Reaching the Community for Christ Since 1834
Awana has been an ideal fit for the evangelistic approach of a North Carolina church celebrating its 175th anniversary.

Crab Creek Baptist Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina held its first service on October 11, 1834. The recent 175-year anniversary celebration focused on God’s faithfulness centered on the theme “To God Be the Glory.”

“This church stands on the gospel,” said Brad Knox, the church’s pastor. “That is why the church has stood the test of time.”Crab Creek has used Awana for 20 years as an outreach tool to its community

The 277-member church enjoys a rich history in the community, pointing thousands of people over the years to the Savior. The emphasis on evangelism and outreach makes Awana a perfect fit for the church.

“Awana has been a staple at our church ever since we started it,” said Trey Allman, who oversees Crab Creek’s Awana ministry. “The pastor that wanted to start Awana really had a burden for the children in the area. Awana really helped our church as an outreach through the years.

“Although families have come and gone, I believe a lot of the families that came to our church came for the Awana program for the kids. Then when the kids placed their faith in Christ for salvation, it drew the mothers and fathers to start coming to Sunday services and through that, they would also get saved. Awana has been very beneficial to our church over the years. God has truly blessed us.”

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, people come to Crab Creek from both sides of the mountain for weekend services and for Awana.

Twenty years of spiritual impact through Awana
Crab Creek has run Awana for 20 years. About 70 children and youth participate in the program from Puggles (ages 2 and 3) through Journey (high school). Forty adults from the congregation serve as volunteer leaders, providing a great leader-child ratio for mentoring and teaching.

“Crab Creek was one of the first churches in the region to offer Awana in the community,” Knox said. “Awana has been and is an effective tool for our church. We have five people who have served in Awana all 20 years. Many have been leaders for 13, 14 or 16 years. They are really committed to serving the Lord.

“We’ve helped a few other churches get Awana started, too.”

“Crab Creek is doing a great job up on the mountain,” said Al Schlosser, a North Carolina Awana missionary who serves Crab Creek. “They are a valuable resource. When I need to show a new church what Awana is all about, I send them to Crab Creek.”

Numerous children and teens have been invited to Crab Creek and Awana programs through personal invitations. Every fifth Sunday, the youth of Crab Creek organize an outreach event for a different subdivision in the community to raise awareness about the church and Awana.

In an effort to reach more boys and girls with Christ’s love, Allman and his volunteer team have also organized:

Generation after generation
Allman literally grew up at Crab Creek. From the age of six months, Trey has called Crab Creek his church home. He is the fifth-generation family member to attend the church. Now his 9-month-old daughter, Clara, makes it the sixth generation.

Trey is also in his fourth year overseeing Awana at Crab Creek.

“Awana has meant a lot to me,” Trey said. “I trusted Christ for salvation through the teachings of Awana. It was very influential in my life.”

Trey started in Sparks (kindergarten to second grade) and went all through high school. He earned his Citation Award in 2001, the highest achievement in Bible learning from Awana.

Reaching kids—and families—on Wednesday nights
“I had never been a part of Awana,” said Knox, who has served as pastor for a little over a year. “I was completely impressed and excited to reach children with the gospel and teach them the truths of God’s Word. We also reach families.”

This ministry season, Pastor Knox started something new for parents. After parents drop their kids off at Awana, he teaches a Bible study for moms and dads. New visitors have attended each week.

“Several new people have come to church because of Awana,” Knox said. “We are a family-oriented church, and we minister to the entire family.”

Pastor Knox’s own family benefits from Awana, too. His 7-year-old twins attend Sparks. His 4-year-old daughter participates in Cubbies (preschool).

“I love to hear them say their Bible verses,” Knox said. “I’m thrilled my kids are a part of Awana and that they’re hiding God’s Word in their hearts.”

A family changed by the power of an invitation
Trey is grateful for the many ways God has used Awana in his life. He is also thankful for how God used him in the life of his best childhood friend.

“I invited my friend to Awana, and through this ministry, he trusted Christ for salvation,” Trey said. “Then he started bringing his parents to church on Sundays and his father, who had never trusted Christ, made a decision to trust Christ. His mom was already a Christian.

“So through Awana, my friend and his family came to know Jesus. His mother still serves in our Awana program at Crab Creek, and my friend is a pastor at a church in South Carolina.”

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