CommanderBill.net News…

Over the weekend, I will be moving the blog to a new location. The new address will by blogcommanderbill.net. This move will allow me more flexibility with the blog.

If all goes well, then it will be seamless to you. But as we all know, nothing is guaranteed.

Thank you for your patience during this time.

The Halloween Debate

In several children’s ministry blogs and sites, the discussion about Halloween is in the forefront. There are a couple of reasons for that, one is because it helps drive traffic to the site and isn’t that what we all want, more traffic to our sites?

I don’t want to initiate a debate, and please do not comment on how you handle the Halloween debate. Yes, I have my view and I’ll be glad to share if asked but I want to just give you one thing to think about this weekend as we approach October 31st…

No matter what our view of the day and activities may be, the way we interact with people about Halloween will either draw them to Jesus, or drive them away. Which will you be doing?

Awana @ Home – Jelly Telly Edition

I received the copies of the newest Awana at Home Kit this week.

I gave it a quick once over and saw a similar format to the first Awana at Home Kit with the Adventures in Odyssey. The  lessons are in a magazine format with just one DVD with the Jelly Telly videos. I’ll get to that one shortly.

There is  DVD that introduces the Awana at Home program. I liked how it is set up to play automatically and then after the intro DVD, it asks if the child currently goes to Awana and then plays the appropriate video depending upon their answer. At the end of the video, it directs them to items on the Awana web site, resources and tools. That is a nice way to integrate things and have families find information easily.

The second DVD has the video lessons from Jelly Telly on them. If you are familiar with the “What’s In the Bible” DVD’s from Phil Vischer, then you will be very comfortable with these DVD’s. Even if you are not familiar with the “What’s In the Bible” DVD’s, you and you children will like the format. If you have not yet see the What’s In the Bible DVD’s, then be sure to wait before you select which group of lessons to go to from the main menu. If you have seen the What’s In the Bible DVD’s, then you can skip it, but it is always fun to watch.

I was very pleased with what I saw. In today’s society, these videos will help hold the attention of the children (and adults) while they learn Biblical truths. Good for families who have children who attend Awana, and for those who do not. All around, a good tool to use for a family faith night.

If you would like to purchase the Awana at Home Kit, you can find it here…
or to find our more about Awana at Home, click here….

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Think to Yourself – It’s All About ME!

I know what you’re thinking…what do you mean it’s all about me? Isn’t it all about Jesus? NO!

Before you send me that nasty e-mail, let me explain. How you enter your Awana club (or ministry) to minister to children has a BIG impact on whether or not the children see Jesus.

Are you stressed from your day? Are you overly focused on logistics for the night? Do you have that passion to reach the children for Jesus?

If you are not in the right frame of mind, or if you have not prepared properly, it will impact the children and others around you, and maybe not in a positive way, for Jesus.

When we are in the right frame of mind, and right with God, then the children will see Jesus in us. Isn’t that the goal, to show them Jesus?

So when you are preparing to minister to the children, take a moment to spend time with God and ask Him to prepare your heart, to get you in a position for the children to see Him as you minister to them.

So it is all about YOU! Make sure people see Jesus in YOU!

Memorization Tip

This past Sunday night at our club, there was a boy struggling with a few verses in the Start Zone. I was busy during their handbook time, but  I was able to break free to talk to him for a little bit to see if he needed help. He said he did want me to help him and so I looked at the section, Checkpoint 4. He said he knew why sin was a big problem and explained it to me, but didn’t know the verses, so I initiated the conversation about who has sinned and worked Romans 3:10 into a conversational style, saying that we could say that no one is righteous, not even one.

And then as we went on to the next verse in the section, the harder of the two, I tried to explain it in terms  he could understand. The verse, Psalm 130:3, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?” I asked him if he liked sports. He said yes, basketball. And I referenced keeping a record of sins to the scorekeeper keeping a record of fouls. As they keep a record of fouls, you can’t stand, stay in the game, because you’ll foul out. Likewise, if God kept a record of sins, we couldn’t stand before Him without being cast away from Him.

By putting one verse in conversational terms, and the other, comparing it to something they can relate to personally, they were able to memorize the verses and complete the section.

It’s great to see when a child understands and they can relate Scripture to their life after being frustrated trying to learn.

It’s when we take the extra time to help them understand, that we see God do great things.

So when you’re able to, learn the verse in a conversational style, and relate it to something they can understand so the verse make sense to them and it isn’t just a bunch of words connected together.

Missions Monday – Bill Bianco

It’s Missionary Monday and today I am spotlighting Bill Bianco. I have served on Bill’s ministry team since he came to the Maryland area. It has been a pleasure serving along side of Bill and seeing his heart for ministry and reaching children/youth for Christ.

I asked Bill some questions and below are his answers:

What area do you serve?

National Capital Region consisting of Central and Southern Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington DC

 How long have you been an Awana Missionary? 6 Years

# of churches under your care:   213

Fun Facts: Favorite food, favorite sport, something interesting people don’t know about you, etc….

I enjoy eating, mainly comfort foods such as meat loaf, lasagna, mashed potatoes, ice cream and most pies.  I am an avid sports fan.  I love them all both to watch and play if I can.  I was a better than average softball player at one time and I actually have been on three slow-pitch softball All-star teams (one in Florida and two in different parts of Ohio).    I also served in the U.S. Navy for six years as a Nuclear Reactor Operator highlighted by serving on the USS Nimitz in 1980 during the Iranian Hostage Crisis.

Why are you an Awana Missionary?

I love being an Awana Missionary.  I can not think of anything else I would rather do.  I love it because it is where God has called me to serve.  He reminds me daily of His calling by His daily provision.  Serving God is a WOW thing when you know He wants you there.

Share something God is doing in your ministry

Since I became the Awana Missionary in the National Capital Region in 2004, my heart has been burdened by the number of Hispanic people in the area.  When we started there were no Spanish speaking churches that had Awana in our area.  Currently, with the help of Miguel and Lorena Montes, the Awana Hispanic Missionaries in the USA, we have now have five and just this month we held our first Hispanic Awana Missions Conference with a great attendance.  God is good.

How can we specifically pray for you over the next month?

We have a Commander College 101 on October 28-30 that we are hosting in North East Maryland as well as attending the North America Missionary Conference  for all Awana Missionaries in the USA in November in North Carolina.  Please pray that both events will draw those who attend closer to The Creator.

Ministry website:   www.AwanaMD.org

Awana missionaries are 100% faith supported. They receive no commission on products sold, they rely solely on gifts and support from individuals and churches.

To find out more about Bill and to see how you can support him and his ministry in the National Capital Region, click here…

To learn more about Awana Missionaries and their roles, click here…

What if David & Goliath worked together?

We all probably know the story how a small, young David killed the large, powerful Goliath. We look at this from the competitive aspect of the story. The good guys vs the bad guys, which is how it was then, but let me throw a spin on this familiar story.

Let’s look at David as the “small/medium” church/club and Goliath as the “large/mega” church/club. Frequently they “battle” each other looking to increase their numbers and grow their ministries. Seldom may they work together. Though they have a common goal, they treat each other as competitors. The “Goliath” may look down upon “David” and wonder what is wrong with them, why aren’t they growing? Likewise, “David” may look up at “Goliath” enviously and wonder why they aren’t being blessed in the same way.

So what would happen if David and Goliath worked together? One reason that I like Awana so much is because it breaks down denominational, and other, barriers among believers/churches. I am in a “David” (small) church and I strongly believe in partnering with other churches in ministry to more effectively reach children for Christ. While you may think that requires us to partner with larger churches, that is not always the case. For a summer camp, we currently partner with three other larger churches in the area. We are the “small” church, yet equal, and working together to run a quality camp for kids. I am commited to the camp, no matter how many children our church may have attending. Over the last few years, this has proven to be a valuable partnership. There we joined with Goliath Churches, following their lead.

Other partnerships are with another smaller church for VBS and then this year, we partnered with a larger church and brought Awana to them. “David” is running the club for this “Goliath” (not mega, but larger than us) church!! Not that we’ve slayed them, but partnered with them to reach children and it has been a blessing to both churches.

Now, here is an irony that I love to share. I was a member of a large church (600 – 800 people). One year, the Worship pastor and a few others went to visit a mega church in the area to see how they ran a contemporary service, trying to prepare for the next level for the church. About the same time, I also went to this same church, not to learn, but to assist them in running their first Awana Grand Prix – which they still run today. Now, I really don’t know if the worship team talked to anyone there, or just went and experienced the service, but the point of this is that whether another church is bigger or smaller, we can (and should) work together for the Kingdom and learn from each other. We should not be in competition with each other – except Bible Quizzing and AwanaGames – but rather, working together as able. As we work together, I truly believe that God will do great things through those partnerships. I experience it frequently.

So what do you think? Have you worked with other churches to reach the community? If not, why not, and if you do, how have you done it and how has it worked?

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