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I’ll Walk This Walk With You

Is there a child in your life? Someone you want to see do well and thrive? Yes? Then I have a question for you. What would you say is the most important predictor in whether or not that child will do well in the world? In your opinion is it parents, education, economic opportunity or something else?


Chris Dunrud, one of our great leaders at Awana, recently sent this Dr. Phil quote to me:


The #1 outcome in predicting whether a child is going to do well in this world or not…it’s not education, it’s not money, it’s not home. It is whether or not the child has an adult to put an arm around his/her shoulders and say, “I’ll walk this walk with you.”


Wow! I love it when he quotes me! OK . . . you’re right. There’s no way he quoted me. But seriously, I do love it when I hear echoes of things God has laid on our hearts at Awana being said by others. It’s affirming. And I am starting to hear this echo in many places.


How do we at Awana describe the most important predictor of whether or not a child will do well in the world? We agree that the presence of a caring adult can mitigate other circumstances in a child’s life, like poverty, fractured families or homelessness. But the presence of a caring adult is more than that. Much more. It is actually one of the two pillars of discipleship. When the presence of a caring adult is combined with Bible engagement—memorization, not just knowledge of Bible stories—a foundation for discipleship is laid down in childhood that leads to becoming fully-devoted followers of Christ.


That arm around a child’s shoulder, that high-five, being known by name and being looked at in the eye, being helped to memorize a Scripture or listened to intently by an adult who is your cheerleader says to a child, “I’ll walk this walk with you.”


Your father has abandoned you? God and I will walk this walk with you.

Your mother is dying from cancer? God and I will walk this walk with you.

You’re struggling in school? God and I will walk this walk with you.

You’re being bullied, left out or shunned? God and I will walk this walk with you.


As children gather all around the world this year, 450,000 caring adults are waiting to put their arms around the shoulders of 4.3 million children and walk the walk to Jesus with them through Awana.


And these adults are more. They are child champions. They are disciple makers. And that will make all the difference in these precious children’s lives.


And you can quote me on that Dr. Phil!

Valerie Bell

As CEO, Valerie Bell will steward the high-level direction of the ministry while meeting with ministry advocates, church leaders, donors and ministry partners. Additionally, she will champion the ministry of Awana for the children of the world through her writing and speaking. Valerie brings to Awana an extensive background in leadership. For years she was on the leadership team and producer of The Chapel of the Air radio ministry and the 50 Day Spiritual Adventure. She served on the MOPS International board for seven years, including several years as chairperson. She is a lifelong advocate for children and families and has authored books on those topics including Nobody’s Children: Getting Out of Your Kids’ Faces and Into Their Hearts and Faith Shaped Kids.

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