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Awana to Celebrate 60 Years of Ministry at National Youth Event

by Staff
April 1, 2010
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ST. CHARLES, Ill., ( -- Since its founding in 1950, Awana has developed partnerships with churches in 100 countries that collectively reach one million children and youth in a given week. On Monday, April 12, Awana begins celebrating 60 years of God's faithfulness in impacting young lives worldwide.

The special 60th celebration takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Pheasant Run Resort Mega Center in St. Charles, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The event kicks off Summit 2010, an annual gathering of high-school students from 24-7 Ministries, the youth ministry of Awana. The celebration features guest speakers, musical artists, special giveaways, a tribute to Awana Co-Founder Art Rorheim and a message from Awana President/CEO Jack Eggar. Dignitaries, friends and associates of Awana will join students and Awana staff at the event.

The celebration's theme, "Celebrating Generation after Generation of Lasting Faith in Christ," reflects the strategy of Awana to spiritually train kids across their formative years. At a time when many teens are abandoning the church, Summit is symbolic of the Awana commitment to youth.

A recent national survey found that most grown-ups who participated in Awana as youth for at least six years are still active in their faith, communities and churches. In fact, 92.7 percent of the alumni still attend church at least weekly as adults. The study concluded that consistent, long-term participation in Awana, combined with spiritual leadership by parents, produces lasting faith and character in Christ.

Full survey results are found at

About the celebration
The keynote speaker for the celebration is Shawn Thornton. He is senior pastor of Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, California, which operates a thriving Awana ministry. The musical artist for the event is Christian musical recording artist Aaron Niequist. Aaron is currently a weekend worship leader at Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago. He joined Willow Creek after serving as worship leader at Mars Hill Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The ceremony also will feature video and personal tributes to Art Rorheim for founding and leading Awana from 1950 to 1990. Under Rorheim's direction, Awana grew from a fledgling organization in Chicago into an international ministry. At age 91, Rorheim continues serving Awana as co-founder/president emeritus. Most recently he represented Awana in March at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

In addition to Summit, Awana will hold two other 60th celebration events and conferences in 2010. Awana hosts its first Awana® Ministry Conference National Simulcast on September 11 to celebrate 60 years of ministry. Churches will participate in the conference via satellite sites in their own regions of the country. My Church & Awana Month(tm) is a nationwide event for local churches to celebrate the impact of their Awana ministries. In 2010, My Church & Awana Month focuses on 60 years of God's faithfulness in the Awana ministry.

About Awana
Awana equips churches and parents to work together in developing children and youth who faithfully follow Jesus Christ. In 2010 Awana rejoices over 60 years of partnerships with churches and parents that produce a lasting biblical faith. Each week, one million children and youth participate in weekly programs at nearly 20,000 churches representing 100 Christian denominations.

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