Mr. Awana, Arthur Rorheim

Awana co-founder and beloved family man

Arthur Rorheim
That’s why every child who attends Awana even just once in his life will be introduced to God’s plan of salvation... I wanted to ensure that no child would leave Awana without having heard the good news of the gospel.

Arthur R. “Art” Rorheim was surely blessed with a big family - two kids, four granddaughters, 10 great-grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren. But not only that, he was also blessed with a ministry that will span for decades – even outliving him.

Art met Lance “Doc” Latham at the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, whom he followed to the North Side Gospel Center upon Lance’s appointment as senior pastor. There, Art served as director of the weekly Pals club for boys, where he discovered his gift and passion for children’s and youth ministry. Hence, Awana was born.

Starting with just 500 kids, Art and Lance saw the opportunity to expand the model and established Awana as a national organization in 1950. The ministry then expanded internationally, and now operates in 100 countries and 30 languages [1].

Art deeply desired to lead children to the gospel, bring them into the life church, and equip them to become future leaders of the faith. Awana’s overall ministry and partnership approach will reflect Art’s intention throughout the years.

Art’s legacy will continue to live on in countless ways around the world, as children, youth, and adults continue to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. Shellnutt, Kate. “Died: ‘Mr. Awana’ Arthur Rorheim”, Christianity Today, January 2018, link to article