What is Awana?
Based in the Chicago area, Awana is the only organization with fully integrated evangelism and discipleship programs for ages 2 to 18 that actively involve parents, church leaders and mentors. Each week, more than 2 million children and youth, 400,000 volunteers and 127 field staff take part in Awana in over 27,000 churches in the U.S. and internationally. (Learn about the prayer, vision, mission and values of Awana.)
Awana works with churches from 100 different denominations. It 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 non-churched 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.
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.
Today, more than 11,500 U.S. churches run Awana with programs in all 50 states. Awana can also be found in more than 16,000 churches, schools and orphanages in 100 other countries.
What is the Impact of Awana?
Awana helps churches and parents work together to develop spiritually strong children and youth who faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Our programs offer a proven approach for evangelizing and discipling kids in the church and community.
As a ministry leader for over 60 years, Awana is making an impact. A national survey found Awana to be as important to our alumni’s spiritual foundation as all other church activities combined. Among alumni who participated in our programs for at least six years, 92.7 percent still attend church at least weekly as adults!
Each week, more than two million kids ages 2 to 18 participate in Awana. This includes more than 1.1 million in 102 countries outside of the U.S., the most children that Awana has ever reached internationally.