I did AWANA through 8th grade. Then our church got kicked out of AWANA by corporate because my AWANA director mom, crazy renegade that she was, had typed out all the verses in NIV and copied them to address labels and stuck them over the KJV in the official books for everyone. And she thought the uniforms were ugly and outdated so she just had t-shirts made. She was a woman ahead of her time.
In high school I did some Navigators program with a bunch of little cards with verses on different topics. I have memorized passages as an adult, but none of them have stuck like the ones I memorized as a kid. So, I am with you @mmytoboys in feeling like all that memorization I did as a child/teen served me well now that I am an adult,even though I don’t necessarily use memorized verses the way I was taught to use them, in a very “defend your faith” kind of way.
We were in the States for a year last school year and my oldest daughter did AWANA and Bible Quizzing at a church one of her friends attended. She loved it. I was annoyed they had to memorize in KJV and she did not understand half the verses. (My favorite was 1 John 1:1 in isolation: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” She was like, “Mom that’s not even a sentence.” True. Greek is friendlier to run-ons than English.) She is super quick at memorizing and I would love to continue encouraging that, but it is hard without the competition and peer group aspect.
We have done different things as part of school. One year we did the memory work assigned by the curriculum I bought. One year we memorized passages. We did a few of the most well-known Psalms, a good chunk of 2 Corinthians 15, 1 Corinthians 13, Some good chunks of the Sermon on the Mount, Colossians 1:15-23, the Lord’s Prayer, the fruit of the Spirit, the Nicene Creed.
This year I sat down and tried to come up with what I thought were core values of Christianity and we are memorizing verses that go along with them. So “Christians don’t take revenge, they pray for people who treat them badly” 1 Peter 3:9…“Christians show hospitality” Romans 12:13, “Christians generously share with those who are in need” 2 Corinthians 9:7, etc.
I had them memorize the qualifications for churchleadership in 1 Timothy 3:1-13. (Not the whole passage, just a summary of the qualifications.) We were working on it in the height of the election season. The two oldest astutely noticed that most politicians don’t qualify to be leaders in church.
I guess the one thing that makes me feel a little icky when it comes to memorizing is how often it is used for silly prooftexting games in Ev. circles. I don’t want my kids to catch on to the attitude that you can just whip out a context-free verse to win an argument or to prop up a theological assertion. (Even though, hypocritically, I sometimes enjoy playing this game on more conservative Patheos blog comment boards. Thank you AWANA. I am pretty dang good at it, too.) I am trying to emphasize that theology is something that is done in light of the whole of Scripture and with the Holy Spirit’s guidance throughout history, not something you pull together piecemeal from a smattering of verses. We are reading this series History Lives: Chronicles of the Church this year with my oldest. It has been great for showing how doctrines have developed and been challenged over time.