Our Promise to the 5 Million Children in Our Care

Article by Valerie Bell August 29, 2022

Do you believe what everyone is saying is true, that we are living in unprecedented times? Do you sometimes feel like every day ushers in another reason to fasten your seat belt? Well then, maybe it’s time for some good news.

Did you know that at this moment there is awesome history being made in the world? Every week 5 million children gather to learn about Jesus! Think of it; that’s nearly as many children as the whole populations of Norway or Costa Rica, or New Zealand. Every week, 5 million children in 132 countries of the world come to Awana clubs.

This is missiological history and unprecedented!

And while 5 million children is something to be celebrated — and we do — still we know that children who are living in these unprecedented times have special needs that need to be addressed. After all, the world’s children have experienced a pandemic that has rocked their lives to the core.

  • Unicef estimates an additional 60 million children are now living in monetary poverty, lacking access to the basic need for immunizations, education and food security — due to COVID.
  • A 2022 study reports that at least 5.2 million children and as many as 6.7 million children globally have — because of COVID — lost a parent, grandparent or family member who helped care for them.

Additionally, this generation of children has been displaced from their homes by war, poverty and violence. Children, some of them unaccompanied minors, linger at our U.S. borders, praying for mercy and for a caring hand to reach out and take them in. They are the silent victims of these challenging times.

Thankfully, the world is not standing callously by. Many awesome organizations are striving to “be there” for the world’s children who are living at such risk. We applaud the important work they do. We often proudly partner with them. But our promise to the 5 million children in our care is different from relief aid.

Awana focuses on giving the world’s children everything they need to become resilient disciples of Jesus. We are building the global church of the future in children’s lives today, preparing them to face pandemics, wars, displacement or any other challenge the future may hold for them.

We are showing them how to bend and flex but not break under the weight of the world’s culture. We are forming them to be the resilient Church of the future, the influencers and lights in a world that is increasingly dark.

Someday our generations will be gone. Will our children and our children’s children face something in their lives that our generations could never imagine? Our prayer is that when the world is tilting on its axis in some frightening way, the memorized words of Scripture, the love and belonging of the Church and the presence of God’s Spirit will guide them to be faithfully resilient.

Yes, it’s 5 million children coming to Awana clubs today. We celebrate that! But it’s more. It is the future global church. It is the faith of a million tomorrows. May God be with us as we purpose to raise up the greatest generation of resilient disciples. May they always remember God is with them … and more, that God is for them. And may we, with God’s help, give them everything they need today for their journey into their unknown tomorrows.