Singing My Way to the Truth
How Awana gave foundation to my faith (and what it can do for your kids, too)
by Julie Lunde
Much to the chagrin of those who have to listen to me, my life as a former Awana clubber could be tracked through song. Whether it was chanting the Psalm 100 “rap” my mom created to help me memorize or jiggling my limbs through seemingly endless verses of “Father Abraham,” my childhood was a mess of songs, motions and “spirited” singing that may have been a bit more reminiscent of shouting.
As a clubber for seven years, many of the songs in my head were learned Wednesday nights at church during Awana. In particular, the theme songs of each program reflect my experience in Cubbies, Sparks and Chums, the club for third- and fourth-grade girls before the advent of Truth & Training.
“We are Awana Cubbies; we’re happy all day long! We know that Jesus loves us; that’s why we sing this song!”
I learned the "Cubbies Theme Song" while still in a stroller during walks with my parents. At 3 years old, Awana taught and reinforced the truth of God’s love, the very foundation of the Bible.
My Awana leaders taught these foundations through lessons and songs that miraculously kept the attention of my preschool mind, making me excited to come to church. The Cubbies program helped me grow up connecting church to happiness; unlike many children that age, I was excited to go to church and not bored by the idea.
“We will hide God’s Word in our hearts; we will serve Him right from the start ... We are Sparks to light the world!”
With the basic truth of Jesus’ love established through Cubbies, Sparks taught me about service. It was in Sparks where I learned that a missionary does not have to go across the ocean to unexplored jungles to work for Christ. I learned that I could serve Jesus by obeying my parents, praying for His workers and telling my friends about Him. Through Sparks, a relationship with God did not seem like just something my parents had, but something that I could have, too.
Looking back on my time in Awana, I realize so many aspects of my life were molded during club, beyond doctrinal teaching. I learned sportsmanship through the competition of Sparks-a-Rama and AwanaGames™, discipline and goal setting through handbook completion incentives and the importance of parental support.
“As I read His Word and pray, He gives direction, as I follow Him each and every day”
While giggling with my friends, racing around the game circle and earning points to spend at the Awana store, my third-grade mindset was not exactly concentrated on the depth of the doctrine I was learning. The focus of the Chums club pushed me to go deeper in my faith, even when I was not entirely aware of it, by encouraging me to make it a regular part of my daily life.
With the foundation set in Cubbies and strengthened in Sparks, I prioritized having a growing faith as I got older. Though T&T debuted after I had left club, I’ve listened to the "T&T Theme Song." It supports the vision of the club: making faith in Jesus part of a daily walk.
Beyond the spiritual training, Awana gave me the opportunity to develop strong Christian friendships in third and fourth grade. Relationships like these prove to be invaluable as junior high and high school start and peer pressure builds.
“Building lives on the Word of God, Awana stands!”
The "Awana Theme Song" has long proclaimed the purpose of Awana clubs: to build lives of both kids and their parents on the Word of God. Through my time in Awana, I’ve come to recognize one of the most essential elements for an Awana experience that carries out this principle.
More than the number of sections said or the songs sung, commitment and encouragement from home are vital. My parents committed to driving an hour and a half to club every week, helping me memorize and understand God’s Word and reinforcing what I learned at Awana. The vision of Awana joined with support at home is a winning combination for a firm foundation and encouragement for spiritual growth.
I may never stop singing the songs that I learned in Awana, but I no longer need them to understand my faith. The foundation put in place through club has grown in me, beyond song lyrics or hand motions, to impact me for life. And Awana can have that same eternal influence on your kids, too.