I know a young youth pastor who attended a seminary/Bible college a few years ago. He took a position at a church which had Trek and Journey (the Awana clubs for 6th – 12th grade). There was concern and discussion as to whether those ministries would continue. As I had discussions with him, he mentioned that one of the professors he had mentioned that they would not recommend Awana because it had not changed in over 50 years. They said it was old and outdated. The professor had not kept up with what Awana was doing because the materials were being revised.
I was surprised recently that there are still people who did not know that Awana revised T&T last year with different awards to continue to reach the 5th and 6th graders. While I might not expect the average leader to stay informed, I would hope that Commanders and directors would strive to stay informed of what Awana is doing with their club, but alas, it seems many do not.
Probably what is the most disturbing is the reaction of leaders. If you’ve ever been to the doctor and they check for reflexes by tapping your knee with a hammer, then you know what a “knee-jerk” reaction is. Generally the reflex is the foot moving forward (a “kick”). It is the same when we hear about revisions Awana makes to the material.
Many had a negative “knee-jerk” reaction to the new handbook awards, yet after seeing them and how the children responded, many have changed accepting and appreciating them. Awana is criticized for not giving enough notice and yet now as Awana shares the revisions coming to Cubbies 2 years before they are released, there is more negative “knee-jerk” reactions eventhough Awana is trying to prevent the complaints that clubs over bought and have surplus because they didn’t know, so don’t be concerned about what revisions are coming, they are still being decided and tested, just know that the revision is coming and be watching for information.
If you are passionate about Awana, then do you really want college professors telling your next children or youth pastor that Awana is old and outdated and NOT to use it? Have you seen the movies, computer graphics, etc that children are exposed to today? Do you want to keep their attention? Do you want to reach children?
Have that initial “knee-jerk” reaction, we all do (yes, even me), then take a deep breath and look at the “why” of the revision. It is not just a change to have change, or to increase revenue as some suggest, but it is a change to better reach and disciple children. Awana does value your feedback and revisions are also a part of that feedback. So let Awana know your thoughts in a constructive way and look at the many ways that God will use Awana in the future as He has in the past.