AWANA

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by NANA, Feb 2, 2006.

  1. NANA

    NANA
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    Can anyone tell me exactly what AWANA is? I was raised in the Baptist church and grew up being a Sunbeam and a GA. Suddenly AWANA is being pushed on my granddaughter (9 years old). She LOVES GAs and in active in Sunday school and Children's Church. I only joined her church last year and AWANA was new to them at that time. The leader of AWANA conducts a 2-hour session on Sunday evenings. My granddaughter prefers Gas. This lady is ostracizing her by being curt and almost rude to my precious grandchild. GAs are 1-hour sessions on Wednesdays. What can you tell me to convince me AWANA is better than GAs? I had never even heard of AWANA until I joined this Baptist church. I have always been Baptist and still never heard of it.
    I will appreciate any insight from anyone.
    Thanks
    Nana
     
  2. USN2Pulpit

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    First of all, having Awana doesn't preclude having G.A's. Second, encourage your grand-daughter to take part - just try it and see. It is an excellent program that emphasizes the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as memorization of the Word of God. The program consists of three parts each meeting night: game time, book time, and council time.

    Some kids get intimidated at first during game time, but as they go along, they loosen up and begin to have fun with it. Book time is when they break off the girls from the boys into age-appropriate groups, where they concentrate on scripture memorization and also their leaders get to spend quality time with them. Then there's "council time." That is where the entire big group comes together for singing and a bible message tailored for children.

    I don't know about other clubs, but at my church, we emphasize the truth of the Word, the gospel message, the love of God, and right living to these children - and they respond! If your grand-daughter is a part of this program, please give it a chance...and encourage her to put effort in.

    Many kids are put off by the need to memorize scripture in order to "advance" through the program. If you would help her, sit down with her and help her practice her memory verses...you will see what a good program it is.
     
  3. bapmom

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    Hi Nana! Welcome to the Board!

    I agree with USN2....AWANA is a very good program, which teaches tons of verse memorization. The way that one lady is acting towards your granddaughter ought to be dealt with properly, she's not acting right if she really is ostracizing her. But don't let that impact your opinion of the AWANA program itself.

    Its a very effective program, and when done right can have a very good impact on the life of a child.
     
  4. Filmproducer

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    I grew up with AWANA and it was great. I would always compete with my sisters to see who could get the most patches, and/or ribbons and awards. I always considered myself to have the upper hand because I was older. Boy was I surprised when my sister got so irritated with me that she memorized 2 whole chapters of Psalms. (She was eight at the time) We still laugh about it.

    USN pretty much explained it. At our church we would frequently have get togethers with our leaders, and once every six months all the girls and their respective leaders would have some kind of "special" outing. I would suggest you look into being an AWANA leader. My mom was, although I was never in her group.

    Also, I would suggest talking to the leader to find out her side of the story. Maybe your granddaughter misunderstood the leader, or is over exaggerating the situation. This might help you help your granddaughter cope with the change a little better. If you find the woman was actually rude you could talk to your granddaughter about not giving up on the program because of the leader. I don't know the size of your church, but if it is large enough you could talk to her parents about possibly moving her to another group with a different leader better suited to her personality.

    [ February 02, 2006, 11:40 AM: Message edited by: Filmproducer ]
     
  5. Debby in Philly

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    In answer to the OP, AWANA isn't Baptist of any Association or Convention. It has no denominational affiliation. Up here, all sorts of both Baptist and independent churches have it.

    Personally, I grew up in Girl Scouts, back when churches didn't have "midweek" programs on Wednesday nights, they had prayer meeting.
     
  6. NANA

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    Thanks, y'all. I do have a better understanding of what AWANA is after reading your information. My granddaughter has attended AWANA meetings at our church (approximately 300 members)as well as GAs. She says she doesn't like AWANA but loves GAs. She has been a Principal's Scholar straight A student since K-3. She actually was attending Christian school at 2 years old! She is smart and sweet. She is a Christian and gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. She dances competitively in ballet, jazz and Production. She has many-faceted talents. It is not that she shies away from memorization or anything like that. She is very competitive and always tries to be "the best" at everything. She has many friends at church in AWANA and GAs. I actually feel as if a 2-hour session on Sunday nights is a little long. We don't get out of church until around 12:30. After lunch (mostly eating out on Sundays) it is around 2:30. Since we live 45 minutes from the church we need to leave at 4:15 to get back in time for AWANA. These kids don't have any time in between it seems. The lady leader of AWANA brought it to our church when she came (prior to my joining the church myself). She is not trying to dissuade my grandchild from GAs - she encourages both. But, again, she singled my grandchild out after Sunday school last week and almost virtually chewed her out (no exaggeration) for missing 2 Sunday nights of AWANA. My daughter intends to talk with her when she sees her to ask if she would kindly address any issues with her rather than her child. I think this is a good way to handle it but...I still would like your thoughts on 2-hour sessions on Sunday night for children as young as 7, 8 and 9 years old. The lady in question is the only AWANA leader. We have some volunteers as helpers that are just that...helpers.
    I like the concept you described of AWANA but we used to do all that (plus Bible drills every week which we loved) in GAs. What was the need to bring in AWANA I wonder?
    Also our church's mission is to follow the Great Commission. We train all members desiring to be trained for discipleship and "visitation".
    Thanks again and please share your thoughts on the Sunday night question.
    Yours in Christ, Nana
     
  7. Andy T.

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    Two hours does seem long. I've been in two different churches that use Awana. One went an hour and half, the other went an hour and twenty minutes.
     
  8. bapmom

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    Now, I know I just posted in here....but for some reason its gone!

    Nana, Ive never heard of GAs....what is that program?

    However, I don't think a 2 hour session is too long for those who want to participate. After reading your description of your particular family, it might not be a good fit for your granddaughter. But I don't think that means that there's something wrong with it. They probably are having a full hour for game time or an extra preaching session?

    I think its best for children to be involved in their church's activities more than they are involved in community leagues and things like that. Based on how busy your granddaughter is now, I would think it might not be a good idea to add one more thing to her schedule. She might thrive under the pressure now, but it could backfire if it keeps getting busier. She does need time to relax and be with her family without having to perform.
     
  9. shannonL

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    our AWANA program is 1.5hrs. long.

    It is a great program. My girls love it. I was in RA's growing up. It was also fun. I don't think you can really compare AWANA and GA's there geared a little different. Besides, unless you go to a SBC you will never know what GAs and RAs are.
    AWANAS is available to all churches.

    If your granddaughter is involved in as many extra curricular activities as you say then maybe she needs to drop one somewhere.

    Also, let her mother handle the situation its her responsibility not yours.
     
  10. All about Grace

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    Beware ... AWANA parents can be militant. Don't believe so? Try to discontinue AWANAs in a church.

    AWANAs is good to fill a child's head with knowledge. My problem with it is that it does little to transfer truth to the heart. For example, in my experience many AWANA kids can rattle off a list of Scripture verses - few can tell you what they mean.
     
  11. go2church

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    Yeah not a big AWANA fan myself. One it can be very expensive for either the church or the student. Always a new book to buy or a patch to win. There is also the problem of the way they memorize scripture, a rote ra-ta-ta-tat style, and on a few occasions a bit out of context. There is a missionary time during the usually 1.5-2 hours, but not anywhere close to what GA's and RA's have. There is also the issue of AWANA being dispensational in their doctrinal statement which the pastor must sign. I doubt the 7 dispensations and their impact ever come up when your teaching Cubbies (pre-schoolers) the theme song, but it would be an issue for me since I am not dispensational. And then their is the game element which can be overwhelming if you can't run fast or are not very strong. I just have a feeling that church is the last place a kid should have to worry about being first.

    Note: I taught Cubbies for two years and Pals for two years.
     
  12. AF Guy N Paradise

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    Our last church had patch the Pirate; it is pretty solid and much cheaper for the church. Anyone been involved with this program? I think it may be IFB specific.
     
  13. Debby in Philly

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    How about Pioneer Girls / Christian Service (Boy's) Brigade ?
     
  14. PJ

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    NANA - GA's (Girls in Action) is mission education. We offer GA's and RA's in our church and both programs memorize verses, wear vests, and receive patches for work well done.

    I'm currently taking a sebatical from leading the RA's but taught the 14 years prior. GA's and RA's (Royal Ambassadors) are both Southern Baptist programs (mission education, grades 1-6).

    Sounds like your church offers both, and that can only be a good thing. Some of our local churches have replaced children's mission education classes with Awana, and, I can't say I'm crazy about that.
     
  15. bapmom

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    AF Guy,

    I didn't know Patch the Pirate had a program. Ive heard the radio show and know of the tapes and things, but didn't know there was a kid's "club". What's it like?

    I was in one church that had Kings Kids. The church we are in now doesn't have any sort of program like AWANA or such. We have a "Gideon's Kids" program on Saturdays....something our church made up.....our pastor and his wife run that. Its mostly games and singing, with some preaching time. Kind of just fun time to spend with the pastor and his wife.
     
  16. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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  17. AF Guy N Paradise

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    C4K gave a great link that explains the program. We enjoyed it and the kids seemed to always have fun while learning. My wife was the pee wee pirate teacher.
     
  18. Salty

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    Grace,
    I agree with you in prinicpal. Memorizing verses just for the sake of memorizing may not be that effective. When I listen to verses, (and if I had my way, it would be 100% perfect - with no mistakes) I may ask a question or two about what the verse means, so the clubber can put the verse into context.
    I would suggest you talk to the AWANA Commander in your church and discuss this matter. In fact, I would also recommend you become a leader in AWANA. I have been involved in AWANA for 43 years. The first 7 as a clubber. During the past 35 years I have worked in many churches that had AWANA. (I have been in many churches, due to my military moves)

    It is a great program, if done properly.

    And Nana 45 minutes to church? Isnt there a church that is closer to you?

    Salty
     
  19. Filmproducer

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    ... AWANAs is good to fill a child's head with knowledge. My problem with it is that it does little to transfer truth to the heart. For example, in my experience many AWANA kids can rattle off a list of Scripture verses - few can tell you what they mean.

    I guess it depends on the church. The AWANA program I was in always discussed in depth the verses to be memorized, during group time. It was required of the group leaders. As far as the games being difficult, etc., I don't remember having that experience. Yes, there were the typical races, but I also remember scavenger hunts, and "costume" contests, (i.e., whose clothes didn't match). Nothing super competitive that may single some kids out.
     
  20. shannonL

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    All about Grace,

    The kids may not be able to exegete the verses they memorized. I do trust though that through memorization some seeds will be sown. How come all of us adults can quote Jn. 3:16? Because we memorized it when we were kids.
    Maybe more kids would understand the verses if more parents sat down and took 5 or 10 minutes to talk to their kids about the verses.

    Out of curiousity why did you have to dismantle a AWANA program? Knowing you based upon most of your posts it was probably to "traditional" or "old school" for ya.

    What type of programs or training do you have going on at your church for the kids?
     

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