The current goal of Awana is to reach 10,000,000 kids by the year 2020.
Reaching kids is not a new thought for Awana. From the very day Lance Latham and Art Rorheim first held club, the goal has been to reach kids with the gospel of Christ.
One of the built-in ways to accomplish this is by including the bring-a-friend sections in the handbooks. Over the years many clubbers have asked friends (whom they wouldn’t have invited otherwise) to come to club simply to pass the section. Many of those visitors continued attending, trusted Christ as Savior and because of it, entire families have come to know the Lord.
But getting a friend to come can be difficult, especially in this day when many parents are suspicious of anything that has to do with a church.
Why not be part of your child’s “mission” by helping him in the quest to bring a friend?
1. Get to know the parents of your children’s friends. Stop and chat as you’re waiting for your kids after school or watching their soccer game at the park. You could go even further. The dads could go golfing together or attend a ballgame. The moms could work together at a school function. The more time you spend becoming friends with the parents, the more likely the parents will allow their child to come with your son or daughter.
2. Look for ways to show kindness to the family. Is the child missing a lot of school? Could you take your son over to the sick friend’s house to drop off homework? Is there a new baby in the family? Could you take a meal? Again, the better relationship you have with the parent, the more apt the child will be allowed to attend club with your child.
3. Work with the leaders in your club to plan a special “invite-a-friend” night. The club can preprint professional-looking invitations. (One of the leaders probably knows how to do this on the computer.) An invitation with all the information makes it easier for the parent to know what’s happening. (You could help by offering to make cookies.)
4. Follow up your child’s invitation with a phone call or email. Say something like, “I know Jacob invited Oliver to Sparks club at our church. I’d like to tell you a little more about Awana Sparks and wondered if you had any questions.”
5. Do your homework. Explain that Awana has been around for more than 65 years and is in more than 105 countries. This isn’t a recent start-up without a lot of solid experience behind it.
6. Explain the leader qualifications. Assure the parents that all the leaders have been through training (hopefully, they HAVE!) and a child protection course (again – hopefully they HAVE!)
7. Let the parent know the facts. Will you be picking the friend up early because you’re a leader and need to get to club 15 minutes before club begins? Even though club gets over at 8:00, will you be home a little late because you need to help clean up? Be honest about time so a parent doesn’t get concerned. You could also talk about the books and uniforms if the parent seems interested in the child continuing to attend.
8. Invite the parent to come too. Explain that parents can’t help with the kids (other than their own) because of the necessary leadership/child protection requirements, but that they are more than welcomed to watch what’s going on. (This alone may be enough to convince the parent to allow her child to attend.)
9. Get the proper information … especially if you are driving the child to club. Make sure you know the parents’ names, cellphone number, address etc. You don’t want a first grader to not know these things … and have an emergency happen. As the parent bringing the child, get the basic information.
10. Beware of logistics. In Illinois children have to be in booster seats until they’re eight. Different states have different guidelines, but this could be something to consider if your Sparkie invites other Sparkies to come to club with him. How will you manage the booster seat requirement?
Yes, this all might take some time and effort on your part but isn’t it worth it if one of those 10 million children reached with the gospel … is YOUR child’s friend?