Awana is a leader in children’s ministry, helping churches and parents worldwide raise children and youth to know, love, and serve Christ.
Based in the Chicago area, Awana fully integrates evangelism and discipleship programs for ages 2 to 18 and actively involves parents, church leaders, and mentors. Each week, more than 3.7 million children and youth, 470,000 volunteers, and 250-plus field staff take part in Awana in over 47,000 churches in the U.S. and internationally.
Awana began as a children’s program at the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago in 1941. Lance Latham, North Side’s senior pastor, collaborated with the church’s youth director, Art Rorheim, to develop weekly clubs that would appeal to churched and unchurched kids, lead them to trust Christ for salvation, and grow them in enduring faith and service to God.
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 had begun its first international club. Today children and youth in more than 100 countries participate in Awana programs, and millions of adults are alumni. Awana serves churches from 100 different denominations.
The founders of Awana derived the Awana name from the first letters of Approved workmen are not ashamed as taken from 2 Timothy 2:15 of the Bible.