A big part of my childhood was the Awana Club at ULBC. Awana stands for “Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed,” which comes from:
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Awana is all about Bible memorization. Each year we’d get a new workbook, full of verses to memorize. You would “advance” in the club by memorizing more and more Bible verses. I was in Awana from first grade to eighth grade, so I had a lot of Bible verses I had to memorize.
Life in the evangelical church is living in a giant bubble that’s had decades to form. For nearly everything in the world, there’s an evangelical version of it that exists only inside the bubble. Awana is one of those things.
Awana is the evangelical version of the Boy and Girl Scouts. It has little uniforms that are almost exactly like the Boy and Girl Scout uniforms, only a bit different. If you were to see a group of Awana kids, you might mistakenly think it was a group of Scouts.
We had our own versions of everything, even the Pinewood Derby. Our version was called the “Awana Grand Prix,” and the rules were exactly the same. The body of the cars were exactly the same, as was the track.
The techniques Awana uses are super effective. I can still recall some of the verses I was forced to memorize back then as a child, even if I don’t really want to today.