can do this by providing the invitation during large group time and then time for kids to pray and ask questions in smaller groups. Encourage kids to invite their friends the following week, providing a way for children to share the gospel with their friends. Be sure to design your program to allow kids time to get to know one another and create lasting friendships. You can do this by having kids partner up in games and activities, playing games that intentionally break the ice and help kids get to know one another, and allowing kids time to talk and get to know one another during craft, snack, and small group times.


5. Keep Inviting

Continue to invite your congregation to get involved by serving, helping to run the program, donating items, helping with transportation, providing meals, and any other ways that help keep your Awana Program functioning well. Keep inviting kids in your community. Spread the word by sharing some of the games, activities, and events you have already done and plan to do. Keep asking how you can provide a program accessible to everyone in your local community. Work together with your church to create a safe environment for the kids that has a lasting impact. Once your program is up and running, it is vital to keep inviting for it to be sustainable.  


6. Ask for Support

Ask for prayer partners who regularly pray for the children and volunteers in your Awana Program. Provide ways that your church congregation can support the programs financially. Reach out to other local churches and partner with them, possibly hosting this program together. Seek training and guidance from the Awana website and resources. Reach out to other churches that have established children's ministry weeknight programs for advice and ideas. There are so many ways to get the necessary support to start and continue to run an Awana Program at your church.  




When we go out of our way to provide a kid's program outside our regular Sunday morning children's ministry, we invest in the next generation. We are helping build a foundation in kids' hearts of God's important truth, His word! We are giving people in the community a chance to be invited into the church without knowing if they believe. We are creating an atmosphere of fun in a safe environment. We can offer aid to parents by providing a meal, resources, transportation, and any other needs to help them see that the church is there for them. It's a place for the church congregation to send their kids once a week to have fun with their friends and where non-churchgoers are invited in to see what church is all about. Starting an Awana Program in your church might be what your church needs to reach the lost, the hurting, and those in need in your community. It is also an avenue to join the mission field and support the international ministry worldwide. For more information on getting involved in Awana's International Ministry, go to https://www.awana.org/international-ministries/

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