Sparks, Cubbies, Bible quizzing are synonymous with Awana programs in the United States. Essentially, it’s the same around the globe as these interactive and age-appropriate programs reach children at the time of life when they will be most open and receptive to the message of the Gospel.
Awana clubs are growing in 18 Pacific Rim countries, reaching more than 300,000 children through more than 4,000 programs. In South Korea, nearly 400 churches have Awana programs that reach more than 20,000 children.
“Very often in Korea, when children get to middle school or high school, they leave the church. Reaching them when they are young with the Gospel is very important,” said Charlie Lee, vice president of Awana Korea and director of the Step of Faith training center. “We want to make them a faith generation and go to the world to show the Gospel. Our ministry is growing year after year (since its 1983 inception), and we want to reach more kids in all the Asian countries.”
BJU has partnered with Awana Korea for a two-pronged program to achieve that goal.
Through VBS-style Summer Programs
Awana Korea seeks to utilize BJU students to lead English Bible School programs in churches with existing Awana clubs for 10 weeks this summer.
Lee said evangelism through VBS-style programs is an extension of the school year Awana clubs. Most elements of the summer programs are presented in English.
“Parents and the kids really want to learn English. Awana Korea is using English as a tool to share the Gospel. Even nonbelievers are sending their kids to the Awana program and we reach more kids,” Lee said. “Then, more families are attending church services.”
Interns, as Lee refers to the American college students, will work alongside local missionaries and churches to administer the programs. They’ll also experience the culture while developing international ministry skills and discerning God’s calling for their life.
Lee is on campus through October 10 to recruit students for the summer ministry. His display is in The Den.
“It’s a really good opportunity for our students to have that experience overseas,” said Dr. Bobby Wood, BJU’s chief enrollment officer. “It’s a two-sided coin. It’s going to help our students with their global fluency and cultural agility–going into a different setting and different culture and having the opportunity to interact and learn from that culture–and we have such a strong biblical worldview from every class for the students we attract and draw. Just by the nature of our student body, a sophomore or junior who has been in our setting is going to have a lot to offer to a Korean young person.”
Through Discipleship Training
Awana Korea and Wood seek to utilize BJU students (a graduate student as an academic coordinator, two undergraduates as associates) to facilitate BJU online Bible courses and discipleship training at the Awana Korea Worldview Institute in Seoul.
The Awana program in the Pacific Rim extends beyond grade school. Trek for middle schoolers and Journey for high schoolers features in-depth biblical content and discussions. Journey adds practical application by having students partner with their local church to gain leadership skills while assisting with the Awana program.
Lee is targeting these young adults who are interested in going deeper in learning God’s Word in an immersive English context and considering a Christian college in the United States. The 15 credits earned by students who complete the two-semester residence program, which is scheduled to start in March 2020, can be applied to a BJU bachelor’s degree.
Said Wood: “The training is to help them focus on viewing the world through a biblical lens and help them prepare to pour their lives into ministry. We are excited about finding a large group of international students who have been studying God’s Word seriously and want more training.”
“We would love to grow our Biblical worldview influence in Korea with Awana and greatly impact the next generation of Korean youth in those Awana churches. Please stop by and meet Charlie this week if you would like to learn more about these ministry opportunities.”
Contact Wood’s office for more information about the program.