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LifeWay Canada expedites resources to Canadian Christians

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Four years ago, shipping resources to Canada was slow and costly for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

To remedy the problem, LifeWay’s international department established an agreement with R.G. Mitchell Family Books Inc., an Ontario-based Christian book distributor. According to the agreement, R.G. Mitchell created a component called LifeWay Canada to distribute LifeWay materials throughout the nation. Four years later, Canadian Christians are receiving materials quickly and cheaply.

“Over the last four years, we have achieved our goals and seen a timely delivery of our resources to Christians in Canada,” said Alan Tungett, LifeWay International’s lead consultant. “For those who have known Canadian Baptist churches and the difficulty they had with getting resources, this is an answer to prayer.”

One of the biggest problems prior to the establishment of LifeWay Canada was slow delivery time between the LifeWay warehouse in Tennessee and consumers in Canada. But now an R.G. Mitchell truck makes two runs per week between Nashville and Toronto, stocking the LifeWay Canada warehouse with a full complement of Christian materials. In addition to the normal stock of resources, Canadians can order any material in the LifeWay catalog and experience timely delivery, Tungett said.

LifeWay Canada also has solved the dilemma of expensive prices in Canada.

“We have achieved across-the-board price reduction,” Tungett said. “Our products up there are competitive with U.S. prices. Sales have improved every year since the partnership started over four years [ago].”

As a convenience for Canadian consumers, LifeWay Canada puts prices in Canadian dollars on all products. This measure eliminated confusion over currency exchange and the value difference between American and Canadian dollars, Tungett said.

“Canadian churches found it difficult to purchase resources because they came slowly and at a higher cost. We’re finding more of the churches are getting the materials they need to train people in spiritual maturation,” he said, adding that LifeWay Canada gives churches “what they need when they need it to train their people.”

To help Canadian churches know how to use LifeWay resources, Tungett conducts monthly teleconferences with 18 LifeWay Canada representatives. In the conference calls, he introduces new resources to the Canadian consultants and explains how to use them. The consultants, in turn, introduce resources to churches.

A recent conference in Prince Edward Island demonstrated the impact of LifeWay’s ministry in Canada. Cathy McMulkin, a sales and marketing representative for LifeWay Canada, reported that many conference attendees thanked LifeWay for its ministry and expressed appreciation that a Christian organization was willing to bring training to Canada’s most remote provinces. All but two of the churches in attendance ordered LifeWay resources.

Some of the most popular resources in Canada include “Experiencing God” and other works by Canadian author Henry Blackaby. Canadian believers frequently “talk about the difference those resources have made,” Tungett said.

Reports of lives being impacted encourage LifeWay to continue its work in Canada and confirm the value of the partnership with R.G. Mitchell, Tungett said.

“For a long time, we’ve had a great plethora of resources in the U.S. that we haven’t been able to get to Canada,” he said. “With this partnership, we have a timely and efficient way to get evangelical resources [there].”

In addition to distributing resources, LifeWay conducts several conferences in Canada each year, training believers on how to conduct discipleship in the local church. Over the next year, LifeWay will host between four and six conferences in Canada, Tungett said. Conference speakers will include author Robert Lewis, LifeWay women’s ministry experts and other Christian leaders.