Pilgrim's Progress
High-School Ministry Directors Committed to Awana and Helping Their Own Kids Develop Lasting Faith
in Christ

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 All of the Pilgrim family's children participate in Awana from age 2 to high schoolthe door?

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

Parents Allen and Cristy participate in Awana as Journey (high-school) directors. Allen also serves as the Sparks game director.

“It’s not a chore for my kids to learn and memorize God’s Word,” Cristy said. “They really enjoy it. The verses we’re all learning are building a great foundation of biblical truths that will sustain their relationship with God into adulthood.

“I also like the consistency year after year and how the material builds each year.”

The Pilgrim children are homeschooled. Allen and Cristy see a connection between their academic progress and Bible memorization.

“I notice that the more the kids memorize verses, the easier it gets for memorization in general,” Cristy explained. “It carries over to other areas, like memorizing the Gettysburg Address.”

Training the next generation to build an enduring faith
After serving in Sparks the past nine years, Allen and Cristy made the jump from teaching kindergarten- to second-grade boys and girls to ministering to high-school students.

“We averaged about 70 Sparkies and it was very loud and fun,” said Allen, who served for 20 years in the Army as an aviator flying Black Hawk helicopters and is now a civilian engineer with Army aviation. “We serve about 25 teenagers and our church emphasizes the importance of giving youth opportunities to be leaders.

“We offer Leader-in-Training (LIT) roles for the youth who serve in the Awana programs. They also have the option of joining the praise band or puppet team and can minister to the younger kids during Large Group Time. It gives students a chance to use their gifts to serve others and apply their God-given talents.”

Allen’s and Cristy’s shared passion for kids makes a difference in their church.

“Allen and Cristy are totally committed to serving the kids in our church,” said Merlin Dummer, who oversees Awana at Whitesburg. “Their energy level is incredible. They have an endless passion to minister to kids.”

In the church’s first year offering Journey, son Nick enjoys having his parents as leaders.

“I think he likes knowing the inside scoop,” Allen explained. “It’s also a great leadership opportunity for him working with the younger-age Awana programs.”

Making faith a priority
With six kids involved in a variety of activities, Allen and Cristy make Awana a family priority.

“I see busy families who get caught up with sports or other activities but don’t have time to learn God’s Word,” Cristy said. “I’m thankful that Awana is a tool we can use to plug this important part into our family.”

Both Allen and Cristy grew up in strong Christian homes and know the value of developing a vibrant faith at a young age. They know it is God’s plan for them as parents to be the primary spiritual influencers in their kids’ lives. They’re committed to doing just that with help from their church and Awana.


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