We often think of prayer as asking God for something. While that is one aspect, there is much more to prayer. Prayer is a form of communication, but it should be two way communication. Prayer is as much about you talking to God as it is about God talking to you. The question then becomes: “How does God speak to me”?
When God spoke to Moses, he did so through a burning bush. When God spoke to Elijah he spoke in a still small voice. Saul saw a blinding light and heard an audible voice when God spoke to him. Sometimes angels brought God’s word, other times God used prophets as his method to speak to his people.
How does God speak to me?
My God is big enough to speak to me in any of those ways, but he has has not used any of those methods. My God is big enough to speak to me in a way that is unique to me. Just as I am uniquely made, he chooses to speak to me in a way that is special to me.
That’s right—there is now a new Awana Website! You will still find the same great info, but this time around it will be much easier to find what you need. Be sure to check out the welcome video to learn more about the site redesign
Not long ago I was invited to Awana HQ for a behind the scenes look into the organization. I have always been a huge Awana supporter, since my daughter is involved in a local Awana Club. She love it! As a family, we have benefited greatly from the program. My Awana outlook has always been very positive, but I was very surprised and excited about what I learned over a few days watching and listening behind the scenes. Awana is undergoing a change. If you were not aware, Awana did in fact have a problem, but the good thing is they are working to fix that problem. What problem you ask? One word–communication.
I am personally learning that communication is the key to healthy relationships. Without communication, it is hard to learn, grow, and trust. One of the ways Awana is improving communication is through their newly re-designed website!
Easily found on the new Awana Website
Some things I have recently learned, and things that are easily found on the website are:
- Awana has a blog!
- Awana programs reach 2.3 million kids in over 100 countries EVERY WEEK!
- Awana provides lots of training material for parents and kids ministry leaders
If you are a parent, Awana leader, or just want to know more about the changes going on at Awana, check out their new website, and subscribe to their blog.
Have you seen the new Awana website? What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know!
Jon Acuff was a guest speaker at the Orange Conference in Atlanta. I have read many of his posts on stuffchristianslike.net, but I have never heard him speak before. In addition to being very funny, he was also very relevant. In this session, titled Reset, he walked through several stages/phases of what he called a Reset. A Reset is a moment of starting over, sometimes forced, sometimes by choice. No matter what the cause, he talked through some practical actions to take, no matter what stage we are in.
Keep in mind, these are just my notes. This is my interpretation of what was said, and what I felt was important to walk away with.
1. You won’t feel qualified
If you aren’t familiar with kids ministry pioneer brother Jim Wideman, you should be sure to check him out. What follows are my notes from one of Jim’s sessions from the Orange conference all about questions we need to ask ourselves as leaders for self or ministry evaluation.
We have to evaluate ourselves
Why are questions so Important:
- Questions make you think
A Stronghold is believing wrong information
- Questions make you evaluate
- Do when you are small what you will be forced to do when you are big
- There is a difference between doubt and questions
- Questions lead to change
It is awesome to be a guest at Awana HQ to get an inside scoop on the changes that are coming to Awana as they begin to make some changes that will help some problems within the organization, and will actually benefit all in kids ministry.
Peter Greer, founder of Hope International, is one of the key speakers here at the Awana14Launch, addressing the idea of Mission Drift.
A drift occurs when small changes are made over a long period of time. By the time some of these changes are realized, the drift has already occurred, and you are way off course. Mission Drift occurs when you make choices and decisions that lead away from the core values. These changes often seem small and insignificant, but over time these decisions have huge ramifications. The further off course you get, the harder it becomes to get back on course.
In ministry, we all know this too well. To avoid Mission Drift, it is important to identify your core value. Your core mission. The one thing that you will not veer from. That is the reason you exist. Nothing else matters. Everything you do needs to point back to that core mission. The message is sacred, but the method is not.
The Problem with Awana
I have the honor and privilege of being live at Awana Headquarters as they begin the process of addressing some big changes that are coming. I’m not sure what your Awana experience has been but I will tell you a little about mine.
As a children’s ministry leader I am aware of many different resources that are available, I have used and adapted material, reviewed samples of other materials. In my world, Awana existed as a midweek program focused on scripture memorization. While I have never run an Awana program myself, my daughter attends. And she loves it. Awana is hugely successful at their discipleship and focus on bible memorization, and I have seen that first hand. As I have sat and listened to many different Awana employees and leaders, the one thing I have heard over and over is how the organization exists to disciple children. And they do that well.
If you are familiar with Awana, this is exciting news. Even if you are not familiar with Awana, if you have anything to do with ministry to children, this is still very beneficial news. I have the honor to be behind the scenes at Awana Headquarters for a few days as they prepare to launch some big changes and some new goals within the global Awana community.
If a church has an Awana program, it generally will fall into one of three categories:
- Awana is a parachurch organization (Awana is a stand alone program that exists within the church—basically the program uses church space to run the program)
- Awana runs as a part of the larger children’s ministry
- Awana exists as the only form of children’s ministry.
Well, it won’t be long and we will know. Awana is holding an Awana Launch meeting April 30, in which they will fill us in on all things new at Awana. For me, one of the most exciting parts of the #Awana14Launch is that I get to be there to witness firsthand.
Hopefully at this point you aren’t asking yourself what is Awana? If you are, here are a few thoughts right from the Awana website:
AHA by Kyle Idleman
I was recently asked if I would be interested in an advance copy of Kyle Idleman’s new book AHA. Of course I said yes. If you aren’t familiar with Idleman, he is the teaching pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY, and the bestselling author of Not a Fan.
It this book, AHA, Idleman explores the aha moments in our lives when the light bulb goes off and we gain some new understanding of a given set of circumstances. In fact, he defines aha as “a sudden recognition that leads to an honest moment that brings lasting change.”
The book is laid out in three sections–each section a vital role in experiencing an AHA moment.
How do you teach the Easter Story to your kids? You can never have enough ideas for an Easter Outreach. I know there are many thoughts and opinions surrounding the classic Resurrection Egg idea, but when we did them with our kids, we put a little different spin on it and the results were amazing.
If you are familiar with the Resurrection Egg idea, you know that purchasing your own set at the local store can be costly. The last retail price I saw was $12.99 per set. That price led us to the decision to make our own sets.
Resurrection Eggs- the main idea
The big picture of a set of Resurrection Eggs is a set of Easter Eggs that contain different symbols from events leading up to and including Jesus’ death and resurrection. There are many different symbols that you could choose to represent in the story, this is the list that I chose to use. I chose the items because I think they give a decent picture of events, as well as items that would be familiar and easily understood by kids. They are also items that can be easily and cheaply acquired.