What is AWANA?
Awana is an International Inter-denominational Bible centred children’s ministry which is committed to reaching boys and girls with the gospel of Christ and training them to serve Him.
Awana is an acronym of the first letters for “Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed” derived from 2 Timothy 2:15.
Blantyre Baptist Church runs AWANA Ministry with an aim of reaching boys and girls with the Gospel of Christ to train them to know, love and serve Him. The Church got chartered with Awana Clubs International (ACI) in 1998 and it has been a model to other churches for many years so much so that it (the Awana Programme) was initially misconstrued as a ministry for Baptist Church that only embodied Baptist Convention doctrines. From 2008 other denominations started running the programme after sensitization through their pastors.
Blantyre Baptist Church Awana Calendar
The Awana Clubs International calendar runs from March to February. However, since children attending Awana Clubs are school goers, Blantyre Baptist Church Awana Ministry follows the Malawi national school calendar which runs from September to July.
What are the three Awana Clubs?
Sparks Club for levels (grades) one through three. This level also includes reception class (age 5 years). The Sparks are the youngest of the clubbers in the Awana club. As the spark is the first sign of the light to come when a match is lit, so our ‘sparkies’ are trained and taught to be the spark light to the world.
Flames Club for levels four and five. As the spark of light lit by the match grows into a flame when properly cared for, it is our vision to see our ‘sparkies’ mature into a ‘flame’; burning light for Christ.
Torches Club for levels six and seven or eight in public schools. These are the oldest of the clubbers. By this time, our ‘flame’ has fully grown and is challenged to serve, and finally it is a torch to light up a wide area as in the Bible times (Judges 7:20). Our torches are now ready and equipped to shine fully to the world around them knowing that they are the bearers of the light to the world.
Besides these three clubs, all the clubbers combined are grouped into four colours. The colours are Blue, Green, Red and Yellow. This means that each club is split into four colours which are merged so that each colour comprises Sparks, Flames and Torches.
What happens in an Awana club meeting?
The club meets for two hours on a Saturday and includes
- Leaders’ prayer meeting, preparation and announcements (15 minutes). Therefore leaders need to meet at 8:40 a.m. for this segment.
- Flag Ceremony or opening ceremony at 9 a.m.
The following activities take place under Flag Ceremony:
- (a) Opening prayer
- (b) Recitation of Awana key verse (2 Timothy 2:15)
- (c) Recitation of a Pledge to the Bible
- (d) Recitation of a Pledge to the Awana Flag
- (e) Singing of Awana theme song
- (f) Reminder for theme of the week
- (g) Announcements
- (h) Testimonies
- Council Time
This segment takes 30 to 40 minutes. Its purpose is to present the Bible message to the clubbers. Clubbers and leaders gather together for a Bible lesson. Other activities include singing, telling of a weekly story, introduction of a key verse or memory verse and prayer.
- Handbook Time also known as Team Time
During this time clubbers are divided into small groups. The purpose is to review and recite Bible verses and other achievements from the Awana handbooks. Leaders help clubbers understand what the verses mean not mere recitation. Handbook awards are earned during this time.
What handbooks are used in Awana by clubbers?
- (a) Sparks
An entry handbook called The Sparks Gate
The Skipper handbook
The Hiker handbook
The Climber handbook
- (b) Flames
An entry handbook called The Star
- (c) Torches
An entry handbook called The Beacon
- (a) Sparks
- Game Time
This is a fun time. It attracts new boys and girls to Awana club and brings them back week after week. Games are competed in team colours of Blue, Green, Red and Yellow. Awana games are contained in Awana Game Handbook.
- Snack Time
This is the time that clubbers refresh by having orange squash and a snack.
After this a prayer is said and the clubbers are discharged.
Who sponsors Awana Clubs?
Churches, missions, and/or mission agencies chartered with Awana Clubs International may order materials and receive training in organizing local clubs. Blantyre Baptist Church sponsors its Awana Ministry. While our facilities and equipment are supplied by the church, each clubber is asked to weekly dues to help defray the costs of treats and special supplies.
Other Activities that Blantyre Baptist Awana Ministry Does
- Treasure Day – This is the day that clubbers are recognized in different areas of achievements e.g. punctuality, discipline, most verses recited, most attendance, friendliness, most participation, most active. Prizes are bought and awarded to the clubbers. Braii, snacks and minerals are organised for the clubbers and their leaders to celebrate the day.
- Awana Ministry Outreach
The ministry plans an outreach in its calendar every year. The outreach is in the form of a visitation to the less privileged children for the clubbers (Awana Children) to appreciate the life that their friends (the less privileged) are going through. The clubbers fellowship with these children through singing, recitation of verses, scripture sharing and donation of basic necessities like sugar, salt, clothes, flour, rice and soap.
The church supplements these items. On 11th December, 2010 the Ministry went to GHADAM (Global Healing and Development Alternatives of Malawi), an orphanage at Govala in Zomba district. The clubbers and the Church donated sugar, orange squash, salt, bread, flour, second hand clothes and dolls. On 10th December, 2011 the Ministry went to Makhuwira Club at Diwa Village in Chikhwawa where it made similar donations.
- Awana Game Extravaganza
This is a special event which brings clubbers from our zone to compete in games that the clubbers have been practicing throughout the year.
- Awana Bible Quiz
This event is conducted to refresh all teaching learnt from the Bible by the clubbers and compete with our zone.
- Parents Day
This is a day set apart for parents to appreciate what their children learn in Awana and be supportive and part of the ministry.
Achievements by Blantyre Baptist Church through the Awana Ministry
- Reaching the unchurched for Christ which has shown that the church cares about the entire family.
- Contribution to the growth of the church as witnessed by some families that have joined BBC through their children in Awana.
- Has acted as a fountain of behaviour modification and scripture apprehension for learners in the Church’s School Ministry as witnessed by their active participation in leadership roles and devotions in the school as well as manifestation of good conduct.
- Has acted as a role model of Awana clubs in Malawi for over 11 years.
AWANA LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE
- The Pastor:
- Has the ultimate responsibility for and authority over the entire Awana Club Programme. Ofcourse he does not have to be involved personally in all the weekly meetings.
- The Programme Director:
- S/He oversees two or more clubs in the church.
- S/He is the liaison between church staff and the Awana ministry.
- S/He reports to the pastor, his or her assistant, or the person who has been assigned to that role.
- S/He oversees two or more clubs in the church.
- The Director:
- Oversees his or her club e.g. Sparks Director, Flames Director
- Reports to the Programme Director.
- Leaders :
- These come directly under the guidance of the club Director and work directly with the clubbers.
- The Club Secretary:
- Assists the club Director with record keeping, ordering supplies and other organizational duties.
- Oversees the finances of the church Awana club.
- Collects the day’s dues.
- Issues receipts for sales of Awana uniforms, registration of new clubbers, replacements of lost handbooks.
- These help Awana leaders in doing other assignments e.g. organizing game materials, snacks and drinks.
AWANA DOCTRINAL STATEMENT
We believe that the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is supernaturally inspired, so that it is inerrant in the original manuscripts and preserved by God in its verbal and plenary inspiration, so that it is a divinely authoritative standard for every age and every life. Matthew 5:18; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21)
We believe in one God that eternally exists and reveals Himself in three persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – having each the same nature, attributes, and perfections, worthy of the same worship and confidence. (Matthew 3:16-17, 28:19; John 1:1-2, 14, 10:30, 14:15-17; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14)
We believe in God as absolute and sole Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and that creation was by divine command, from nothing and not through an evolutionary process. (Genesis 1:1; John 1:3, 10; Acts 17:24-25)
We believe that God, by His sovereign choice and out of love for men, sent Christ into the world to save sinners. (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 4:14)
God the Son
We believe that Jesus Christ was fully God in the flesh and fully man, that He was born of a virgin and that He lived a sinless life, in which He taught and performed mighty works and wonders and signs exactly as revealed in the four Gospels. We believe that He was crucified, shed His blood, died to pay the penalty for our sins and was raised bodily from the dead on the third day. Forty days later He ascended to the Father’s right hand where He is Head of the church and intercedes for believers. From there He is coming again personally, bodily, and visibly to this earth to set up His millennial kingdom. (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; Hebrews 1:1-2, 7:25; Luke 1:30-35; Ephesians 4:8; John 1:1-5, 10:14, 14:3; Colossians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Acts 1:3, 11; Revelation 20:4).
God the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is a person and is God, possessing all the divine attributes. He convicts of sin, regenerates, indwells, baptizes, and seals all believers at the moment of their salvation, filling them in response to yieldeness with the goal of comforting them to the image of Christ. (John 3:5, 16:7-11; Acts 5:3-4; Ephesians 1:13, 4:30, 5:18; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 12:13).
We believe that man was created in the image and likeness of God, but that in Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature and became alienated from God. We believe that all men are morally corrupt, and of themselves utterly unable to remedy their lost condition. (Genesis 1:26-27; Romans 1:18, 3:23, 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3, 12)
We believe that salvation is a gift of God and is received by man through personal faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for sin. We believe that man is justified by grace through faith apart from works and that all true believers, once saved, are kept secure in Christ forever. (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 4:5, 6:23, 8:1, 38-39; John 10:27-29; Ephesians 2:8-9).
We believe that the true church is composed of all persons who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit through saving faith in Jesus Christ; that they are united together in the body of Christ of which He is Lord and Head; and are commissioned for the God-given tasks of worshipping, fellowshipping, teaching, evangelizing, and exercising the spiritual gifts. (Acts 2:42, 47; Romans 12:5; Ephesians 1:22-23, 5:23-24; 1Corinthians 12:12-14; 2 Corinthians 11:2).
We believe that the establishment and continuance of the local church is clearly taught in the New Testament Scriptures. (Acts 14:27, 20:17, 28:32; 1Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-11
We believe that the local church is autonomous and free of any external authority or control. (Acts 13:1-4, 20:28; Romans 16:1, 4; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16, 5:4-7, 13; 1 Peter 5:1-4)
We believe the ordinances for the believer are water baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper as a memorial. They are, however, not to be regarded as a means of salvation. But both of which are an evidence of obedience and fellowship with the Lord. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 2:38, 41, 8:12, 35-38; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23:29)
The Christian Life
We believe that a Christian should walk in holiness and not after the flesh, with the goal of being conformed to the image of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. As a new creation, walking in the Spirit, the Christian learns to grow in faith, in obedience to Scripture, in prayer, in fellowship with the saints, and in a life of service. We believe that the Christian will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to have his life evaluated according to his deeds. (Galatians 5:16-26; Hebrews 10:25; Ephesians 4:20-24; Hebrews 11:6, 12:1-2; John 17:17; Ephesians 6:18; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
The Second Coming
We believe in the personal, premillennial and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead, of the believer to the everlasting glory and the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Titus 2:11-13; John 14:1-6; Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:11-15; 2 Peter 3:10)