In February, we contacted Awana Club with concerns about their affiliation with and promotion of contemplative organizations such as Willow Creek, Youth Specialties, and Group Publishing. We later learned that there would be no changes made by Awana regarding these organizations. (You may read about this situation in our February news release.)
Today, we have learned that Awana is now featuring and offering a book by Saddleback Youth Pastor, Doug Fields (a regular speaker at Youth Specialties events). The book, Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry: A personal and practical guide to starting right, is published by Youth Specialties and Zondervan. Inside the book are several sidebar commentaries by various people who promote contemplative and/or emerging spirituality: Tony Campolo, the late Mike Yaconelli, Rick Warren, Marv Penner (Briercrest Biblical Seminary, Canada, Duffy Robbins, Bo Boshers (leader at Willow Creek), and others most of whom promote contemplative spirituality and the emerging church. It is important to remember that Youth Specialties has been working in conjunction with emerging church leaders for several years now and has a major role in the growth of this movement.
According to the Awana website, “Awana is the leading ministry to help local churches reach children and youth for Christ.” However, if they continue going in the contemplative/emerging direction, it may not be the biblical Jesus Christ that is being offered to kids and youth but rather another Christ and another gospel. We hope and pray they will understand how vital it is to stay away from those who teach and promote contemplative spirituality and who are engaged with the emerging church movement.