August 21, 2012
Dear Awana families,
Over the past year at Westgate Church we have spent significant time clarifying our vision as a congregation: to be a gospel-centered community living each day on mission for Christ. To help us apply this vision to our children, student, and family ministries, we commissioned a Family and Student Ministries Task Force last February to seek God’s will and direction.
We are excited about some of the new directions God is leading us in these ministries, but also mindful of some the constraints we must work with, most notably the availability of leaders and staff. To be faithful to our vision we believe we need to bring sharper focus to our ministry offerings, which means doing fewer things better. Since most visitors and several of our families don’t attend Sunday School or mid-week events, one of our key initiatives in the year ahead is to revitalize and energize our children’s ministries during the worship service hour on Sunday mornings. We’re excited to see what God will do with this and other ministries in the year ahead.
One of the sad implications of refocusing our ministry efforts on Sunday morning is that we will be unable to adequately staff our Awana ministry. This has been a challenge for several years, and given what we see as God’s call to prioritize our Sunday church time ministry, we believe the best use of our limited people resources is to place our focus there. For this reason, we will not be hosting Awana this year at Westgate. To learn more or ask questions, we will be holding an informational meeting this Thursday night (Aug. 23) at 7:30pm at Westgate Church.
We are so thankful for how God has used the Awana ministry at Westgate to touch so many lives. Moreover we’re grateful to God for the many students who have worked so hard over the years, and for the scores of leaders and volunteers who have invested their lives in children through Awana, especially Devin Lucas and Doran and Christina Abel. Finally, we’re grateful for the faithful partnership our Awana missionary and regional director, Ken Hoffmeyer, has provided for us.
Though we will not host Awana this year, we do want to make provision for Westgate students who want to complete the books or activities they’re working on. We will do this either by making some time Sunday mornings or connecting students with an adult volunteer. For families looking for an entire Awana program, you can use the Awana locater (http://awana.org/locations/awana-locator,default,pg.html).
We also plan to work some of the significant benefits of Awana into our other ministries. For instance, Scripture memory will become part of our Sunday School time. Our new Children’s Church format will provide an opportunity for older students to serve and volunteer as they had with Awana. And don’t be surprised if we break out a few Awana games (or a Grand Prix race!) during some of our First Friday church-wide activities.
For more information about our broader vision for children, students, and families at Westgate, please contact the church office. And again, thank you to all who have labored hard for the Lord through Awana. May that work continue to bear fruit in the lives of the children who were served.
Your servants for Jesus’ sake,
Westgate Church Board of Elders
Juris Alksnitis, John Cuozzo Bruce Daggett, C.J.Godfrey, Steve Hope, Brandon Levering, George Rideout