This year, Awana made the move to revamp T&T to try to reach the 5th & 6th graders who were dropping out of clubs. Yes, the change brought much controversy as Awana tried to communicate to clubs, but some clubs were not aware of the revisions until late. It also seems that T&T has been in a state of change ever since it was introduced 8 years ago.
Change is difficult, especially as we, as leaders, need to learn how to implement the change effectively to reach the children with minimal confusion.
Change is also difficult for Awana. I summarize it as the Ultimate Challenge. Estimating how many supplies are required and trying to have them on hand for clubs to use. Unfortunately, Awana did not do well as some supplies have run out and clubs are waiting to receive them. Mainly the new Ultimate Challenge Jersey Uniforms. Yes, even I am waiting for the youth sizes that I ordered and I have given a clubber an adult small to wear until the proper size arrives.
I mentioned to a fellow commander today that the move Awana made to try to keep “tweens” interested, may be working the opposite way as they earn, but cannot receive their uniform jersey because they are not available.
Now, I am a pretty easy going guy and my solution was to provide adult smalls, which were available, until the youth sizes arrive. I do have a small club so it is not as big a financial burden as it might be for other clubs.
So, instead of putting a negative spin on it, let’s try to think positive. There are more 5th and 6th graders involved in Awana than Awana may have realized. That means that the local church is having an impact via Awana to reach, disciple and maintain them in club. Maybe we are not losing as many as some thought, or maybe seeing the new uniforms and materials is motivating them to stay involved (although I realize that not having them available may be a detriment).
While the transition has not been as smooth as many would have liked, and even though I have not specifically spoken to anyone at Awana HQ about the shortages, I do know several there, and I am sure that they are more troubled by the shortage than we are on the front lines of ministry and they are doing all they can to fulfill orders to get clubbers the uniforms and supplies they have earned and are eager to receive.
It hurts, and I have personally endured wondering if I would have the uniforms and supplies I needed for club. So as a former President said, “I feel your pain” and so does the staff at Awana. Let’s rejoice in the knowledge that so many are being reached for Jesus and look for Awana to fulfill all of the orders and have stock on hand to meet future orders soon. Keep the Awana staff in your prayers as they try to meet this Ultimate Challenge and get supplies to all who need them. As well as praying for others in the local clubs as they serve to reach these children and explain that they need to wait for the uniforms.
So, being about 1/4 of the way through the Awana year, how are you handling the transition to the new format, uniforms and awards? Has the transition been as you expected? How have your clubbers responded? How are you meeting this Ultimate Challenge?