August 14, 2022

Where’s AWANA Going?

Kids SingingMany things that start out glorifying God come to a crossroads. For whatever reason, the revival happens, people are getting saved, and then a plateau event happens or something comes along where those that are in leadership have to make a decision about the way that an activity or organization should go. Invariably, organizations seem to choose to relax standards that they’ve long held rather than stay put.

In some cases, this may be a good thing– where it would impact our ability to minister or witness to continue to hold to something extra-Biblical. Most often, though, it’s in an area of separation from the world which seems to be the thing to go. Too often we see something that looks like it’s prospering because of the sheer numbers (like the whole “Purpose Driven Life” craze) and want to allow that without looking beneath the surface to what they believe and what they hold to.

AWANA is leaning this way by promoting some material in the emerging/contemplative spirituality camp— people that do not hold to the same Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that AWANA has long claimed.

We’re having to deal with the effect of pentacostalism in our church’s Christian School. And it’s hard. It’s hard to have names and faces to a movement that you don’t agree with and believe you need to separate from on a church level.

Until the Lord returns and sets things right, I feel like Mrs. Meg Logan said the other day in comments– we’re going to continue to spiral to be more and more like the world.

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15 thoughts on “Where’s AWANA Going?

  1. Is that what I said? Seems not quite right. I think I might need to clarify. I believe that the separation of wheat and chaff will become more and more evident, and the chaff will spiral more and more into the world and into wrongdoing until the day of Christ.

    That seems a little better put. I certainly do not think that those who are seriously pursuing Christ and walking with Him day by day are going to get worse and worse, contrarily I think they will get better and better… from glory to glory

    Mrs Meg Logan

  2. I think MIn is referring to how the mainstream church is relaxing its standards. It’s not only affecting AWANA, but everything about how church has always been perceived. The world is rocking the church-boat and the tide is turning. The emerging church is still a new concept to me…one that should be explored, because it seems quite deceptive in its allure. I read somewhere online that the founders of the emergent “religion” believe that Christ’s death on the cross was like cosmic child abuse. ??? Also, that the higher-ups will not answer specific questions on what they actually believe to be doctrine. The author of the Purpose Driven Life is said to be Emergent.

    As to AWANA, this is really interesting stuff. I’m really involved in our Awana having served in several roles from Cubbie’s Director on up to T and T. I’ve always loved the program, my girls know so many verses thanks to Awana. But the whole fun and games thing to draw kids bugs me. It’s becoming more and more about having fun. Leaders rush their kids through the handbook time, so they can earn more shares to spend on store night…I don’t know that I’ll change anything, except make sure my girls really know their verses. I am saddened to hear this about their changing standards. Sigh. One more thing to “be aware” of…

  3. I’m not familiar with AWANA other than seeing the uniforms. I know it’s much more of an outreach based youth group than an edification based one. That being said, when my old church started doing the program they asked if we’d do it too because they needed someone to be able to compete against? I said that we were happy with Patch the Pirate. I also heard that it takes more people to run AWANA than Patch.

    Yes, Mary, AWANA’s just showing the symptoms of the growing problem.

  4. I know our non-denominational Bible church sprang out of four-square roots, but nothing in any way related to the Pentacostal movement. Can you tell me what’s wrong with the four-square movement? I’m not that familiar with it, and now you’ve got me curious!

    In our area, mostly Baptist churches host Awanas. We’re one of the only ones who are non-denominational.

  5. Just taking a look at the Four Square website, some things draw my attention:

    Baptism with the Holy Spirit
    We believe that the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is to endue the believer with power; and that His incoming is after the same manner as in Bible days (Acts 2:4).

    Does this mean that the spirit comes on with speaking in tongues?

  6. Some other comments on Four Sqaure.

    Founded by a woman:

    Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), a controversial female evangelist, founded the Foursquare Church in 1927. Los Angeles was her center of operations, and the Angelus Temple, seating 5,300 people, was opened there in 1923. McPherson was an outright celebrity participating in publicity events such as parades every Sunday through the streets of L.A., along with the mayor and movie stars, directly to Angelus Temple. She built the temple, and L. I. F. E. Bible College next door to it, on the northwest corner of the land that she owned in the middle of the city.


    Together with the Assemblies of God, the Church of God, the Open Bible Standard Churches, the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and others, the Foursquare Church formed the “Pentecostal Fellowship of North America” in 1948 in Des Moines, Iowa. In 1994, the Fellowship reorganized as the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America after reconciliation with African Americans, particularly the constituency of the Church of God in Christ.

  7. Good grief. I had no idea. Of course, there’s no speaking in tongues at OUR church, and the four-square roots were over twenty years ago when the church branched off into separate directions.
    Thanks for the info. Good to know.

  8. I am surprised to hear that you are both anti-tongues… I really just can’t see how those gifts are for any time other than this one! We are in the end of times, and that is precisely what it was for, starting at Pentecost, and continuing until the Second Coming.

    Acts 2:14-21… “But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
    Act 2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day. (why were they thought drunk? because they were speaking in tongues)
    Act 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

    Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days(if the last days were only during Pentecost, what is TODAY?), saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall PROPHECY, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

    Act 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

    Act 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: (in the last days that are to come we will see more of this)
    Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
    Act 2:21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

    It seems clear that the power of the Holy Spirit is still working today, infact is still be pouring out, and “evidenced with the speaking of tongues” and Paul spoke with tongues of men AND of angels… (ie in foreign languages of men, and spiritual tongues of angels).

    I would like to see some scripture that says God has withheld the power of His Spirit in these last days… which we all can agree that we are in the last days (though how long these days will last is unknown, for “none shall know the time”).

    We should not be afraid or weirded out by the power of the Holy Spirit. His power is just as real and alive today as it was in times past. Let us not be like those in this passage which says “and in those last days there will be lovers of self,…. having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof…” (2 Tim 3:5)

    Mrs. Mrg Logan

  9. Meg,

    I attend a Calvary Chapel, and even though we consider ourselves “Charismatic” we do not have tongues as part of our service. I saw that growing up, and it was very disturbing. Little kids jabbering away and people trying to out-do each other by sounding as if they’re speaking Hebrew. I could even pick out a few Hebrew words here and there.

    My mom was “forced” to speak in tongues when she was a little girl before they would let her leave the church.

    While it would be wrong for me to use those examples as an argument against tongues, they do serve as a warning to be suspicious of churches that use tongues to get people into an altered state of consciousness.

  10. CHRIS, I belong to a Calvary Chapel too! LOL… I never meant to imply that tongue ought to be spoken out of order. But to say that they are no longer in use AT ALL is wrong too. Obeviously we can see clearly in is it Corinthians? Where Paul puts tongues and prophecy etc, in their proper places in a service.

    I have never heard of people using tongues in a way to “Get into an altered state of consciousness”, i don’t doubt that abuse and false tongues is happening, but I don’t think that means they are not for today but only for the time of Pentecost.

    Speaking in tongues is something that any person who has the Holy Spirit can choose to allow the Spirit to do within them. They do not HAVE to allow such a thing however. Of course we can always say no to the Holy Spirit. I confess that I am not faithful to do all that the Spirit prompts me to do, so I am sure that tongues are the same way.

    My father says he was tempted to “fake it” when he was baptized too, because of the pressure to evidence his faith that way… well… what can I say, some people take it too far. Could my father yeild to the Spirit, I believe he could have… but to fake it for show would have been a sin. And I think that he was feeling too much outside pressure to be sure of what the Spirit was doing within himself.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  11. One of the most popular verses to use in regards to your question about our belief in the gift of tongues not being around today is this one:

    Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away. – 1 Corinthians 13:8

    The very next question you’ll ask is “well, how do we know when they will cease?” My answer to that is when their purpose was fulfilled. And what was their purpose? To fulfil the Joel passage that was quoted by Peter in Acts (and referenced by you earlier). The Jewish People needed a sign that the end of the old covenant had come– and tongues were that sign.

    That being said, it was not the case that all that came to the Lord in the New Testament had tongues as a sign gift. In fact, Paul goes on to say in the same Corinthians book that tongues is the most useless gift among the saved– he would much rather people have preaching or teaching than tongues.

    Each believer gets spiritual gifts via the Holy Spirit at salvation. We don’t see, however, the gifts of tongues, healing, prophesying, etc. because we have the complete Word of God and the purpose for these gifts no longer exists. That’s not to say that God can’t choose to heal or have someone speak in a foreign language that they do not know– but to what end?

    Certainly Paul didn’t see people speaking in tongues as a positive thing in the local body of believers. He spent a lot of time talking about how they gift was not beneficial for edification in comparison with other gifts, and he was all about building up the body.

  12. “We have the complete word of God”–quoting MInTheGap…this is the key right here.
    1 Cor 13:9-11 for context, and verse “but when perfection comes, imperfection disappears”…many people want to believe that “perfection” refers to Christ’s second coming, but my dad explained it to me that this use of “perfection” in the Hebrew or Greek (sorry can’t remember which) is in neuter form. It would be in masculine form if it referred to Christ’s return. Instead, the perfection refers to the completed canon of scripture.

    That’s why I feel it has no place in church.

    That said, I do feel that tongues could still used by the Holy Spirit in far off places where people haven’t had exposure to the full Bible. But even so, I’d think, based on scripture, that they’d only be used in translating God’s word into their own language.

    I have an older second cousin (I’ve always called her Aunt) who truly believes that tongues is still a spiritual gift, one that she’s seen and believes is the real deal. I respect this aunt, and keep my reservations to myself. Tongues is an issue that can really cause division. I’ve never personally been around it. Deep down, I believe that a person, one on one with God in their own private worship (say at home, not church and not to bring attention to themselves) could very well experience it legitimately. Personal opinion.

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