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LifeWay, amid growing impact, wins key Spanish awards

MIAMI (BP) — LifeWay Global and its B&H Publishing Español division, in its growing Hispanic impact, garnered a dozen awards — more than any other publisher — at the Spanish Evangelical Publishers Association’s (SEPA) awards banquet Aug. 7.

The annual event recognizes the highest quality and excellence in the publication, sale and marketing of Spanish Christian literature.

“This is about more than just publishing, it’s equipping the saints for every good work,” said Craig Featherstone, director of LifeWay Global, citing Ephesians 4:12.

Giancarlo Montemayor, manager of Spanish editorial at LifeWay Christian Resources, described the awards recognition as a sign of greater ministry impact.

“We’re thrilled to take part in putting Bible-saturated content into the hands of Christians and non-Christians all around the world.” Montemayor said. “Part of the story these awards tell is that we’re indeed achieving this goal.”

The top SEPA award for “Best Original Book in Spanish” went to LifeWay Global and B&H Español for “Siervos Para Su Gloria” (Servants for His Glory) by Miguel Núñez.

Other awards LifeWay received were:

— Best Book Cover: “Light in the Darkness” by Patricia Namnún
— Best Bible Cover and Interior: “RVR 1960 Large Print Note-Taking Bible”
— Best Video: “NVI Reader’s Bible”
— Best Bible Study: “Experiencing God” by Henry T. Blackaby
— Best Gift Book: “Battle Plan for Prayer”
— Best Specialty Bible — “RVR 1960 Fisher of Men Bible”

LifeWay Global also was recognized for the following Milestone Honors for exceptional sales achievements:

Platinum (more than 500,000 units sold):
— “RVR 1960 Gift and Award Bible”

Gold (more than 250,000 units sold):
— “RVR 1960 Rainbow Bible”
— “The Love Dare” by Stephen and Alex Kendrick

Silver (more than 100,000 units sold):
— “Pershitta Bible”
— “Holman Bible Dictionary”

At the LifeWay Global Annual Luncheon the day after the SEPA awards, Featherstone’s team surprised LifeWay retiree Jim Cook by honoring him during the gathering. Cook is a 30-year employee from global sales who Featherstone says was instrumental in paving the way for the worldwide reach LifeWay Global is experiencing.

“Jim turned over to me relational equity — the trust and the confidence people in the [publishing] industry have in us,” Featherstone said. “I’m glad we had the chance to honor him before a couple hundred industry friends and colleagues.”

Featherstone said honoring Cook represented the legacy of the past and that the awards signify an “extraordinary” present. But he’s particularly excited about new opportunities for LifeWay Global’s efforts over the next several years.

“You take all the Spanish Christian publishers combined and we’re probably reaching 2 percent to 3 percent of the Spanish-speaking world,” he said. “How big is the dream and how much can we innovate to reach hundreds of millions of people that have no idea this Christian content even exists?”

Featherstone previewed three levers he believes will make that possible: investing in local authors, training Spanish-speaking Christian leaders and developing new channels for distribution.

“The last five years have been breathtaking for us to go from having only one international author to — by the end of this year — hitting the 50-author mark,” Featherstone said about LifeWay Global. “Honoring the voices of Latin American leaders is working. There will be more partnerships going forward.”

For training, LifeWay Global recently launched LifeWayEquipa.com, an online video-driven training platform for Spanish-speaking Christians.

“In just a few short months, around 4,000 pastors from 30 countries have signed on and are using this resource,” said Featherstone, noting it is just the beginning of larger Spanish-focused training initiatives.

César Custodio, LifeWay’s Spanish sales and marketing manager, who also served as emcee at the SEPA awards, said the 12 awards LifeWay received should encourage the LifeWay Global team to press harder into the calling God has given them to take the Gospel to the nations.

“To everyone who has been given much, much will be required,” Custodio reminded his team. “God gives us the wisdom, skill and determination to keep raising the bar.”