Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

End of the Year Evaluation – Did I Fail?


Another Awana ministry year is coming to an end. It is always good to take a look back at the year and evaluate how the year went. As I looked at the records for my Ultimate Adventure group, I was surprised by what I saw.

For some, completing a handbook in a year is the goal and they work extremely hard to accomplish that goal. I have always been an advocate that completing a handbook is good and should be sought, but that the number of sections completed was not important as long as they grew in knowledge of the Lord and had a deeper relationship with Him. So, as I looked over the records and noticed that about 10% of the group would probably complete a book and that several had not gotten half-way through, why did I feel guilty? Why did I feel like I failed?

Did I not motivate the clubbers enough?

Could I have encouraged the leaders more?

I know, it wasn’t my fault!

The parents are the primary spiritual influencers, it is their job to encourage their children. If they would have worked with their children in their handbooks, then they would have progressed more in their handbooks. It’s the parents fault! At least that is how some might rationalize it.

As I sat in my despair, I sought some redemption. I asked the clubbers what they had learned this past year. Their answers included learning how to listen to God, several answers to why God gave us the Bible, and much more. Five of the clubbers, about 20% said that they began to trust the Lord this past year. As they shared the things they had learned, my heart was warmed. They were learning about Jesus, even though they did not complete their handbooks.

So why did the guilt and feeling of failure remain? I think it is two-fold:

  1. The emphasis that we as Awana leaders place on handbook completion and the stigma that is there when handbooks are not completed. We place an undue pressure to have the clubbers complete handbooks and then we connect their performance with our leadership ability.
  2. Deep down we know that if the clubber works through their book and completes it, that they have learned a great deal about the things of God and stored much Scripture for future reference. We want them to do well in the books so thy can learn more about God, and a desire to know more about God reflects fruit, shows spiritual growth, and that is what we really want to see. We feel like we failed to help them grow in the Lord.

But does handbook completion by the clubbers really show success or failure?

What do you think?

How would you evaluate my club year?
(I am not seeking supportive, encouraging comments)

How would you evaluate your club year?


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