For LifeWay Christian Resources, 2017 marked a historic move and the launch of several new resources and services to meet the needs of churches in a rapidly changing culture.
In November, LifeWay moved into its new Nashville headquarters celebrating with a dedication ceremony.
Photo by Katie Shull, LifeWay
LifeWay Christian Resources employees gather for an inaugural chapel service in their new headquarters, with President Thom S. Rainer chronicling the Southern Baptist entity’s history and looking toward the future.
At the same time, LifeWay opened a new store in downtown Nashville, returning a retail presence to a community where LifeWay Christian Store had been a fixture for decades.
“There will never be a time we are not changing,” LifeWay President and CEO Thom S. Rainer told trustees in August. “We are choosing to move forward in an exciting and promising way.”
Other highlights of 2017:
LifeWay’s first Global Summit drew leaders from around the world to discuss outreach to the nations. LifeWay now reaches 163 countries with print and digital resources, with offices or representatives in China, India, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Guatemala.
B&H Publishing celebrated the life and legacy of 19th-century British preacher Charles Spurgeon with the release of several resources, including the CSB Spurgeon Study Bible, with Spurgeon’s sermon outlines and notes; Steal Away Home, the story of Spurgeon’s unlikely friendship with a former slave; and the first two volumes of The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon, a multivolume set that will be completed in 2021. In August, B&H hosted the first-ever Charles Spurgeon Conference at Spurgeon’s College in London.
Other new LifeWay resources to help believers and the church include “Pray Like This: Living the Lord’s Prayer,” a six-session Bible study created in partnership with Southern Baptist Convention president Steve Gaines, and “Authentic Love,” a new True Love Waits Bible study for teens.
And online, LifeWay launched services to help Christians navigate an increasingly digital world. TwentyTwoSix Parenting, an online resource named after Proverbs 22:6, started in June to help busy parents disciple their children. LifeWay Social, an online coaching service to help Christians manage social media from a biblical perspective, joined the lineup in October.
As the nation reeled from natural disasters, LifeWay offered support. After Hurricane Harvey, LifeWay sent Bibles and study materials to Texas to replace those lost to the storm. Through World Changers, LifeWay also helped people in need of ordinary home repairs.
In September, LifeWay partnered with Getty Music for the inaugural Sing! conference in Nashville, featuring songwriters Keith and Kristyn Getty. More than 4,000 pastors, music leaders and musicians attended. Other LifeWay events drawing hundreds or thousands of participants in 2017 included the ETCH family ministry conference in October; LifeWay’s second Pipeline conference in October; and the Women’s Leadership Forum in November.
Also in May, Forbes magazine named LifeWay one of the nation’s top 300 midsize employers, based on an independent survey of 30,000 workers at large or midsize firms nationwide.
Troubled by research showing around 65 percent of Southern Baptist churches are stalled or shrinking, LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer partnered with the North American Mission Board this year to launch EvangelismRenewal.com. With testimonies, resources and research, the website emphasizes encouraging Christians to share their faith. Visitors can receive a free e-book, “Rainer on Evangelism.”
LifeWay Research surveyed thousands of pastors, Christians and Americans this year on a wide range of topics. Among the studies released by LifeWay Research in 2017:
Most churchgoing Protestant parents of young adults say their kids grew up to be Christians – but half of them don’t actually practice their faith, the study showed. The biggest factor predicting their spiritual health as young adults is whether they read the Bible regularly as kids. The survey is highlighted in the book “Nothing Less: Engaging Kids in a Lifetime of Faith,” released Oct. 2.
About a quarter of Americans say they are evangelical Christians but fewer than half of those who identify as evangelicals strongly agree with core evangelical beliefs, according to the study. And a significant number of evangelical believers reject the term “evangelical.”
Most spouses of Protestant pastors feel a call to ministry and enjoy their roles inside and outside the church, the study showed. But many also have few friends, think they yell at their kids too much and worry about money.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by the communications staff of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.)