Reality Check in the Church Hallway

-1I remember a lecture we had on classroom design in a college children’s ministry class.

The professor droned on about optimal space, light, sound, chair size and table arrangement and … . We listened because we knew what he was saying would be on the final exam.

He talked through design for the different age groups, number of students and how to set up the room for planned activities.

And we listened. And we graduated.

Then we went out into the real world.

I remember thinking about that college class when my high school girls’ Bible study was assigned to a room in the gloomy corner of the second floor hallway. A tiny beam of light seeped in the windows and quickly faded away behind tree branches. The dirty, yellow walls reflected nothing but scrapes and smudges. Although we attacked the room with a bucket of paint, and the girls covered every surface with their names and favorite Scripture – the room was still dismal.

I remember thinking about that college class the night I sat on the back hallway steps with my handbook group. Our usual space – the church furnace room had been taken over by another group and the only place left for an overflowing Awana club was the stairs themselves.

I remember thinking about that college class the morning I walked into the primary Sunday school class where I had just been assigned to teach. Decades old, brocaded drapes were half on and half off the rods. Chairs with dents, black marks and broken legs were pushed under the too-high tables.

But yes, I’ve also taught in classrooms that would make that professor proud.

The point is – many of our classrooms aren’t ideal – in fact, they are prime examples of what a classroom shouldn’t look like.

But this is reality. Even though many churches today are equipped with well-lighted rooms, cheerful bulletin boards, built-in technology and child-sized chairs, tables and bathrooms … many aren’t.

Many of you teach in damp church basements or stuffy upper-story rooms. Many of you have to carry in your supplies when you teach and then carry them out again after class – to make way for the men’s Bible study or high group who also meet in the room. And, I’m guessing more than one of you has had a Handbook Time on the steps.

But in actuality, although all the child-sized-everything equipment, the built-in technology and the brightly-colored walls are conducive to learning, they aren’t absolutely necessary.

Remember the time Jesus was teaching in a Galilean home? (Luke 17:17-26)

Lots of people were there: religious law-keepers, teachers, people who wanted to be healed …  The room was packed. In fact, it was so packed that when some men wanted to carry a paralytic to Christ, they couldn’t find room enough to push themselves through the packed audience.

I’m not sure that house would’ve met the college professor’s requirements for adequate space, ventilation and light.  True – the Bible doesn’t say anything about windows in the house, but we do know that in order to reach the Lord Jesus Christ, the men had to cut a hole in the roof, which doesn’t make it sound as if there were good-sized windows anywhere. Which probably meant there wasn’t a whole lot of ventilation. (Just guessing about that.)

Yet when Christ saw the faith of the man, He said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”  That made the proud law keepers think. Who was this man? Christ went on to explain exactly.  The account concludes with: All those who were there were surprised and gave thanks to God, saying, “We have seen very special things today.”

Nothing in those verses say that Christ’s teaching would’ve been more effective had this event taken place in where ever the Galilean state-of-the-art meeting place was located or if there had been less people and more space or windows or …

Because even though there’s nothing wrong (and a lot right) with buying child-sized chairs, decorating the room with bright butterflies and having the latest tech equipment … the truth is … it’s your message that counts.

— whether that’s a room approved by your college children’s ministry professor.

— or in the hall stairway.

Posted in Churches, Club ideas, Commanders/Directors, Leaders, Sparks | 2 Comments »

A Five-Day Missions Curriculum – Free – For You!

Guatemala_336x336Though some of the children in your ministry come from difficult situations, most of them come from … privileged homes. (At least they’re privileged compared to what many children experience who live in other places around the world.)

Though some of the children in your ministry have been introduced to the reality of poverty in third world countries, others have no idea that not every child lives in a house with a television, a computer, food on the table … and a car in the driveway.… {read more}

Posted in Awana Global Ministry, Children at Risk, gospel, Mission Resources, Service, T&T, Teaching | 1 Comment »

A T&T Clubber Reviews Extra Credit

-4When Rylie’s mom offered to do a product review for us, Rylie said she would like to do one too.

Her choice? Silver and Gold extra credit.

Thanks so much, Rylie!

THE PRODUCT: Gold and Silver Sections in T&T Books

 BRIEF DESCRIPTION: Gold and Silver are sections you can do when you are done with your book, as we are encouraged to do.… {read more}

Posted in Leaders, T&T | 8 Comments »

A Fun Giveaway – Here’s What You Need to Do

-3Our giveaway today is a copy of Sparky Shines His Light - in Chinese! This is what you need to do to get your name in the drawing …

As you know, I’ve been posting the verses that we’re learning here at Headquarters on the blog each Sunday – so that you can learn along with us.… {read more}

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Seven Ways to Put Christ First in Your Child’s Easter Week

-2Kids are surrounded by the world’s view of Easter. Store aisles are crowded with colorfully woven baskets, stringy Easter (a.k.a. plastic) grass and mounds of candy dipped in various shades of pastel.  Bookstores offer dozens of brightly-colored books focusing on the adventures of the Easter bunny.… {read more}

Posted in Families, Holidays, Parents, Teaching | 2 Comments »

Headquarters Memory Program – Acts

ScanWe’ve completed the Gospels and are now on the book of Acts.

A lot happens in this book.

The Journey teens read through the Bible. Summaries are provided for them for each book. Here’s the summary for Acts -

Author: Luke

Date: About A.D.{read more}

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Men – 12 Ways to a Be Role Model

DSC_0105We hear and read a lot about needing men in children’s ministry. We need good men to be good role models for kids – especially those kids who come from single-parent families. Just last month Larry Fowler guest-posted on our blog, asking the question “Where Are the Men?”.{read more}

Posted in Commanders/Directors, Families, Leaders | No Comments »

Top Ten Reasons to be Part of Returning Hearts

p1621287936-o984993254-3Julie Becker and Claudia Kruse  (Awana employees) have both participated in the Malachi Dad’s Returning Hearts Celebration several times … because they are passionate about the ministry and want to do what they can to serve.

Oh, in case you don’t know – Returning Hearts Celebration is a one-day event that will unite children with their prison inmate fathers and grandfathers to begin the long road of breaking the cycle of crime.{read more}

Posted in Awana Global Ministry, Lifeline, Service | No Comments »

Developing Internal Motivation

child_in_suit_thinking_holding_organizer_1Our guest blogger today is Dr. Scott Turansky of the National Center for Biblical Parenting.  A few weeks ago, we shared a post by the co-founder of the center, Joanne Miller.  (To read Joanne’s post, click here Today Scott talks about the importance of motivating children internally.)

Developing internal motivation in children is one of the fast tracks to help them toward maturity.… {read more}

Posted in Families, Parents, Teaching, Training | 2 Comments »

Time to Think About Fall … And Your AMC Conference

So most of us around the country are still looking for spring, but it’s not too early to think about fall. Truly. You want to get the date for your local AMC (Awana Ministry) conference on the calender now.

Betsy Sentamu, Instructional Designer, answers some questions about this year’s conferences.{read more}

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Posted in Awana Ministry Conference, Awana overview, Leaders, Student Leaders, Training | No Comments »


Linda Weddle

Linda Weddle

Author, Speaker, Workshop Presenter

Linda Weddle's 30-plus years of experience as a teacher, curriculum writer, author, speaker and ministry leader make her an important voice on ministry to children, youth and families.

Raising a Modern-Day Joseph: A practical guide for growing great kids - Available now!