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FoundersLance Latham, Art Rorheim
Type501(c)(3) non-profit religious
Area served
U.S. and Int'l (120 countries)
Key people
Valerie Bell, CEO; Matt Markins, President/COO; Art Rorheim, Co-Founder
9,439 U.S. churches, 48,305 international churches

Awana (derived from the first letters of "Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed" as taken from 2 Timothy 2:15) is an international evangelical Christian nonprofit organization founded in 1950, headquartered in Streamwood, Illinois. The mission of Awana is to help "reach kids, equip leaders and change the world for God." [1]


In 1941, the children's program at the North Side Gospel Center[2] in Chicago laid the foundation for the principles of Awana. Lance Latham, North Side's senior pastor, collaborated with the church's youth director, Art Rorheim, to develop weekly clubs that they believed would appeal to all children.

Other churches learned about the success of the program and inquired about its availability. In 1950, Latham and Rorheim founded Awana as a parachurch organization. By 1960, 900 churches had started Awana programs. By 1972, Awana began its first international club in Bolivia. Today, children and youth in 117 countries (Dec. 2016) participate in Awana programs and millions of adults are alumni.[3] Awana serves churches from many different denominations.

Awana gives children from every background and cultural setting a place to belong, build confidence and grow in Christian faith. Awana is also involved in refugee camps, slums and other hard to reach places around the world.

Awana aims to reach 10 million children with its message by 2020.[4] Art Rorheim served as the CoFounder/President Emeritus[5], until he died on January 5th, 2018 [6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About Awana
  2. ^ "History". The North Side Gospel Center. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Hey Alumni | Awana". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Global Outreach". AWANA. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Global Leadership Team, Awana". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  6. ^

External links[edit]