Monday, August 30, 2010

Awana Clubs Give Kids Chance To Be Well-balanced Men And Women

When Rob and Abril Walshe’s 3-year-old son Baruch was invited to be part of Awana, they hadn’t heard much about the church sponsoring it. They knew Cypress Church was close by and that it was a Christian church, but that was about it. The woman who invited them, someone Abril met in a local park, encouraged Abril to give it a try. She practically guaranteed Baruch would love it even though he was on the shy side. Weeks went by and with a little more encouragement from her new friend, Abril knew sending Baruch to a place where he could make new friends and learn about God would be a good thing.

Three years later, Baruch is excited about starting his third year of Awana. He embraced the program from the first night, enjoying the time spent with his friends and Small Group Leader. *It was the first place we could leave him by himself and he wouldn’t cry,* Abril says.

More than 12,000 U.S. churches have Awana programs and they can be found in all 50 states. Cypress Church’s Awana will be starting up again on Wednesday, September 15th at 6:45 p.m. and will meet on a weekly basis through June. Children from Cypress, Buena Park and neighboring cities 3 years old through 2nd grade are welcome. As a chapter of Awana Clubs International, its goal is to build children into men and women who are well-balanced spiritually, mentally, physically and socially.

Awana *Cubbies* club for preschoolers is built on the premise that very young children can and should receive spiritual training. Games, puppets, crafts, awards and other activities transform this preschool program into a lively experience where fun and learning go hand in hand. *Sparks* club meeting (for children Kindergarten through 2nd grade) combine learning with fun to create an atmosphere of excitement for kids. The children enjoy Bible teaching, worship, award presentations and games.

For children who are in 3rd through 6th grade, Cypress Church offers a program called *Amazing Journeys* (a separate curriculum from Awana). This year, teaching and equipping children to spend time in God’s Word will be the focus. The Amazing Journeys program consists of four parts: game time, small group time, big group time and Bible reading (homework).

Mike Haugland, Director of Children’s Ministry at Cypress Church, has seen many kids come through the Awana and Amazing Journeys, children from all sorts of backgrounds. He believes whether or not children come from a Christian family, they gain benefits from being part of the programs. *Children will be in a positive environment where they can feel safe to ask questions about life, God and their purpose for being here,* says Mike.

Abril agrees, since there were still questions the Walshe family had about if and where they would worship even before Baruch started in Awana. Though Abril was a Christian, Rob was not. But they believe Awana has helped Baruch learn universal values like respect, kindness, integrity and responsibility. *We saw changes right away,* says Abril, who was surprised when after just a couple of weeks, Baruch had a new sense of gratefulness and asked the rest of his family to pray with him before they ate. *He has learned values that should exist in every religion.* Between wanting to support Baruch’s newly gained knowledge and a desire to learn more themselves, Rob and Abril started attending on Sundays at Cypress Church. They joined a small group Bible Study and this past December, Rob was baptized. *Awana ushered us into a community,* says Abril, whose younger son Jeshua will begin his first full year of Awana in September.

Each group of six children is placed with a Small Group Leader (girls with a female leader, boys with a male leader). Each Christian leader is interviewed and background checked. While leaders are trained in the material and aim to be positive role models in the children’s lives, their primary goal is to work with the parents to help in both discipleship and training of the children. *We do not replace mom and dad,* says Haugland, *but partner with them.*

For more information, please contact Children’s Ministry Director Mike Haugland at (714) 952-3001, ext 217 or email him at: For a downloadable application visit: Cypress Church is located at 6143 Ball Road. Sunday school and Worship are at 8:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Caption: A member of *Sparks* having fun with a Small Group Leader at last year’s Awana Pie Throwing Night.

Cypress Church - 6143 Ball Rd. - Cypress, CA 90630 - Phone: (714) 952-3001 -

No comments:

Post a Comment