Pickett’s Mill Baptist Church hosts Awana each Wednesday night during the school year from 6:25 to 8:15 p.m. They average between 125 and 150 participants including children and youth workers, said Awana commander Kelly Durbin.
She said the church hosts the program because, “We can teach our children about God with something fun and on their level.”
They have a variety of children that come to the weekly event, Durbin said.
Those attending tend to fall into three groups: church members, children from other churches and children who do not attend church.
One way they get children to attend is by a “friend push,” when the church’s young members invite their friends, said Puggles class director Angel Foster.
Sparks class leader Alicia Easterly said Awana is the only youth outreach event she has been a part of.
“My kid loves it. She comes, she learns her verses and she uses them,” she said.
Awana is open to children from 2 years old to fifth grade. They have games and large and small group times. The church is located at 7147 Hiram-Acworth Hwy. in Dallas.
West Ridge Church at 3522 Hiram-Acworth Hwy. in Dallas hosts two programs.
Revolution is for middle school students, said middle school pastor Brad Chandler. Reckless is for high school students, said high school pastor Todd Hampton.
They meet on Wednesday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. About 50 percent of the students who attend do not go to church any other time or claim church membership, Chandler said.
In the high school group they had 272 students last week and 322 in middle school. The focus of the event is to encourage friends to attend, he said.
“It is to live your faith out,” Chandler said.
Hampton said, “It empowers the students [to invite their friends].”
They try to create a comfortable environment for the children to learn about their faith through large and small groups, games and videos.
He said the idea is to reach children who do not attend any church. However, they do not want to take students away from other churches, Hampton said.
Douglasville First United Methodist Church is working on creating a new outreach program by hosting a “fifth quarter” event, said youth director Maggie Grisetti.
She said it will be available after most of the Douglas County High School home football games. The event will allow middle and high school students to go to the church after the game.
“Hopefully we can get that going this year,” she said.
She said she wants to host the event beginning after the game and running until 11 or 11:30 p.m.
Her youth group meets on Sunday nights from 5 to 7 p.m., and averages 30 students.
Both the fifth quarter and Sunday nights gives students the ability to bring their friends, Grisetti said.