Shortly after I wrote this post, Awana did contact the developers of the two long-standing record-keeping products. People involved with the club tech project (now called Mozo) took the time to travel to meet with each of the developers for several hours sharing their vision and listening to the developers’ thought and concerns. The meetings were amicable and all parties left with a greater understanding of the “other side”. Awana has also begun to acknowledge these products by name.
As I noted in the original post, I know that the people leading Awana have a true desire to reach boys and girls with the Gospel of Christ. It is their passion. Over the years, some personnel has changed and there is now a greater acceptance, and understanding, of technology which did not exist for many years.
In this instance, Awana may have made a miss-step in the beginning, but they have worked to correct that. They have addressed my concerns and disappointment in the original post and for that, Awana is to be commended.
On November 20, 2014, Awana introduced the new Awana club technology on their blog. It is exciting how they seem to plan to integrate communication, Awana information, and record keeping into one package. How this all looks, and functions, is yet to be seen. These are exciting times as they look into providing technology for clubs to allow leaders to focus on reaching kids and making administration easier and it has only taken them about 20 years to initiate this step.
The one disappointing thing for me personally about this introduction is this statement:
While other digital recordkeeping tools exist, the Awana solution meets your needs like none other.
There have been two record keeping products which have stood the test of time with thousands of clubs using them. They have worked to meet the local Awana club’s need for digital record keeping since they began offering their products, filling a void that clubs were desperately seeking. Clubs have sought this so much that other record keeping solutions have recently become available to clubs as options (from other sources, not Awana). Through the years, Awana has never publicly recognized, nor endorsed, third party record keeping databases designed specifically for Awana clubs. I once encouraged Awana to recognize them and several years ago I was told that Awana would. It saddens me that when Awana does finally publicly recognize them, they seem to be called inferior products.
I understand that business plays a factor in any ministry, I am personally disappointed that Awana did not consult with the two developers that have assisted Awana clubs for over a decade meeting the local clubs’ need, desire, for digital record keeping.
I would offer this open letter to Awana (Yes I know that people from Awana receive my weekly e-mail and posts):
There are two long-standing digital record keeping database products available that clubs have asked for and used for over a decade meeting a need you could not meet. I would simply ask that you contact them, consult with them and listen to their advice, if at this point they are willing to cooperate with you.
If this is purely business, acknowledge that. I know that at the core, Awana seeks to reach children and youth for Jesus and digital record keeping has been proven effective in meeting that goal.
As you reach out to churches, and others, to help you accomplish your goal, your vision, of reaching children & youth, I would hope that you would consult with others who have met a need you chose not to meet for several years in this endeavor.
Whatever you choose, my prayer is that God is glorified.
In closing, I have met several Awana missionaries and people working at Awana Headquarters. I know that their heart is to reach children and youth, I do not question that. I am simply disappointed that people working on this endeavor have chosen a path to not recognize the work these developers have done to meet a need that clubs were seeking two decades ago, that Awana chose not to meet.
Please take a moment and encourage the developers of the software product you use. Comment below and share how the record keeping software you use has been a blessing to your club and met your needs, helping you to better reach children & youth for Jesus.