Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Let's establish something up front: there is no "s" at the end of Awana!

For those who don't know what "Awana" is, it is a club (actually several clubs) that emphasizes Bible memory in a format filled with neat games, cool uniforms,  plenty of badges, and fun.  The letters in Awana stand for "Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed" (taken from 2 Timothy 2:15).  And even though it is an acronym, it is not written A.W.A.N.A. or AWANA (unless everything else is capitalized too), and it is certainly not "Awanas," (unless you are speaking of something that belongs to Awana, such as "Awana's legacy", in which case it requires an apostrophe to show possession). It is simply "Awana," and I still get that clenched-teeth feeling when I hear the word "Awanas." What does the "s" stand for? "Approved workmen are not ashamed sometimes?" "Approved workmen are not ashamed significantly?"  "Approved workmen are not ashamed, silly!"

No "s" at the end of Awana.

Now that we have that out of the way, I salute Awana and all it has done to reach boys and girls with the gospel of Christ and train them to serve Him.  My Awana experience began with listening to verses in Sparkies and then developed into becoming a leader, a director, and eventually Commander for five years. It was an incredible rush, working with outstanding volunteers, and watching our club increase each year.

But the strength of Awana can be seen in a kid I'll call "Bryan."  Almost from the beginning, Bryan stood out from our group for one reason: he would not say the Pledge of Allegiance!  I'm sure nearly every club has those kids who either don't know what they are supposed to do during the flag ceremony or who need some reminding not to goof off during the ceremony.  But Bryan did not fit into either category.  He wasn't being rebellious or silly.  He stood there, quietly and respectfully, but with his mouth closed and his right hand down at this side.

After observing this for a couple of weeks, I took Bryan aside and asked him why he didn't do the pledge.  He said, "My mom said I couldn't."  A few questions later, I found out that Bryan's mom was a member of a certain religious organization that did  not believe in saluting the flag.  I conferred with our leaders and we decided (right or wrong) that we would allow Bryan to continue to stand there, lest we alienate him and his mother.

A few weeks later, Bryan passed his entrance book.  When I congratulated him, he said, "My mom told me you didn't believe what I did.  But I showed her my book and said, 'Look mom, they use the Bible too.'  She helped me learn my verses!"  I inwardly jumped.  A couple of weeks later, Bryan told me that he liked coming to Awana more than he liked going to his own church.  Although overjoyed that Awana had struck a chord in Bryan, I started to feel a little nervous that this could lead to a terrible wedge between him and his mother.  But that faded when he added, "My mom said she might start coming to church here."

I heard that Bryan and his family moved, so I never got to meet Mom at church.  But I can just visualize this boy, entrance booklet in front of him, feeding words of truth to his mom.  That is one of my favorite memories of Awana and why, even though I'm no longer actively involved in the program, I remain a fan.

Just don't add that "s" at the end.

Awana display booth from the 2011 Children's Pastors' Conference in San Diego

Saturday, January 05, 2013


Since this is the start of 2013, and inspired by some of my blogging buddies, I've decided to do a list of the top 10 posts of KidServant's Log, as determined by Blogger pageviews. And since there are a couple of ties, it actually works out to 12 posts (everybody likes a bargain!).

So if you are ready for a proverbial blast from the past, or you're new here and want to see what you've been missing, then strap on your seatbelts and away we go.....

10. THE SEVEN SIGNS OF THE HOLIDAYS (December 1, 2011)
       Personal insights as to how we know Christmas is near.

 9. TURNING OVER A NEW PAGE (October 10, 2010)
      Announcing my decision to step down from teaching the Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study I had led for seventeen years.  My main reason was to concentrate more on Children's Ministries. If I only knew what was to come...

      DOING IT OVER: ITEM #3 (November 15, 2012)
       The whole "Doing It Over" series was about things I would do differently in Children's Ministries.  This segment on working with the church leadership, apparently struck a chord.

      My review of our church's VBS featuring curriculum and songs from "Go Fish".  Great memories.

      Rob Biagi and the Justin Graves Band: two musical families you should know

      The sequel to people I've known personally who have impacted and shaped my life, this list contains people who (for lack of a better term) are famous and have helped me and my ministry.

 6. CPC '12: PRELUDE 2: "CPC, WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?" (February 23, 2012)
      This gives some reasons why I get so excited about the INCM Children's Pastor's Conference.

      Remember when Aaron and Hur saw weakness in Moses and tossed him off he cliff for the good of the Israelites?  Just wanted to see if you were still reading! (I may have to blog about how my lesson turned out.).

 4. CPC '12: PRELUDE 1: "FIRST TIME ON A STRANGE PLANET" (February 8, 2012)
      A look back at my very first CPC experience.

 3. HOW I SPENT MY WEEKEND (July 28, 2008)
      Recounting the day I tried to clean and organize the office.  I'm surprised this ranked so high.

      The heartbreaking post revealing my forced resignation as Children's Pastor.  It was, and still is, a confusing turn of developments, but my joy and peace remain in Christ.

 1. TEN OF MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY SHOWS (November 29, 2008)
      I did not plan this, but it seems my list begins and ends with Christmas themes! Although I've tried not to analyze too much, I'm wondering if people keep searching for "holiday shows" and wind up on my blog.

Two observations before we go:
1.  Most of my blogs are related to Children's Ministries.  This was a huge element in my life.
2.  With a few exceptions, later posts got more views than earlier posts.  I think it is because I have more network connections than I had when I first started. 

Or there was nothing else happening on the information superhighway.

On to 2013.......