Jack Eggar: Leading Awana to Influence Generations of Kids to Follow Christ

Jack Eggar

A visionary leader in children’s and family ministry
Since 1999, Jack Eggar has served as President/CEO of Awana. He has provided strategic leadership for the ministry’s efforts to equip churches and parents in raising children and youth to know, love and serve Christ. Under his guidance, Awana has expanded its impact from a total of 9,000 churches around the world in 1998 to over 22,000 as of 2011.

Knowing that parents are the key influencers in their children’s spiritual development, Jack invested vision and passion to give direction for the recent launch of the Modern-Day Joseph and Awana at Home initiatives.

“To raise a spiritual champion, it can’t be the church alone in a vacuum, nor can the parents do it alone,” Jack notes. “It’s a partnership where parents and church leaders work together for the spiritual good of that child. To create a paradigm shift where we move away from the church as the spiritual surrogate to where the church and parents partner together is going to be one of the most formidable—and exciting—tasks in the history of Awana.”

Modern-Day Joseph offers parents and church leaders a biblical plan to instill kids with long-lasting, life-defining faith and character like Joseph of the Old Testament. Awana at Home encourages and equips parents with Bible-based tools they can use for training their children spiritually, including the establishment of family nights structured similarly to Awana Clubs meetings, with a game time, handbook time and Bible learning time. Both initiatives encourage parents and churches to collaborate in kids’ spiritual development.

Jack’s story
Jack grew up in Texas and attended church regularly with his family. He participated in religious education classes at his church and was confirmed at a young age. At age 13, Jack asked his priest, “Am I going to heaven?”

The priest replied, “Of course you are. Weren’t you confirmed?”

When he learned that head knowledge was not enough to ensure his eternity, Jack made a personal decision to trust Christ when he was 17, and God transformed his heart. He soon discerned that full-time Christian ministry was God’s calling on his life. He enrolled in Bible college to begin his training.

Jack’s vast and diverse ministry experience overseas and in the U.S. prepared him for his current role at Awana. Starting in 1974, Jack and his wife, Dona, taught at a Bible college and served as youth directors at a church in California;

planted several churches and helped start a Bible college with Dr. Billy Kim in South Korea; and established a Christian leadership college in Fiji. Jack also served as pastor at churches in California and Idaho.

Jack was introduced to Awana when he returned to the U.S. to pastor a church in 1987. Jack and Dona used Awana as a tool for community outreach, bringing hundreds of kids and families to faith in Christ and sparking record growth for their church. Their involvement in Awana deepened when they helped launch Awana in the former USSR in 1992. Jack was hired as Awana international missions director in 1997 and became Awana President/CEO two years later.

A passion to engage the local church
Under Jack’s leadership, Awana has become known globally as a powerful tool for introducing children, youth and parents in the community to the good news of Christ and growing spiritually strong kids through biblical teaching.

“Awana is an outreach ministry of local churches focused centrally on evangelism and discipleship,” Jack says. “We are strategic in reaching children and youth and helping churches build a substantial bridge to the whole family.”

For 60 years, Awana has been a leader in children’s and youth ministry, providing fully integrated programs for ages 2 to 18 with proven and effective evangelism tools, discipleship resources that involve parents and churches and specialized volunteer training.

An influential voice for the church and family
Author
Jack’s writing has focused on church issues and family life:

Shaping Your Family’s Faith (2007): a modern-day parable for strengthening marriages, families and parents’ spiritual training skills
The Return of a Mighty Church (2005): biblical principles for church leadership and growth
Great and Mighty Things (2004): how the Awana vision supports churches in reaching and developing children and youth spiritually.

He has also penned two children's storybooks, Sparky Shines His Light (2009) and Sparky Frees the Flea (2010). They are part of a six-book series centering around the adventures of Sparky the firefly from the Awana Sparks club for kids in kindergarten to second grade.

Speaker
Jack is a sought-after speaker at conferences, workshops and events around the world. He travels to dozens of countries each year to motivate and encourage Awana missionaries, staff and volunteers. He is a recognized expert on challenges facing families and churches.

Jack has also been featured on radio and TV and conducted interviews with newspapers, magazines and online media, including Focus on the Family, Family Net, Moody Broadcasting and UNI News.

A commitment to raise spiritual champions
Jack and Dona are the parents of four grown children (Joshua, Justin, Jessica and Bekah), all of whom participated in Awana and follow Christ today, along with five grandchildren (Daniel, Emma, Erin, Eric and Jackson). The Eggars live in suburban Chicago. Dona heads up the Awana program at their church, and Jack is a leader in the Cubbies club for preschool-age children.

“Our kids were always a part of our ministry,” Jack reveals. “We were consistent and did not live a two-faced life—a church face and a home face. They saw and experienced our own walk with Christ. We don’t have authority over our kids now because they are grown, but we still have influence. They come to us for advice and are open and willing to listen. They see us as a treasure chest of experience and wisdom, for which we are thankful.”


It’s Amazing
What God
Has Done

Otto Melby was a carefree 13-year-old from a loving Christian family in Chicago when an unexpected event rocked his world.

When his father passed away in 1949, Otto struggled profoundly with the loss. His mother became deeply concerned as she watched her son grow increasingly confused and angry with God and those around him. It was clear to her that he needed a male mentor to fill the void left by his dad’s death.

Read More

Using Her Gifts to Serve Others in Full-Time Ministry and Awana

A few months ago, Mandy Hornbuckle’s box of Awana memories tumbled out the back of a truck going 60 miles per hour down a Texas highway. The box contained old Awana uniforms, pins and her Citation Award, the highest achievement in Awana.Mandy Hornbuckle earned the Citation Award for learning Scripture verses and truths

As the box hit the pavement, the contents scattered all along the road.

Read More


Celebrating 50-Plus Years of Faithful Awana Service

Gwendetta Albright’s 50-plus years of faithful Awana service at a church in Chicago has changed lives in hundreds of families

Gwendetta Albright grew up on the west side of Chicago. She trusted Christ for salvation at a summer camp at age 13. She then started serving as an Awana leader two years later in 1958.

Read More

First Family Church: Using Awana to Reach Kids and Parents for Christ

A few years ago, Roger Stuart’s life changed dramatically. He trusted Christ for salvation through the ministry of First Family Church in Overland Park, Kansas.The Sparks children's ministry club at First Family Church in Overland Park, Kansas

“I came to First Family Church in hopes of finding a great children's ministry for my daughter,” Roger said. “I was more concerned with her spiritual growth than my own. But listening to my pastor preach, I felt like he wasn't talking to a congregation of 2,000; he was talking to me and my own personal struggles.

Read More


Hope Amidst Hardship

For 12 years, Carlton Carty knew only intense poverty and suffering. Now, thanks to an Awana program in central Jamaica, he knows Jesus as Savior.

The first time they met, Carlton Carty made an immediate impression on Brad Rostad—but not exactly a good one.

Read More


An Oasis
of Hope

The Awana program at the only evangelical church in Gaza is extending God’s love, truth and grace to kids and families in this volatile region.

Thursday and Friday afternoons, a haggard bus drives a circuit through garbage-strewn neighborhoods in one of the world’s most volatile and densely inhabited areas of the world, where half of the population is under age 15.

Read More

31 Years of Service Brings Generations to Lasting Faith in Christ

If you’re ever looking for someone from the Wallace family, there’s a good chance you’ll find them at Harvest Bible Chapel in Lake Zurich, Illinois on Monday nights.

Every Monday starting at 5:30 p.m., four generations of Wallace family members serve in Awana. Bob, age 85, and Lucille, 82, along with their daughter Diane and granddaughter Jill, are faithful leaders in the Sparks (kindergarten through second grade) and T&T (third to sixth grade) clubs. A great-grandson, Brayden, is only 1 and stays in the nursery but is certain to someday be in Puggles (for 2- and 3-year-olds).

Read More


The Model Awana Leader

Jim Barker was facing a dim future when his aunt brought him out of the backwoods of Tennessee to live in Chicago during the Great Depression.

Jim resided in one of the poorest sections of the city. He was painfully shy. He had a meager educational background. He wasn't good at sports. His Southern accent made him a target for insults. He didn't own a car and rarely had money in his pocket.

Read More


Baseball Continues To Be a Tool to Proclaim the Gospel

Alvin Davis has hit his share of home runs over the years. As first baseman for the Seattle Mariners from 1984 to 1991, Alvin racked up 160 home runs and batted .280 in 1,206 games. He homered in his first two big-league games and once belted a grand slam with both Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. on base. Alvin Davis played eight seasons and made the All-Star team with the Seattle Mariners

Alvin was named 1984 American League Rookie of the Year and was also selected that year for the All-Star Game. He was the first inductee into the Seattle Mariners Hall of Fame in 1997.

Read More

Committed
to Awana and Helping Their Own Kids Develop Lasting Faith

You may know what it’s like to get one or two kids ready for Awana and to church on time. But can you imagine getting six kids organized and out the door?

The Pilgrim family lives in Huntsville, Alabama, and all six children participate in Awana at Whitesburg Baptist Church every Sunday night:

Read More


Building a Worldwide Kids’ Ministry From the Ground up

Art Rorheim is co-founder of Awana. Art built Awana from the ground up from its early days as a weekly club program at the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago.

Art was introduced to youth and children’s ministry in 1935 at age 17 when Lance Latham, his church’s pastor, asked him to serve as a club leader at the North Side Gospel Center.

Read More

Leading Awana to Influence Generations of Kids to Follow Christ

Since 1999, Jack Eggar has served as President/CEO of Awana. He has provided strategic leadership for the ministry’s efforts to equip churches and parents in raising children and youth to know, love and serve Christ. Under his guidance, Awana has expanded its impact from a total of 9,000 churches around the world in 1998 to over 22,000 as of 2011.

Knowing that parents are the key influencers in their children’s spiritual development, Jack invested vision and passion to give direction for the recent launch of the Modern-Day Joseph and Awana at Home initiatives.

Read More