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AWANA- bring a friend


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#1 choirfarm

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:34 AM

Ok.. I HATE the bring a friend part of AWANA. Who are my friends supposed to bring??? Their only friends are in church or they have a few acquaintances who live in a town 30 minutes from ours in our homeschool co-op. It is affecting my daughter now and she doesn't play sports so no interaction there. 5 years ago, they left my son stuck on that section and wouldn't let him go on for months. They finally gave up and gave him a pass, but GRRRRRRR

Christine

#2 Chris in VA

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:36 AM

I'd go with the friends who live far. (30 minutes is nothing here, but I understand it can seem very far.)
Do you do overnights with friends? Maybe one could spend the night and go the next day to Awanas.
If the reason for the friend thing is to share the Gospel, maybe she could write her sharings out and send them in a letter to someone in your family who isn't a believer.

#3 justlittleoldme

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:48 AM

I hate it too! All of our friends are in Awanas. We make friends at Awanas. That's one of the many reasons they go to Awanas- in our area that's where most of the home schooled kids are. Last church we were in let them pass out 10 flyers in their neighborhood and then they would sign off on it. I'm all for that! I just hate begging other parents to let their kids come with us one night.

#4 Hockey Mom

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:54 AM

Our Awanas group counts "contacting a friend" as 'bring a friend'. You can only do so much, and they realize that. Aside from kidnapping someone, you can only extend the invitation. Let the leader know that you've repeatedly asked a cousin or friend but they aren't able to make it.

#5 Nakia

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 10:56 AM

I am an AWANA leader at our church. There is a list of alternate activities in the front of the leaders' books that the kids can do in place of bringing a friend. I'm surprised the leaders at your church haven't mentioned it/don't know about it. It includes things such as writing a letter to invite a friend, memorizing an extra verse, etc.

#6 JFSinIL

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:00 AM

When the neighbor across the street asked us to let our ds go to an AWANA meeting as his kid's friend we said no - we are Catholic and felt no need to send our ds somewhere where folks would look on him as needed to be "saved".

When the neighbor started to get upset I asked if he'd let HIS son come to Catholic Sunday school with our son. He got the point.

#7 5knights3maidens

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:07 AM

I don't like this either. At the new church we are going to, they just pass it. At our old church they would not let the kids move on. That is mean in my opinion. That shouldn't even be in the book or maybe as an extra credit or something.

#8 SquirrellyMama

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:10 AM

It is a very frustrating requirement! Our kids take friends who are already in a church. We aren't trying to get them away from their church and they know it. The Awana group isn't even at our church. We aren't Baptist :001_smile:

My dd 9 has moved past 2 sections but hasn't gotten her stickers for her badge because she hasn't brought 2 friends yet. We have plans for a friend from another Awana group to come. We don't have a lot of friends who aren't in a church. We have some, but honestly, I think we can more effectively share the gospel outside of Awanas.

#9 katemary63

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:29 AM

Ok.. I HATE the bring a friend part of AWANA. Who are my friends supposed to bring??? Their only friends are in church or they have a few acquaintances who live in a town 30 minutes from ours in our homeschool co-op. It is affecting my daughter now and she doesn't play sports so no interaction there. 5 years ago, they left my son stuck on that section and wouldn't let him go on for months. They finally gave up and gave him a pass, but GRRRRRRR

Christine


I write a note that my child will not be bringing a friend and that I expect her to move on to the next section. Never had a problem.

#10 ThatCyndiGirl

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:36 AM

This has been discussed here before. Some kids and their parents don't appreciate being pawns in the whole, "bring a friend so you can check off this box/get a prize" scheme.

I understand WHY they do it, but the feelings that it can create are sometimes NEGATIVE, not positive, as I think is intended.

#11 Tap

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:46 AM

I am an AWANA leader at our church. There is a list of alternate activities in the front of the leaders' books that the kids can do in place of bringing a friend. I'm surprised the leaders at your church haven't mentioned it/don't know about it. It includes things such as writing a letter to invite a friend, memorizing an extra verse, etc.



:iagree::iagree:

I would go to the leader and say some 'nice' version of this:

"In the leader's book there is a list of alternate activities in lieu of 'bringing a friend', can I please see the list so I know what his/her options are?"

If you just ask...."are there any alternatives", they may just say "no". If you go into the conversation with an 'I know there are alternatives, what are they' attitude, they may be more willing to help you.

I have heard of some groups hiding these alternatives, you may have to nudge them a bit.

#12 myfatherslily

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:48 AM

Bleh. I have a problem with my daughter coming home and asking if she can bring a friend just she can get points. 'Sweetie, why don't you ask a friend to come because you enjoy Awana so much that you want to share it with her because you love her?'

Kids should never be restricted from moving on just because they didn't bring a friend. That's silly.

#13 FriedClams

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:51 AM

Our Awanas group counts "contacting a friend" as 'bring a friend'. You can only do so much, and they realize that.


That's what ours does as well.

#14 knit247

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 11:53 AM

Haven't read the other replies, but last year my daughters were allowed to write a letter to friends back home, telling them about AWANA. I believe that there were several other options as well, like wearing their AWANA uniform out in public. This year, my Sparkie was allowed to bring a stuffed animal to fulfill her obligation. I believe that my T&T daughter still needs to write a letter. Maybe this is because we are in Germany and most of the English-speaking kids are already in AWANA - not sure. But I would bet that you have other options if you can speak with a Leader. HTH!!!

#15 6packofun

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 12:05 PM

I can imagine that it feels kinda icky. Personally, I don't see AWANA as an outreach or evangelism tool at ALL. I mean, what non-Christian wants their first taste of church to be a contest to memorize Bible verses?? Talk about uncomfortable and impersonal! LOL

#16 Nakia

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 12:33 PM

I can imagine that it feels kinda icky. Personally, I don't see AWANA as an outreach or evangelism tool at ALL. I mean, what non-Christian wants their first taste of church to be a contest to memorize Bible verses?? Talk about uncomfortable and impersonal! LOL


I can't disagree with you about the friend part being impersonal at times. My kids do AWANA, and like I stated before, I am an AWANA leader. That being said, I am not a HUGE fan. It is actually very evangelical because every single group lesson is about sin and salvation. There is hardly a mention of grace and love. I teach in the TnT class, and we are actually going to be changing the way we do things after Christmas. We are going to find a different lesson book that focuses on the love and grace of Jesus. Our church is non-denominational, and we just started AWANA in January of this year. We are kind of learning as we go. While I do think it is valuable to memorize scripture, I think it is more important to come to know God, and have a personal relationship with him, through teachings about grace and forgiveness. Not that sin and salvation should be left out of the teaching, but the focus should be on God's grace. Thankfully, the other leaders in my church are in agreement.

Anyway, just my two cents.

#17 EarleneW

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 12:51 PM

We have been in Awana programs at 3 different churches through the years and have never had a problem with this.

#18 Princess Peach

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 12:57 PM

I agree with the others who have said to ask about other alternatives. We have always done this in the past.

BTW, the part that I disagree with is the whole BRING a friend part. I think it should be INVITE a friend. You can't make someone come, kwim?

#19 elise1mds

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 01:11 PM

HA! I never realized it was a specific week you were supposed to bring someone. That explains why the girls next door showed up one week to invite my kids, and when I said we were busy that day (which we were) and maybe they could come another week, they never came back.

#20 momto2blessings

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 01:14 PM

We were told that asking 3 people counted, even if they didn't come. Gina

#21 specialmama

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 01:15 PM

HA! I never realized it was a specific week you were supposed to bring someone. That explains why the girls next door showed up one week to invite my kids, and when I said we were busy that day (which we were) and maybe they could come another week, they never came back.


It depends on the location/leaders. My dd's AWANA is very open to having guests at any time. We were never pressured to bring a friend for points or any such reward, it was just mentioned periodically that friends are welcome to come any time.

#22 Cadam

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 01:17 PM

I always talked about it with the leaders and got them to pass the kids on. I am opposed to that section in general. Children in my home are not required to be evangelists. I was firm but polite and didn't leave any room to argue about it. I actually signed the section. It worked.

#23 BigMamaBird

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 01:23 PM

In dd's Sparks class, she simply didn't have anyone to bring so the teacher said it was fine if I wrote a little note explaining our problem, tape it to the section and they signed it anyway.

#24 ChristusG

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 01:23 PM

Our church doesn't push that one. I always write a little note in the margin of the book saying that my child doesn't have any friends that they can bring.....the teachers always just signs off on that week with no problem.

#25 mytwomonkeys

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 01:55 PM

we attend a methodist church an hour away, but my kids attend awana at the local baptist church on sunday nights. they've never held my children back for not bringing a friend though. i think that's a terrible thing to enforce.

#26 JVA

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 02:08 PM

In our AWANA club, the leaders always send home a letter about this requirement and a list of the many other ways to fulfill it. It IS hard to get someone to go sometimes and that is why the list was developed. Don't let it be a stumbling block to all the good that AWANA offers.

#27 Mom2absh

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 04:12 PM

Our church never holds up progress for that section! You cannot complete the book without it, but you can go past it and just fill it in when you do find someone to invite. We can also do the alternative activities as fulfillment.

J

#28 fhjmom

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 04:42 PM

I hate this requirement, too. Last year we were in a situation where for several reasons it just didn't work for my kids to bring someone. The one person who my DS could invite kept saying they would come, then something would come up and he wouldn't make it. Our AWANA's leader refused to budge. I even found a list of the alternative activities on the AWANA website and she still would not consider it. It was an enormous stress for our family. Finally, the very last AWANA's night of the year we kind of lucked into getting a friend for each of my kids.

This year they did change it to where the kids can go with the AWANA leader to visit prospects for credit. I am not really comfortable with that option either, so hopefully we can find a friend.

I really wish the AWANA's organization would do a web search and find the threads out there of all the parents who hate this requirement (and the leaders that don't freely offer alternatives) and make some changes to the books.

#29 Nakia

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 04:47 PM

I hate this requirement, too. Last year we were in a situation where for several reasons it just didn't work for my kids to bring someone. The one person who my DS could invite kept saying they would come, then something would come up and he wouldn't make it. Our AWANA's leader refused to budge. I even found a list of the alternative activities on the AWANA website and she still would not consider it. It was an enormous stress for our family. Finally, the very last AWANA's night of the year we kind of lucked into getting a friend for each of my kids.

This year they did change it to where the kids can go with the AWANA leader to visit prospects for credit. I am not really comfortable with that option either, so hopefully we can find a friend.

I really wish the AWANA's organization would do a web search and find the threads out there of all the parents who hate this requirement (and the leaders that don't freely offer alternatives) and make some changes to the books.


I'm sorry, but there is no way my kids would be out "visiting prospects" with anyone. Bake cookies for the homeless shelter? Sure! Sing carols at the nursing home? Sure! Collect shoeboxes? Sure! But door to door evangelizing? Nope. I believe a person needs to be very secure in their faith to do that sort of thing. And evangelizing is not everyone's gift. That director doesn't sound like a very good one. I think I would talk to your senior pastor about the situation. There are clealy outlined options for the kids to do in lieu of bringing a friend.

#30 dmmetler

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 05:01 PM

Does it have to be a child close to your DC's age? A lot of the churches I know around here have a requirement of visiting various houses of worship/styles of church meetings during confirmation and comparing them with their own beliefs. If so, maybe one of these confirmands could visit Awana to fulfill their requirement, as well as your child's?

#31 daughterofsarah77

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 05:04 PM

In our AWANA club, the leaders always send home a letter about this requirement and a list of the many other ways to fulfill it. It IS hard to get someone to go sometimes and that is why the list was developed. Don't let it be a stumbling block to all the good that AWANA offers.


We did get a similiar note, providing other options, of which I will have to choose one. We are new to the area, and with her being homeschooled, she simply doesn't have any friends to bring. Her friends already go to AWANA. She has a cousin who would be happy to go, but she lives too far away.
I guess I wasn't aware that they couldn't move on if this wasn't fulfilled...I am all about evangelism, but I certainly wouldn't put that expectation on my 1st grader!!!

#32 JenniferB

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 05:13 PM

We went several years unable to find new friends to bring. This year we were able to bring 3 new kids, who all signed up! I think it's good to have it in there, and for the kids to try to bring others. If it was extra credit, or not in there, we might not be as diligent to try to bring in new people. At our church they ask us to keep trying through the year, skip that section until you can bring someone, and if at the end of the year the child was not able to bring anyone, they memorize and recite "The Great Commission" verses.

#33 Aubrey

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 05:26 PM

We visited an AWANA program that had a great big fancy play place for the kids, but the kids didn't get to play there. Instead? Next week, there's a PARTY in the PLAY PLACE for everybody who brings a friend.

Ds told them we were new to the area, that our friends in our old area (seminary, 30 min away) had moved out of state.

They told him to bring a cousin. He doesn't have any. Well, ok, there's one 3rd cousin in FL. And my sister has babies 4 hrs away.

By the end of the night, ds was in tears because a) they had completely rubbed it in his face that he doesn't have any friends here yet & B) he didn't get to play on the stupid play thing & *wouldn't* get to. :glare: *That* was really low, imo.

Anyway, we've only invited kids to AWANAS once--a family w/ 6 dc had moved to the area & wanted to find a new AWANA prog. But the kids didn't get credit for bringing them! :lol: It's really fine, but other than something like that, I'm just not inviting kids to AWANAS. Sorry.

Imo, that has disaster written all over it. Evangelizing other people's kids or offending them by making them think they are mere points to be earned is icky. Driving people's kids to church kind-of makes me nervous--we just haven't had the kinds of relationships where we're close enough to drive ea other's kids around. And I've only got space for one extra kid, so my kids would have to a) alternate nights to bring friends & B) avoid friends who have sibs who might get their feelings hurt being left out.

If I went to a church that made a big deal out of the bring a friend part, I'd go somewhere else.


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