A local AWANA youth organization brought home several awards from state competitions held recently in South Charleston.
AWANA is an acronym Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed which is a verse in the Bible from II Timothy 2:15 — “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
“Training children in the Word of God is the most important task of a church,” said Rev. John E. Godby, pastor of the First Baptist Church of McConnell. “The First Baptist Church of McConnell has had an AWANA Club for over a decade.”
On Saturday, February 16, at the state competition for Bible quiz, held at the Bible Center Church, the Bible quiz team from First Baptist Church of McConnell won several awards including grand champion.
The fourth place winners were Matthew Manns and Jenny Adkins, the third place winners were Montana Farmer and Victoria Spradlin, and the first place and grand champion was Ryan Blankenship.
“We are spiritually proud of Ryan. He loves the Lord and is an excellent example of a dedicated youth to the service of the Lord. I believe he will become a spiritual leader someday as he continues to grow in the Lord,” said Godby.
“It of the most importance that children learn about God in their early years because their hearts are tender toward the things of God,” Godby said. “Ecclesiastes 12:1, says, ‘Remember now the Creator, in the days of thy youth…’”
Godby and the congregation promotes a strong youth program that emphasizes the Word of God; training youth to hid the Bible in their hearts. Children between the ages of three years old through sixth grade attended the Monday evening AWANA meetings.
“The concept of graded Sunday Schools is dying in our society. Sunday School is the doctrinal (teaching) arm of the church,” Godby said. “Many churches today do not have a Sunday School program; thus children are being deprived of learning the simple Bible stories and truths that once flourished in our communities.”
AWANA teaches Bible stories, Bible verse memorization and biblical fundamentals. Reaching the hearts of children while they are pliable is the goal of AWANA.
“Sin hardens and blocks the gospel as people grow older. Statistics tell us that most people get saved before the age of 18,” said Godby. “AWANA helps accomplished that fact. The AWANA Club is successful because there is a dedicated staff headed by Judy Turner, the AWANA Commander. It takes a great number of adults to supervise and to manage this age group.”
The AWANA concept gives a child an hour and a half of instruction into three 30 minute time frames including Bible counseling, Bible handbook and game supervision. The children receive AWANA bucks (play money) for memorizing scripture and completing assignments in their AWANA workbooks. At the end of the AWANA year (September through April) the youth can spend the play cash at an AWANA store that is filled with toys, candy, and kids stuff. The more AWANA bucks a child earns the more goodies they can purchase.
For more information on the AWANA Club call Judy Turner (AWANA Commander) at 304-855-7083 or Pastor John E. Godby at 304-752-7774.
The First Church of McConnell AWANA program is held on Monday night, a traditional non-church night, in case a child that attends his or her home church might desire to belong to AWANA Club.