AWANA – Aye Wanna Pie Ya

"NO, you can't make me go!  Save me!"

“NO, you can’t make me go! Save me, Kathy!”

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.

"Don't do it, Kivi, there's still time to walk away."

“Here’s a nickel, Kivi, pie Mr. Jim instead!”

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!”

"Hmmm, I wonder if I should have shaved first?"

“Hmmm, I wonder if I should have shaved first?”

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.

Got him good.  Now what to do with the rest in this dish?  Hit him again? Yep.

Got him good. Now what to do with the rest in this dish? Hit him again? Yep.

Oh, she goes in for another good shove in the face.

Oh, she goes in for another good shove in the face.

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.

No pies for this team!

No pies for this team!

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.

Don't take any wooden nickels ... unless they are like this one!

Don’t take any wooden nickels … unless they are like this one!

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.”

What flavor was it?  Butterscotch?

What flavor was it? Butterscotch?

And for that he’ll even take a pie in the face for them.

Thank you, Tim, for loving these kids.

Kathy

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8 thoughts on “AWANA – Aye Wanna Pie Ya”

  1. I have to say, the pie was the best-tasting pie I have ever had, smeared in my face. And I’ve had more than a few pies. Veterans learn to exhale gently during the actual smearing, to minimize the amount of whipped cream in the nostrils (the smell stays with you for days!).

    The amazing thing is the level of work that went into this competition. The winner of the event (not pictured, because she chose to let the runner-up do the actual pie-ing for her) completed five discoveries in her AWANA book in just seven days.

    For those not familiar with AWANA books, let me explain. A discovery is a collection of sections, usually 8, with a common theme. A section is usually one or two verses (sometimes one of them is a review) along with occasional activity assignments (like looking up a Bible passage and answering a few questions). That means that, in order to win this contest, the winner had to recite on the order of 2 x 8 x 5 verses! (That’s 80 verses memorized and accurately recited in one week’s time, for those who ran out of toes and fingers.)

    Special commendation to Raegan, Kivi and Grace, who really put their heart into memorizing these verses! Special thanks also to some of our leaders, who offered extra listening consultations during the week.

  2. Tim: Mom & I are proud of your amazing ministry with kids. Maybe it helps that you are still a kid at heart. Also, since you’ve had a considerable amount of experience receiving pies in the face, what might be a humiliating, embarrassing and uncomfortable event for most people, is old hat to you, as you take it in stride. May God continue to bless your ministry. Love, Dad (for Mom too).

    1. Yes, I believe I received my first pie at the hands of my own mother, as I recall.

      Now, getting a cake in the face is a whole ‘nother prospect. The strategies are all different, for starters. With a cake, especially a Black Forest Cake, the ‘victim’ tries to open his mouth as widely as possible, so as to consume as much as he can, because traditionally they serve the cake to the audience while he is in the bathroom, cleaning up. When he comes out, the cake is usually gone, in my experience.

  3. Not gonna lie, I really miss Awana. It makes me so happy to see you guys still going strong. Pies and everything. I’m pretty sure there is something in Paul’s letters about suffering pies for the sake of the Gospel. End of Romans, if I recall.

    By the way, here at Union there is an entire course in the school of Theology and Missions on proper responses to pieing. CHR 437: “Sola Scriptura and the Whipped Cream Pie.” I haven’t taken it, but I helped a friend study for a test last semester. There’s a lot to it. The strategy of exhaling during the smear is actually originally attributed to Jonathan Edwards who was an early pioneer in the field.

    I enjoyed seeing the pictures too.

    1. I’m glad to see your university is taking the whole pie thing seriously — you wouldn’t believe some of these so-called Bible colleges and seminaries that send their graduates off into the world to receive pies, entirely unprepared!

      Me, I learned my pie victim technique the old fashioned way, in the school of graham cracker crusts (aka the school of hard knocks). I took my first pie ‘for the team’ in the Spring of 1983, and I haven’t looked back.

      1. Wow. I had no idea my father was a “Crusty” (as the Benedictines called them), you have my respect.

        Persecution just isn’t what it used to be.

  4. I’ll say it again, a little differently… your family is hilarious. Very funny exxchange between Tim and Josh. :)

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