Awana in the News


Mike Broyles Named New Executive Director of Awana Lifeline
May 9th, 2013

STREAMWOOD, IL – In 2006, while serving as a family life pastor, Mike Broyles devised a unique idea for training fathers in his church. Broyles recruited 20 men to assist him in mentoring prisoners at Los Angeles County Jails.

Broyles and the men taught the inmates how to live up to their biblical responsibilities as fathers using Malachi Dads, a prison program of Awana Lifeline™. Many of the inmates came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Others began seeking ways to positively impact their children’s lives through the principles they learned in the program.

To Broyles’ delight, members of his volunteer prison ministry team experienced dramatic changes as well.

“The wives of these men came up to me and asked, “’What are you doing to our husbands?’” Broyles recalled. “One woman explained, ’For the first time ever, my husband is praying with me and reading the Bible each night to our kids.’ I told them, ‘The inmates are the ones teaching your husbands how to be godly men and godly fathers.’”

Same motivation but on a larger scale

Seven years later, Broyles has accepted a new role as executive director of Awana Lifeline Ministries. This new opportunity enables him to continue pursuing the mission he started at his church in 2006, only now on a much larger scale.

“It’s still my motive today,” Broyles said. “I want to train fathers in the church while involving them in the lives of inmates and inmates’ children around the world.”

Broyles believes strongly in Awana Lifeline’s vision that every child would have a godly father who is building a legacy of faith in Christ. He looks forward to continuing Lifeline’s mission as a fathering ministry – inspiring and equipping men, families, churches and communities to develop godly fathers.

“Mike is a visionary leader committed to the Lord’s work,” Awana President/CEO Jack Eggar said. “He has a heart and passion for children, fatherhood and prison ministry. I believe Mike will lead Awana Lifeline to influence more men in the church and in prison than ever to be the fathers that their children urgently need.”

Equipping inmates to disciple their kids

Broyles partnered with Awana Lifeline for several years while serving as a pastor for Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, California. His primary involvement was leading the Malachi Dads program at Pitchess, one of the prison facilities in L.A. County Jails. L.A. County is the largest prison system in the world, housing 20,000 inmates at nine locations.

For the past two years, Broyles served as director of prison ministries for World Impact. Using Malachi Dads, he has seen more than 1,000 men trust Christ for salvation in L.A. County Jails. Another 1,200 inmates have learned how to spiritually lead their children, 500 men have been baptized, and another 150 are studying to become pastors.

“I hope we can take Malachi Dads farther than ever,” Broyles said. “And I think there’s just as great of a spiritual revival needed among men in churches as men in prisons.”

Broyles also helped run five Returning Hearts Celebration events at L.A. County Jail and at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. Returning Hearts unites children and their incarcerated fathers for a carnival-style day of fun, relationship building and Bible teaching inside the prison grounds, giving dads the opportunity to reconcile with their children and invite them to receive Christ as their Savior.

‘The best education I’ve had … has come from inmates’

Broyles’ efforts training fathers both inside and outside the church has been the most rewarding experience of his 40 years in ministry.

“I’m a different person today because of the inmates I’ve encountered,” Broyles noted. “I like to say that the best education I’ve had in the last several years has come from inmates who love Jesus Christ.”

Broyles assumes leadership for a ministry that has quickly grown across North America since launching in 2004. To date, more than 50 prisons and jails have enlisted Malachi Dads, graduating over 1,500 men from the program. Returning Hearts Celebrations have taken place at dozens of prisons nationwide. Since 2011, the Turn Assembly has challenged hundreds of free men to build a legacy of faith in Christ in their homes through conferences held inside prison walls. Two years ago, Awana Lifeline expanded its mission outside jails and prisons and into local churches and community settings.

“Awana Lifeline is about bringing hope, joy and forgiveness to inmates and their families and men in churches and their families all across America,” Broyles explained. “It’s about breaking the cycle of crime and the cycle of sin from generation to generation. We’re about seeing men in prisons and men in churches become the light of the world.”

For more information on Mike Broyles and Awana Lifeline or to set up an interview, call David Bunker at (630) 540-4695 or email mediarelations@awana.org.

About Awana Lifeline and Awana®

While founded by Awana, Awana Lifeline is its own non-profit organization. It relies completely on the generosity of donors to sustain the ministry and expand its reach.

Awana is an international ministry that helps churches and parents raise children and youth to know, love and serve Christ. Each week, more than two million kids take part in Awana through 28,000 churches, orphanages and other local organizations in the U.S. and around the world. Awana is the only organization with fully integrated, Bible-based programs for ages 2 to 18 that actively involve parents, church leaders and mentors.

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Larry Fowler Discusses Rock-Solid Volunteers on National Cable Show
April 4th, 2011

Larry Fowler discussed his new book, Rock-Solid Volunteers, during LeSea Broadcasting’s Harvest Show TV program on Monday, April 4. The interview can be seen on LeSea’s Web site.
Larry Fowler

Published by Gospel Light, Rock-Solid Volunteers explains how to retain and recruit volunteers in a variety of ministry settings. It is based on seven leadership principles demonstrated by Nehemiah of the Old Testament. The book teaches ministry leaders how to draw, equip, support and keep great volunteers.

The Harvest Show also highlighted Larry’s work as Awana executive director of global training. For 30 years, Larry has served in a range of capacities, including local-church Awana volunteer, missionary, speaker, author, teacher and executive director of international ministries, program development and training.

Larry has also authored Raising a Modern-Day Joseph and Rock-Solid Kids. Raising a Modern-Day Joseph offers a biblical plan for developing children into Christ-following adults. Rock-Solid Kids helps churches and parents build a healthy children’s ministry modeled on biblical teaching.

The Harvest Show, co-hosted by Drew Sumrall and Valerie Lowe, airs live Monday through Friday from 9 to 10 a.m. Eastern Time. It is replayed at 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Check your local listings for air times. The Harvest Show is accessible by approximately 46 million homes around North America. LeSea’s Middle East Television satellite reaches 73 million homes in Israel and 15 surrounding nations. Far East Television airs LeSea Broadcasting to approximately 4.3 billion people in Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa.

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Rock-Solid Volunteers Author to Appear on Detroit Radio Station February 9
January 28th, 2011

Larry Fowler is author of Rock-Solid Volunteers on training, volunteerism

Larry Fowler will discuss his new book, Rock-Solid Volunteers: Keep Your Ministry Team Engaged, on The Bob Dutko Show on WMUZ 103.5 FM in Detroit. Bob Dutko will interview Larry at 1:35 p.m. CT on Wednesday, February 9. (Listen online.)

Using the leadership principles demonstrated by Nehemiah of the Old Testament, Larry’s book shows ministry leaders how to attract, equip, support and keep great volunteers.

“Recruiting people for ministry and keeping them engaged are perennial problems,” Larry says. “Pastors, children’s pastors and ministry leaders consistently point to recruiting and retaining volunteers as their number-one challenge.”

Larry is Awana executive director of global training. He has also authored Raising a Modern-Day Joseph and Rock-Solid Kids.

The Bob Dutko Show analyzes issues such as morality, independence and parenting from a Christian perspective. WMUZ is a contemporary Christian music station.

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Rock-Solid Volunteers Author to Appear on National Radio Program February 2
January 25th, 2011

Larry Fowler is author of Rock-Solid Volunteers

Larry Fowler will appear on the “Seize the Day with Gus Lloyd” show on the Sirius satellite radio Catholic Channel to discuss his new book, Rock Solid Volunteers: Keep Your Ministry Team Engaged. He will be interviewed at 8:40 a.m. CT on Wednesday, February 2.

Using the leadership principles demonstrated by Nehemiah of the Old Testament, Larry’s book shows ministry leaders how to attract, equip, support and keep great volunteers.

“Recruiting people for ministry and keeping them engaged are perennial problems,” Larry says.

“Pastors, children’s pastors and ministry leaders consistently point to recruiting and retaining volunteers as their number-one challenge.”

The Catholic Channel combines modern talk format and open dialogue. Programs are located on Sirius XM Channel 159.

Larry earlier discussed his new book on the United News & Information (UNI) radio program on January 25. UNI News provides stories about international and national news events, including moral and religious issues of public importance.

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Awana Co-Founder Discusses His New Book on Moody Radio
December 14th, 2010

Art Rorheim

Art Rorheim, Awana Co-Founder/President Emeritus, appears on the Moody Radio show Chris Fabry Live on Tuesday, December 14 at 2 p.m. CT.

Art discusses his new book, Mr. Awana: Over 60 Years of Impacting the World for Christ. In Mr. Awana, Art shares many of the amazing moments in which he has seen God work in his life and in Awana over the past 60 years. Follow him from a young man serving as the youth director at North Side Gospel Center in Chicago to the leader of an international organization partnering with 22,000 churches in over 100 countries.

Chris Fabry Live! is a two-hour call-in program that challenges and encourages listeners in their journeys of faith.

Listen to the broadcast

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First Ministry Conference Simulcast Celebrates 60 Years of Awana
October 8th, 2010

Awana President/CEO Jack Eggar

Awana hosted its first-ever Awana Ministry Conference Simulcast September 11 at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, to unify local-church volunteers and celebrate 60 years of ministry.

Presented each fall around the U.S. by area Awana missionaries, Awana Ministry Conferences provide volunteers with motivational teaching and practical ideas for their ministries. This year, in addition to the traditional venues, 10,000 Awana leaders had the opportunity to attend the nationwide simulcast broadcast live by satellite at 82 local host churches.

The simulcast’s theme was “Generation After Generation of Lasting Faith in Christ.” It reflects the Awana strategy to equip churches and parents in spiritually training kids from ages 2 to 18 so that their faith sustains them into adulthood. In turn, the youth pass down that training to their children and their children’s children.

The simulcast featured a strong lineup of keynote and workshop speakers:

  • Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, discussed the significance of leaving a legacy of faith from generation to generation.
  • Awana President/CEO Jack Eggar gave an up-close look at three strategic Awana ministries across the globe.
  • Awana Co-Founder Art Rorheim shared his hopes for Awana for the next 60 years.
  • Larry Fowler, executive director of global training, addressed the challenges of helping children develop a biblical worldview in an increasingly secular world.
  • Shawn Thornton, senior pastor of Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, California, challenged Awana leaders to retool their ministries by learning to rethink their leadership roles.

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Awana at Home Ministry Featured on Moody Radio
October 8th, 2010

A new family ministry initiative from Awana, Awana at Home®, recently got air play on the Moody Radio program Prime Time America.

“Awana at Home is representative of our desire to have a well-rounded ministry model,” said Michael Scarbrough, Awana director of U.S. club ministries. “A model that keys off our historical strength in children’s ministry in local churches but also partners with parents to challenge and equip them to be the primary spiritual leaders of their children.”

One of the motivating factors for Awana at Home is the number of families who have never had role models for what Christian discipleship should look like in the home. “We believe that there is a whole generation of parents who may have been raised in the church but who have not seen the faith life at home being actively led by their parents,” Mr. Scarbrough said. “So we do need the local church to take the lead to reach out to them.”

In Awana at Home church groups, parents receive in-church training in how to disciple their children. They then use the Awana at Home Parent Kit to teach their kids at home. The kit gives suggestions for three components of a family night – Game Time, Handbook Time and Bible Time.

With the majority of U.S. youth leaving the church after high school, Awana believes it’s more important than ever that parents and churches partner together to disciple kids.

“Think of a bicycle with only one pedal,” Mr. Scarbrough said. “If you tried to ride it, you’d have difficulty with balance, speed and power. I feel that the one pedal has been the church. We want to bring the other pedal back into the picture and see parents and churches pedaling together with the goal of producing young adults who would be like Joseph of the Old Testament.”

Listen to the Prime Time America broadcast

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Awana Celebrates 60 Years of Ministry at National Youth Summit
October 8th, 2010

Art Rorheim

Awana Co-Founder Art Rorheim started a weekly children’s program in a Chicago church in 1943. Mr. Rorheim had no idea by 2010 Awana would swell to reach 1.5 million kids in 109 countries through over 20,000 churches.

Awana recently celebrated 60 years of ministry with more than 1,000 youth, volunteers, staff, friends and associates at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois. The 60th Celebration took place on the opening night of the Summit 2010 youth conference. Summit is an annual gathering of high-school students from 24-7 Ministries, the youth ministry of Awana.

The celebration’s theme was “Celebrating Generation after Generation of Lasting Faith in Christ.” This reflects the strategy of Awana to spiritually train kids across their formative years.

The keynote speaker for the celebration was Shawn Thornton. He is senior pastor of Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, California. The musical artist for the event was Christian recording artist Aaron Niequist. He serves as a weekend worship leader at Willow Creek Community Church.

The ceremony featured video and personal tributes to Art Rorheim. Mr. Rorheim and his wife, Winnie, were honored with a birthday reception after the event. They both turned 92 earlier this year.

Dave Meyers of New Tribes Mission also recognized Mr. Rorheim and the Awana ministry. He presented Mr. Rorheim with a $1,000 check for the Rorheim Legacy Fund to reach out to children worldwide with the love of Christ.

Awana President/CEO Jack Eggar also spoke at the event. He has served as President/CEO for the past 11 years. Under his guidance, Awana has expanded its impact from 9,000 churches to over 20,000 today.

Among the 1,300 in attendance were special guests who had served with and trained under Mr. Rorheim from as far back as the 1930s. Phil Cory from Stillman Valley, Illinois, participated in one of the first Awana summer camps in the early 1940s. His father, Victor Cory, was the president of Scripture Press. He was instrumental in helping Awana publish its first handbooks.

Ken Frizane of Mt. Prospect, Illinois, was an original Awana clubber at the North Side Gospel Center, where Awana was founded. Mr. Rorheim was his Awana leader. He has served as an Awana volunteer at his local church for 35 years.

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Awana Lifeline Expands Nationwide to 17 New U.S. Prisons
October 8th, 2010

Returning Hearts Celebration

Once considered America’s most violent prison, the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola teamed up with Awana this year to host the nation’s largest gathering of inmates and their kids.

The fourth annual Returning Hearts Celebration™ reunited 574 children and teens with 247 incarcerated fathers for a day of fun activities and reconciliation. The event helps inmate dads to restore relationships with sons or daughters they haven’t connected with in years or rarely see. This is a crucial step in breaking the cycle of familial crime.

“Just being with my children overwhelmed me,” inmate Daryl Waters said of his Returning Hearts experience. “As I looked into my daughter’s eyes and encouraged her from God’s Word, she began to weep uncontrollably. I could sense Jesus was in our midst.”

Due to the success of Returning Hearts at Angola, Awana® Lifeline™ – the prison ministry of Awana – has expanded to 17 other prisons and jails across the U.S and plans to add 11 more this year. Awana Lifeline, working in conjunction with Prison Fellowship, hosted the first Returning Hearts Celebration at Pompano Transition Center in Florida in May.

The next Returning Hearts event took place at Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport, Louisiana, on June 26. The Los Angeles County Jail, collaborating with Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, California, hosted its third Returning Hearts event on September 24.

The carnival-style celebration’s main appeal is the day-long interaction between fathers and children. Inmates wait all year for this one day when they can simply be normal dads. They share Jesus’ offer of forgiveness with their kids and ask their children for forgiveness of their own.

“I will never become bored watching inmate fathers reconcile with their children,” said Awana President/CEO Jack Eggar. “Dad on bended knee asking for forgiveness is an unforgettable picture of God’s grace and love at work.”

Volunteers are key to Returning Hearts’ success. A total of 430 volunteers from 25 states and 151 churches served at Returning Hearts at Angola.

Judge Robert Downing of the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal also volunteered at Returning Hearts. Because he believes in the power of Jesus Christ to change the hearts of inmates and their children, he has volunteered nearly every year since the event started.

“We’ve tried several generations of psychology and sociology, and nothing seems to work. I’ve tried doing educational programs, and you just get smarter criminals,” Judge Downing said. “The reason is because it’s not changing the person. The only way to change the person is to have a moral compass. And the only way I have seen it work is for someone to accept Jesus Christ and be willing to make a change.”

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Awana Lifeline Prison Ministry Featured in USA TODAY
October 8th, 2010

Returning Hearts Celebration

The nationwide publication USA Today featured the Awana® Lifeline™ prison ministry in both its print and online editions. Awana Lifeline is touching people’s hearts through its ground-breaking prison programs, Returning Hearts Celebration™ and Malachi Dads™.

Returning Hearts Celebration is a carnival-style event that allows day-long interaction between inmate fathers and children. Inmates have the opportunity to reconcile with children they may not have seen for years. First started at maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, the event now runs at prisons around the country.

Malachi Dads is a yearlong program that trains and equips inmates to become better fathers and spiritual leaders to their children.

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