by Wynne Love | photos by Spark Photography

Debra and Michael Sims work hard at their jobs and cherish time with their family, but they also answer to a higher calling— training children to serve God through the Awana program.

“Awana helps churches and parents work together to develop spiritually strong children and youth who faithfully follow Jesus Christ,” shared Michael, who serves as commander and pastor of Maranatha’s Awana program. “Our goal is to reach boys and girls with the gospel of Christ and to train them to serve Him.”

The Sims are proud to be a part of such a powerful program. Awana has classes for kids aged three through high school in all 50 states and in 109 countries. “Maranatha Chapel hosts one of the largest Awana groups in southern California,” stated Michael. “Our clubs and programs make scripture memorization fun and are geared to the needs of a range of ages and grades. And Awana works!”

Debra and Michael have been members of Maranatha Chapel since it first opened in 1984. They learned about Awana when their own children participated in the program. Debra got involved, serving as secretary, and soon Michael joined as game director. “Two years later we were approached to take over as commanders,” recalled Michael. “We loved the idea of serving together in ministry and said yes!”

Seventeen years later, Debra serves as co-commander & club administrator, Michael as commander and pastor, and they are now both camp directors for the Southwestern Leadership CampSpark 27 volunteer - sims  164. The most rewarding part of their work is “seeing lives changed for the glory of God,” noted Michael. “We are honored when kids see that a life of faith in Christ has far more worth than anything this world can offer.”

Michael is a CRWA (California Rural Water Association) training specialist. Debra works at Poway High School in the kitchen. Married 31 years this past Valentine’s, the couple now have four grown children and seven grandchildren. “We are very family-oriented,” shared Michael. They enjoy hosting gatherings, taking short trips on a friend’s Harley, and playing rounds of golf. But they get special satisfaction from their work with the kids in Awana. “To see them stand by their own biblical convictions,” mused Michael, “is a blessing that cannot be compared to anything this life has to offer.” To find out more about the program, visit the Maranatha Chapel website at

Profile Information

Name: Michael and Debra Sims
Age: 54 and 53
Community: Poway, Casa Real homes in south Poway
Occupation: Michael, CRWA Training Specialist; Debra works for PUSD at Poway High School
Family: Married 31 years. Four children and seven grandkids.
Hobbies: Hiking, swimming in our pool, volleyball, Charger games from the comfort of home and a nice round of golf.

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Name of Group: Maranatha Chapel Awana Clubs; Southwestern Leadership Camp for San Diego/Imperial County
Group's Purpose:Our goal is to reach boys and girls with the gospel of Christ and to train them to serve Him, disciple them in God’s Word.
Michael & Debra, 858-748-3317