STREAMWOOD, Ill. – Awana today announced the launch of a national search for a new leader following the resignation of current President Jack Eggar. Eggar’s departure comes after much discussion and prayer with the Board of Directors; The Board has named Valerie Bell as Interim President and CEO.
Bell brings to her new role an extensive background in leadership, including years of service as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of MOPS International. Bell is a lifelong advocate for children and family and has authored several books on those topics. She will shepherd the senior leaders and their teams to ensure the continuity of ministry operations while the national search for a new President and CEO is conducted. Bell has resigned from her service on the Awana Board of Directors to accept this interim role.
“We are grateful for Jack’s faithful leadership over the past 19 years, and we continue to look to the future of Awana,” said Board president David Branton. “With Valerie stepping in to serve in the interim, we will be able to seamlessly continue our mission of reaching children, equipping leaders and changing the world for Christ.”
The Board of Directors reaffirms the continued direction of the Awana strategic plan. By remaining focused on ministry health, the strategic plan serves as a way for Awana to discern ministry goals and strategies that lead to equipping more leaders to reach kids with the Gospel.
“We are asking God to give us better days than we even had in the past, because God has great things ahead for Awana,” said 97-year-old Awana co-founder, Art Rorheim.
During Eggar’s 19 years of service to Awana, he led the organizations in a number of initiatives that helped Awana grow to new churches and new countries. Some of these accomplishments include:
- In 2001, Eggar led the Awana board through a process of repositioning the ministry to its original vision. This opened up Awana to serve thousands more churches globally. His courageous decision is ultimately what has allowed Awana to establish a large global footprint today.
“Jack Eggar’s unique skillset led our ministry through this season back in the early 2000s. His fearless leadership catapulted the ability of Awana to extend our Gospel reach to children in some of the most forgotten corners of the world,” said Branton. “Awana leaders will be thanking God for Jack’s foresight on this one decision for generations to come.”
- In 2007, Eggar played an instrumental role in launching the Awana “Leader Based Strategy” (LBS) outside of the United States. Prior to 2007, Awana’s ability to grow abroad was limited due to methodology built upon a product-based approach to running children’s ministries. Now the LBS is running full speed by equipping leaders to reach kids with the Gospel and engaging them in lifelong discipleship. At the time LBS was launched, Awana was reaching 400,000 children weekly outside of the U.S. in ongoing discipleship. Today, the number of children reached and engaged weekly has grown to 2.3 million children outside of the U.S.
Additionally, Eggar aided in the successful transition of Awana from the leadership and direction of its co-founder, Art Rorheim, to a new era of leadership today. In Mr. Eggar’s role, he honored Rorheim’s legacy by remaining relentlessly focused on equipping leaders to reach kids with the Gospel and by keeping Scripture memory a key attribute of Awana’s programs and curriculum.
“Anyone who knows Jack Eggar, knows that he’s always sought to honor Art by understanding, appreciating and interpreting the past while leading Awana into a new generation of leadership,” said Branton.
For more information on Awana, visit www.awana.org.
Awana is a global, non-profit children and youth ministry committed to the belief that the greatest impact for the Gospel starts with kids who know, love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. Reaching more than 3 million kids and youth each week with the Gospel, Awana equips parents, volunteers and leaders with proven integrated programs, tools and training. Evidenced by stories of life, family and community transformation, God is changing the world through the ministry of Awana. As a non-profit ministry, Awana is funded by donations and revenues that enable God’s Word to reach kids and change lives globally. Today, the ministry of Awana takes place in 35,000 churches and more than 115 countries worldwide. To learn more about Awana for your home, church or community outreach or to support reaching kids with the Gospel globally, visit us at awana.org. To watch the compelling documentary of God at work reaching kids with the Gospel through trained leaders, visit awana.org/more.