Which Children’s Program Is Right for Me?

When making decisions for your children's ministry programming, it's always a good idea to be aware of the issues involved. Deciding which program is right for you can be hard, and there are many paths one might take. We often receive calls from children's ministers and parents alike who find themselves stuck between two paths. Often, the choice is between our traditional children's organizations like Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors and the coed group AWANA. The following provides an in-depth look at the differences between these two programs. You can also look over this comparative breakdown between other popular program materials.

The purpose of both programs is spiritual development and discipleship. AWANA emphases evangelism and Scripture memorization. This program is all about memorizing Scripture specifically concerning salvation. It is important to remember that while Scripture memorization is good for children, memorization is only stage 1 of true acceptance and understanding. It's important that children also learn the meaning of Scripture and learn to apply that Scripture to their own lives. This application of Scripture is a key purpose of GA and RA. Through GA and RA, children take this memorization process and expand it in a way that offers a holistic approach to learning.

There is also a difference in the terminology and definitions used in both programs. AWANA classifies a missionary as a person who advances the cause of Christ by starting more AWANA charters and helping churches purchase AWANA materials. This is drastically different from the GA/RA definition. These groups understand a missionary to be a person who crosses cultural, geographic, or other barriers to share the gospel and live out a Christian witness in obedience to the Great Commission. Taking note of this difference is essential when making a programming decision for your church.

Last, but not least, a children's minister needs to consider what they are investing in before they make a final decision. GA and RA are deeply rooted in the Southern Baptist Convention. They tell the stories of Southern Baptist missionaries and participate in Southern Baptist missions and ministries. They teach the next generation about the importance of working together as the body of Christ and of churches cooperating with other churches all around the world to share the love of Jesus.

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