No one is perfect and the reason for this series of posts is to share mistakes I have made in ministry in hopes that you will learn from my mistakes, as well as my successes. If we do not learn from the past, then we are bound to repeat it. I pray that you never have to repeat this mistake I made.
Years ago, we had a young man in Sparks bring a friend and so naturally, the leaders placed him in Sparks with his friend and I guess no one asked him what grade he was in at the time. After he attended for three weeks and completed the Gate entrance booklet (now the entrance booklet is Flight 3:16) he was told he would receive his handbook. The young man was so excited that he would receive a handbook and vest.
Shortly after that happened, one of the Sparks leaders came to me and let me know that they had promised the child a handbook, but that they were in 3rd grade and should be in T&T. What should we do?
I mentioned that the child really should be in T&T since they were in 3rd grade and to talk to them and the parent to explain it. Well, that did not go over well at all as the child started crying and was very upset. I did my best to talk to the child and parent at the end of the night and I thought I did okay. I talked about T&T, showed the boy the book he would get in T&T and even let him keep it. I thought things were good when they left, but I was wrong.
The child calmed down because he got a book like he was promised earlier in the night. The parent was upset at the way it was handled and the child never returned. My heart still breaks today when I think about it.
See, in this case, it was a “young” 3rd grader and an “old” 2nd grader. While not suggested, I would have better ministered to the child and the family by allowing the child to stay in Sparks for the year, but instead, I caused them to not return. I was more focused on rules and procedures than I was on reaching the child.
Now I do still recommend that a child be in the club per their appropriate grade, but in certain situations, I would waive that aspect to reach the child.
Don’t be so focused on the “How” of club night that you forget about the “Why” of club night. Why do we have Awana? To rush through handbooks to proclaim how many children completed them? To make sure we follow routines exactly each week? To keep the children busy while the adults do the important stuff? or is it to reach the child where they are?
Each situation needs to be evaluated on its on circumstances. In a future post, I will share about how not sticking to procedure has been one of my “big” mistakes.