Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Remembering Art Rorheim

I have been to the home office of Awana several times, for Commander College, Vantage conferences, a blogger summit, and for an

Image Courtesy of Awana

interview to become an Awana missionary. Of all of the times that I have been to Awana, I never had the opportunity to personally meet and talk with Art Rorheim. I see many of my Awana friends posting pictures of themselves with Art and I have to admit that I am a little jealous. The closest I got was to sit at his desk during a lunch break at a Vantage conference. I want to thank Dorinda Bennett for thinking of taking me up to Art’s office that day.

While I cannot memorialize Art from personal encounters, what I can do it to share what I saw through the history of Awana. Having visited the North Side Gospel Center where Awana was birthed, I was amazed to see how small a facility it was based on pictures of the many youth in the building that I had seen. I was mesmerized as I could envision them filming the video several decades ago about Awana to share with other churches who were interested. Art Rorheim and Lance Latham were pioneers who simply used what they had to reach the youth of Chicago. It was not anything fancy, it was basic, simply meeting a need to reach youth.

A passion to reach kids, not an obligation, and trusting God, Art leaves a legacy of reaching millions of people for the Kingdom of God that will last for generations to come.

Awana has established a website to memorialize Art at You can see his biography, photographs, and leave a gift or note. You’re welcome to leave a thought here as well in the comment section below.

I would also encourage you to donate to an Awana missionary. These are men and women who live on faith, many far short of their support needs, in order to carry on Art’s legacy, spreading the good news of Jesus through Awana.

Let me leave you with this thought, a question I believe that Art would ask ….. Who have you told about Jesus today?


Updated: January 8, 2018 — 4:56 am

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  1. Truly a great man. He left a legacy that will continue for eternity.

  2. Thanks for this post. I appreciate all you do with your blog and encouragement. I was privileged to grow up in the Chicago area and spend time through the years with Art as he was a family friend. When I was a kid, Lance Latham often played the piano at my churche have had Awana for about 6 years now at our church. It is fun to see it all come full circle.

  3. Commander Bill, my daughter and so-in-law attend a Spanish speaking church called “New Jerusalem” baptist church. They rent the North Side Gospel Center for their services on Sunday afternoon. There is a history museum in the basement that you can visit by making an appointment. I hope to be able to visit some time in the future. Vern Larson(Awana Commander) First Covenant Church, River Falls, Wisconsin.

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