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 stated mission of Awana is to help "reach kids, equip leaders and change the world for God." [1]

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


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. Rorheim served as the CoFounder/President Emeritus[3] until he died on January 5th, 2018. [4]

Other churches became interested in the program and inquired about its availability. In 1950, Latham and Rorheim founded Awana as a parachurch organization. By 1960, an estimated 900 churches had started Awana programs. By 1972, Awana began its first international club in Bolivia. Today, Awana claims to have participants in 117 countries and millions of adults as alumni.[5]

See also


  1. About Awana
  2. "History". The North Side Gospel Center. Archived from the original on 8 September 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  3. "Global Leadership Team, Awana". Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  5. "Hey Alumni | Awana". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
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