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Ruhama ‘excited’ about new AWANA programcomment (0)

December 24, 2009

Ruhama Baptist Church, Fort Payne, introduced AWANA in September and saw an astounding response immediately.

Kathy Nellis, the church’s children’s director, had hoped to have 13 volunteers to get the program going but ended up with 28. With about 100 people in attendance on Sundays, this volunteer turnout was huge. “It’s been such a blessing for our church,” Nellis said. “It’s ... awakened them a little bit, gotten them excited about something.”

Each Wednesday, about 50 children — toddlers through high schoolers — attend AWANA, which Nellis describes as a mini-Vacation Bible School. During the one-and-a-half hour session, the children have time for memorizing Scripture, games and large group time, with Bible study and stories. But programs that target children are nothing new for Ruhama Baptist.

For the past five or six years, Ruhama, along with other DeKalb Baptist Association churches, has participated in a release time Bible study program. With parents’ permission, students from the school across the street from Ruhama sacrifice their physical education time once a week to come to the church for a Bible study.

“The AWANA and the release time have been feeding off each other,” said Pastor Chris Murdock. “When things like that start to happen, it generates a lot of interest in other age groups. In two months, we’ve had 12 additions.”

Not all of them have been children.

“One child (involved in AWANA) was baptized, and her mother and aunt didn’t go to church, but once they came to the church to talk to the pastor about the child’s baptism, they ended up being baptized, too,” Nellis said.

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