Tim is amazing! He gives his heart and soul for our church’s AWANA program. He’s served as the T&T director for several years now, and he continues to pour faithfully into the lives of the children who come every week. Last week the Commander (head of the program) told the kids, “Whoever says the most Discoveries next week gets to Pie Mr. Tim!!” Such screaming and cheering as you wouldn’t believe. A few of the girls spent HOURS memorizing their Bible verses and working on extra projects.
AT some point Tim incorporated the Thankful Chair into our T&T Council Time. Every week he brings up two different children to share something for which they are thankful. The kids BEG to be picked for their turn. They love having a moment in the spotlight. This year he decided to teach them a little bit about prayer, and he used the Thankful Chair to accomplish this. He tells the kids regularly, “Praying is just talking to God. Praying out loud is just praying where other people can hear you.” So now the T & T’ers come up to the front, sit in the Thankful Chair, say their name and lead us in a prayer, sharing what they are thankful for. It’s beautiful, simple and a precious gift to watch. Tim usually beams and encourages them, “Some ADULTS don’t even like to pray aloud, and you are ALREADY learning the joy of doing it now!”
Passionate for the Word of God, Tim is constantly searching for interesting and creative ways to encourage the kids to memorize their verses and work through their T&T books. Each time someone finishes a discovery (8 sections in their book – a difficult feat) they are recognized up front, receive a pin for their badge and get to pick one of Mr. Tim’s cool prizes. Oh, the fun he has in tracking down things for these kids – he buys children’s Bibles, small jewelry, bags, comic Bibles, Christian t-shirts, Odyssey cd’s, praise music, candy, books, fuzzy socks, gloves, and little toys.
Last year Tim expressed to me a desire to learn the kids’ names. Since I sit at the registration table and check the children in each week and then go through their record books after verse time, it’s easy for me to put faces to names. Tim, however, is usually busy at registration time, and then spends the rest of the evening rushing around getting leaders into the right spot, taking care of different problems as they arise and preparing for council time.
This year Tim was more determined than ever and so he designed a wooden nickel just for our AWANA group. He told the kids, “If I don’t know your name, you get a wooden nickel.” Blank looks greeted him. “And, after AWANA, you can find me and redeem the nickels for a soda.” Cheers erupted! Ah the simple motivation of a can of pop. It didn’t take Tim long to learn all of the T&T’ers names. Next he told them, “Okay, now I know your names, the next thing I’m going to work on is your birthdays. You can come up to me at any point during AWANA, and if I don’t know your birthday, you get a wooden nickel. Only one time in the night, of course.” More cheers.
Sometimes I don’t understand Tim’s ideas or where he comes up with them. Really? Their birthdays, honey? And then he looks at me with those piercing eyes, “Just think of it, Kathy, a grown-up (not their relative or neighbor or teacher) who not only knows their names, but their birthdays! Some of these kids don’t have very many people in their lives who care about them. I care.”
And for that he’ll even take a pie in the face for them.
Thank you, Tim, for loving these kids.