Friday, March 4, 2011

Why I am passionate about Awana

I’d like to take a break from my generally technology-oriented postings to talk about something else I am passionate about.  I spend a great deal of my personal time involved in my local church – using my career skills to support our technology needs, yes, but also teaching youth Sunday School, and running our Awana kids’ program.

I heard someone say yesterday that once the Baby Boomers die off, so will religion. I disagree with his reasoning – that an “enlightened” new generation has discovered religion is merely a way of controlling the unenlightened – but embedded in his statement is a nugget of truth. Christianity is, always has been, and always will be, one generation removed from extinction. Faith in Christ is an intensely personal decision. My parents’ faith shaped me, but does not save me. My grandparents’ faith is a powerful example to me – but it is not my faith. I will one day have to meet Jesus face to face and make an accounting for my decision – not my parents’ decision, not my grandparents’ decision.

So what does that have to do with my teaching children? Quite a lot, actually. My faith in Christ is secure – but it is my faith. Just as I will have to give an account for my decision regarding Jesus, my children, and the kids I teach in Awana, and the youth I teach in Sunday School, will have to give their own account. My faith will not save them. I pour my heart into 30-40 elementary kids every week (at times making a fool of myself!) because they are the future of the Church (“Big C” church, not necessarily my local congregation). I pray for the thousands of kids they go to school with. Philippians 2:10 says that one day, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Our option is to either do so now, when it is our choice, or to do it later, when we have no choice.

My passion is to get as much of God’s word as I can, as deep as I can, into the hearts of as many children as I can – so they can have the knowledge to make it their faith. That’s not to say I turn my back on people my age, but this is the ministry God has put a passion in my heart for at this stage in my life.

If you are in the Austin area and have kids, I invite you to join me for Awana Wednesday nights, at First Baptist Church of Dripping Springs. We meet for dinner at 5:45pm, with Awana from 6:30 until 8:00. There is no cost to participate in Awana at FBCDS. Our club is for preschool (age 3) through 6th grade (we also have childcare for younger kids, as well as services for junior high / high school and adults).

First Baptist Church
203 West Highway 290
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Do you have something to add? A question you'd like answered? Think I'm out of my mind? Join the conversation below, reach out by email at david (at), or hit me up on Twitter at @dnlongen

Whois David?

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I have spent the better part of two decades in information technology and security, with roots in application developer support, system administration, and network security. My specialty is cyber threat intelligence - software vulnerabilities and patching, malware, social networking risks, etc. In particular, I strive to write about complex cyber topics in a way that can be understood by those outside the infosec industry.

Why do I do this? A common comment I get from friends and family is that complex security topics give them headaches. They want to know in simple terms how to stay safe in a connected world. Folks like me and my peers have chosen to make a profession out of hacking and defending. I've been doing this for the better part of two decades, and so have a high degree of knowledge in the field. Others have chosen different paths - paths where I would be lost. This is my effort to share my knowledge with those that are experts in something else.

When not in front of a digital screen, I spend my time raising five rambunctious teens and pre-teens - including two sets of twins. Our family enjoys archery, raising show and meat rabbits, and simply enjoying life in the Texas hill country.

For a decade I served as either Commander or a division leader for the Awana Club in Dripping Springs, Texas; while I have retired from that role I continue to have a passion for children's ministry. At the moment I teach 1st through 3rd grade Sunday School. Follow FBC Dripping Springs Kids to see what is going on in our children's ministries.