Awana reaches out to more than just youths

As the commander of Awana at Calvary Baptist Church, Rod Compton gets to see how the program for children benefits everyone.

"Awana is designed to train and teach the kids while allowing them to have fun," he said. "Sometimes, that becomes an outreach for their families as well."

According to a press release, Awana, which is an acronym from Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed (2 Timothy 2:15), is a nondenominational ministry designed to reach children and teenagers with the gospel of Jesus Christ and training them to serve him.

"The program gives children great opportunities to build a spiritual foundation," Compton said. "We hope to reach kids who might not normally come to Sunday school class."

Awana is divided into three segments: game time, handbook time and council time. During game time, boys and girls play games on the unique Awana Game Square. In handbook time, children work through age appropriate handbooks memorizing Bible verses ad doing activities including patriotism and community service. They earn awards based on their work. The final segment, council time, consists of singing, puppets Bible stories and lessons based on Christian principles.

Compton gets to give some of those lessons.

"Even if some of our lessons and verses might not come together for a child at this point in their life we hope that they are hiding God's word in their heart," he said. "Sometimes, we have parents who come to help and while helping they hear something or learn something about their own life."

Awana began in 1950 as a youth program at the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago. Lance Latham, the church pastor, worked with Art Rorheim to develop a program that would appeal to young people, reach them with the gospel of Christ and train them in the Lord's work.

Other churches heard about the success of the Awana program and asked whether they could use it. By 1960, Awana had registered 900 clubs.

Calvary Baptist, 1050 Yampa Avenue in Craig will host Awana clubs for children ages 3 years through sixth grade on at 5 p.m. Sundays, starting Sunday.

For more information please call Compton at 824-5222.

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