This week focuses on the core message of Awana, being a worker approved by God. Awana is actually an acronym which means:
For this game time, the recommendation is to play a Bible trivial game. You can go out and buy one of the various ones out there, you can grab flash cards of Bible trivia from your local Christian store, or, if you’re like me, you have a stock of questions. Over the years of children’s and youth ministry, I’ve collected good questions that help teach Scripture in a catechism type of format (question and answer). I also intermix trick and intentionally false questions to keep players and actively thinking instead of just answering as a reaction. Some of my favorites:
Q: How many of each type of animal did Moses take on the ark?
A: None. Noah took animals on to the ark, not Moses.
Q: After what book of the Bible is the book of Hezekiah found?
A: None. Hezekiah was a king in the Bible, who ruled during the time of Isaiah. However, there is no book of Hezekiah.
In our case we split into teams. The first team was team boys consisting of my 12 and 11 year-old sons. The second team was team girls consisting of my wife and my 5 year-old daughter. The boys used to be in Children’s Church at a previous church where I served, Southeast Community Church. We would frequently have Bible Trivia Championship competitions as the game to end Children’s Church. We even went so far as to buy one of the wrestling championship belts and re-title it. Whoever won the last competition would find me before Sunday School and they carried that belt around until it was time for Children’s Church. All the adults knew what the belt meant and congratulated the current champion. This kind of recognition was amazing at spurring on the kids to want to learn and do well. Even the four and five year-olds were ready and willing to compete with the fifth and sixth graders.
But back to this game, the girls pulled it out by one at the end. It was a good introduction into the Bible Time.
Because we had just come from a game that emphasized Bible knowledge so much, we went immediately into Bible Time. The episode for this week is A Worker Approved when one of the youth is shocked and dismayed at the fact that someone who has been a Christian a far shorter time is farther along in her Bible knowledge. The reality was the second youth was putting time into studying and was actively asking questions and reading and studying to find the answers. This caused the first youth to finally come to an understanding that such a practice was necessary in her own life.
The fact of the matter is that when tempted by Satan in the desert, Christ repeatedly responded to the temptations with Scripture. This is what we should arm ourselves with, too. This is where the discussion leads to after the episode: Scripture isn’t just “homework,” but our guidance and our protection. As a result, it is important for us to study it, learn it, and memorize it, so that we can use it and have it available to us when we are challenged by life.
The recommendation this week isn’t just to learn the Bible verses, but to turn them into prayers, too. This is an effective way to study Scripture. When we read a promise, we can turn it back around and thank God for the promise. When we read a correction, we can repent and then turn around and ask forgiveness according to that correction and then thank God for redeeming us from that sin. It’s something that not only helps us learn the Scripture, but it also helps children (and adults) better learn how to actively pray to the Lord.