As the Awana year begins, we may set goals of how many clubbers we desire to complete a handbook. This is a standard that many use to gauge if their club is successful. By using this standard, I believe that we will find very few clubs, if any, that have a 100% handbook completion rate among clubbers. The stats I received from Awana about 5 years ago were that 65% of Cubbies completed a handbook in a year, 60% of Sparks completed a handbook in a year, and a staggering 33% of T&T clubbers completed a handbook in a year. While some may use these stats to argue a particular viewpoint, the truth of the matter is that there are several variables that factor into these results:
- Parental Involvement
- The child’s development, learning abilities, reading ability, etc
- Individual Motivation
- The leader
- their understanding of the material
- their understanding of the child
- their personal commitment to learn the material
- their desire to disciple the child, not just listen to, and help memorize verses
- Personal life, family, school, friends….
I will not spend time focusing on the reasons why, but I want you to realize that you will have clubbers who simply will not finish a book in a club year. They may even go for weeks not completing any sections. Do we count them as failures? How do we view these children who do not met our expectations?
My goal for some children is for them to complete the book.
For others, it is that they complete the handbook as well as the extra credit.
And for some, my goal is that they attend each week to hear the things of God and experience true Christian love without completing any sections at all (at least in the beginning).
My goal for all children in my club is that they walk closer to God at the end of the year than they did at the beginning. That their love for God and desire to serve Him is stronger at the end of the year than it is at the beginning. This will look different for each child, and for each leader.
I want to leave you with this thought….. think of a soccer stadium with the soccer ball on one end of the field and the goal at the far end. As the Awana year begins, we present this goal at the far end to the clubbers. Some are challenged and begin to “dribble” the ball and move down the field with skill. Others begin to move the ball but lose control, struggling to regain it. still some see the goal too far away cannot envision themselves reaching the goal, and still others do not even know how to begin moving the ball down the field.
Do you have the same expectations for all of the children with varying abilities?
I want to encourage you to take the time to reach out to that child who does not even know how to begin to kick the ball. The one staring at the handbook not knowing Who God is, not ever hearing the name of Jesus, having never seen a Bible.
I want you to realize that there are children who grew up in the church, in your Awana club, that do not know how to study the Bible, how to have a quiet time with the Lord…. how to begin to kick that ball to work towards that goal that you have set before them. Will you teach them the basics, reach them where they are, or will you see them as failures for not making the goal?
As we come to the end of the Awana year, what goals have you placed on the clubbers in your care? Do you have realistic goals for your clubbers?
If you need to make changes in your goals for the clubbers, it is not too late. Help them to have a closer walk with Jesus, wherever they may be on the field.