How to Execute a Successful Verse-a-thon
Raise funds for your club and support the Texas Awana Missionaries!
Introduction (Testimony of an Awana leader)
Commander Tim’s Awana Club runs as a “self funded” ministry of the church and there were no additional funds available for growth and outreach. Commander Tim quickly realized that funding for the Awana Club or any special events would need to be done within the club… but what?
Over the years, his club tried many fundraisers. They collected aluminum cans, had garage sales, and took donations. But as the club was raising more money, God was also increasing the number of children who came to the Awana Club. On top of that, Commander Tim also felt the Lord leading the club to help support the local Awana Missionaries. What could be done?
Then one day, Commander Tim was talking to a director from another club. When he mentioned his frustration, she told him about how successful their Verse-a-Thon was. After hearing their story, Tim approached the pastor of Youth Ministries at his church and proposed the idea. With his approval, Commander Tim announced at the start of the year their club would have a Verse-a-Thon!
So What’s Verse-a-Thon?
The club would raise money by having the clubbers do what leaders have been training them to do all year—recite scripture! But the Verse-A-Thon even goes deeper than this. In order to prepare for the event, the clubbers would need to review verses, solicit pledges, and actually recite their verses on a special club night. While soliciting the pledges, the children will be publicizing Awana, and proclaiming the gospel.
How well did it work?
The actual results from Commander Tim’s Verse-A-Thon was:
- A Total of 1352 verses quoted from memory in one evening.
- Donated over $2000 to the Awana missionaries, Adopt-A-Club, to the church, to another missionary, and set aside money for financial aid, and leader training & uniforms.
- The awareness level of Awana was raised significantly.
- Several new leaders were found because of the publicity generated.
- An anonymous family got excited about this and for the past several years has offered to make a matching donation up to $1,000 to the Verse-A-Thon.
So how did they do it?
· First the church had to decide who would participate. Commander Tim decided that every child and every leader would participate and receive a certificate. Since it was our goal to get all clubbers participating in evangelism and scripture memory, we should have all clubbers support these things. And who better to set an example that the leaders?
· Commander Tim also decided that we would not limit the Verse-a-Thon to just “Awana” verses. All Bible verses would be allowed. The child or leader was only required to know where the verse was in their handbook or in their Bible.
· Extra listeners were needed. Knowing that he wanted to do this on a “normal” club night for maximum participation, Commander Tim would need extra listeners for the evening. This would force him to publicize the event to the church, requesting additional help.
· To help the shy child "ask" for a pledge, we placed our Awana leaders around the foyer of the church after Sunday morning service with a couple of children each carrying their pledge envelope, pen, and a clipboard. The adult would introduce the child to the prospective donor and encourage the prospect to donate $10 per verse. This super-high amount would “break the ice” and get the conversation going. Usually the donor would give $10 or more to the child on the spot as a fixed amount.
· To motivate the children and their families, Commander Tim gave a raffle ticket for every $50 turned in for a chance to win four movie tickets and $20 spending money (A $50 value when using Costco movie passes). Many times, the parents would "round up" the donation to get it to the next $50 level. A winner was drawn during the opening flag ceremony the week after the envelopes were due.
- Participation Prizes were given at the Award Ceremony.
- Commander Tim also recited verses that night. There was a competition going—every clubber or leader who said more verse than Commander Tim was eligible for a “Nacho Party” at the end of the year. Commander Tim was no slouch—he planned nearly 100 verses to recite. Clubbers would have to study to celebrate!
- The individual club (Sparks, Trek, etc) also earned a “Nacho Party” the following week.
On the flyer for the Verse-A-Thon, Commander Tim listed some passages that many of the clubbers and leaders already know to “get them thinking” about scripture they already knew:
- Gen. 1:1
- The Lord’s Prayer (7 verses)
- John 3:14-17 (4 verses)
- 23rd Psalm (6 verses)
- Verses out of Awana Handbooks
- Truth Scripts passages
Commander Tim’s Tips for a successful Verse-A-Thon
· Choose a club night during the AwanaTexas “Week of a Million Verses” for your Verse-A-Thon. We encourage you to celebrate the next week with a party!
· Design or Update Printed Materials for listener sign ups, sponsor envelopes, and some suggested verses.
· Publicize! Publicize! Publicize!
· Recruit Listeners—this is vital. Verses were said during Handbook Time, Large Group Time, and if needed, during Game Time.
· Distribute Flyers and Envelopes at Club to participants at least 3-4 weeks in advance.
Two Weeks Before the Big Night
· Have a table at church for clubbers/potential donors to "meet" so clubbers can get sponsors.
· Announce in Church during Sunday Service, bulletin, etc.
· Confirm your volunteer help, via e-mail, text messaging, or phone call.
The Night of the Event
· Have an advance meeting with new listeners before club starts. Explain two helps, etc.
· Distribute record keeping sheets to every leader and listener. Make sure to have extras!
· Discuss Rules/Print Rules on back of listening sheets. Explain again to all clubbers before the verse recitation begins!
· Escort participants to “Listening rooms”—six to eight clubbers at a time. Keep them busy!
· Children and leaders with large quantities FIRST! It is going to be a long night!
· Have some constructive activity for the clubbers who don’t have a lot of verses prepared for that night that encourages scripture memory. Do “Sword Drills”, Bible Jeopardy, or other fun games that involve scripture.
The Weeks Following the Event
· Collect Money - Have a table at church foyer where donors can drop off the pledges they made.
· Keep good records! Have accurate totals ready before collecting funds.
· Deposit funds immediately upon receipt. Have someone (secretary, etc) double check for accountability purposes.
· Announce Results, both at church, following club night, and at end of the year Award Ceremony.
· Announce total verses said by clubbers, total verses said by leaders, overall total, and money raised for Awana.
· Get prepared for the “Nacho Party” the following club week. Some things you want to recognize are:
ü Most Verses per club (Cubbies, Sparks, etc.)
ü Most Money per club (overall)
ü Most Verses individual –both clubber and leader
ü Most Money raised per individual
ü Clubbers and leaders who recited more verses than Commander Tim
· Participants get pledges before the Verse-A-Thon
ü Fixed amount (easiest). Can be $10 for participating or if they say more than a certain amount of sections (for example, if a clubber completes 50 verses, they sponsor for $10, etc).
ü Per Verse. Can be as low as $0.10 a verse, or as high as you want to go!
· Decide on verses to quote. Encourage handbook verses, long passages, and Truth Scripts.
· Say Verses!
· Collect and turn in pledges by due date, typically one week after Verse-A-Thon.
· EVERYONE can participate, including parents! Clubbers and leaders are required to participate. (Note: Encourage your pastor to participate!)
· 2 helps per verse.
· Clubbers and leaders should arrive with a list of verses/handbooks ready.
· ANY Bible verse allowed
· Arrive with Bible and/or Awana book(s)
· Find verse, then quote
· It is OK to have the listener say the reference and let the child repeat it since many times, the child is saying random verses and doesn't know what is written down next on his sheet. Clubbers should be expected to say the reference first, recite the verse, then conclude with the reference again.
· When Money is raised:
ü All money goes to General Verse-A-Thon Account.
ü Keep accurate records! This is very important.
ü First, pay general expenses associated with the Verse-A-Thon for flyers, publicity, “Nacho Party”, etc.
ü Second, take the remaining money and split it in half.
ü Half of the money raised goes to support the ministry of the local club. This can be for events (AwanaGames, Bible Quiz, etc), trainings, uniforms, Adopt-A-Club, or whatever your Awana Club decides.
ü The other half of the money raised goes to the AwanaTexas state account to support the local Awana Missionaries in Texas as they reach kids for Christ!
How to Send Funds Raised to the Missionaries
· Notify Taylor Lassiter at TaylorL@awana.org that your church has participated in the Verse-A-Thon and will be mailing funds.
· Make checks Payable to “Awana” and note “Texas 101: Verse-A-Thon” in the memo
· DO NOT send money to Awana HQ in Illinois!
Mail Checks payable to Awana Clubs International.
The memo portion should read “Texas 101: Verse-A-Thon”.
12337 Langley Hill Drive
Keller, TX 76244
· A successful Verse-a-thon can meet your goals of raising money for your club and supporting your Texas Awana Missionaries!
· It will help your club recruit more leaders!
· Kids and Leaders will memorize God’s Word!
· It can be more successful than you imagine!