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Lifeway celebrates banner year marked with new resources, next-gen emphasis

Lifeway’s game-focused “Twists & Turns” theme helped kids learn that Jesus guides them through the ups, downs and zigzags of life. Most importantly, kids encountered the gospel and learned that sin’s message of “game over” is overcome through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Photo by Aaron Earls

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP) — Lifeway Christian Resources had one of its best years ever in 2023, highlighted by a third consecutive year of revenue growth, strong participation in camps and events and the launch of new resources designed to serve churches as they take the gospel further into the world.

“As we wrap up this year, our team has much to be grateful for and celebrate,” said Lifeway President and CEO Ben Mandrell. “There are many indicators from 2023 that speak to God’s provision and blessing, but at the top of that list are the stories we continue to hear of lives being transformed for Christ because of our partnership with local churches. This was a banner year for Lifeway, and our team is even more excited about what’s in store next year and beyond as we pour into church leaders and their ministries.”

Next-gen Emphasis

This summer, Lifeway hosted more than 111,000 kids and students at camps across the nation, representing over 4,000 churches. More than 3,700 campers placed their faith in Jesus for salvation. Additionally, kids and teenagers gave more than a half a million dollars in offerings to support the work of the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board. Photo by Lifeway

A pressing theme for Lifeway this year was the importance of reaching the next generation for Christ. This summer, Lifeway launched its first new curriculum line in more than a decade. The new curriculum, Hyfi, is a high-energy, relationship-focused resource designed to take the gospel to kids and students in more unchurched contexts. Having already passed 1,200 church subscribers since launch, it joins Lifeway’s other ongoing curriculum lines that emphasize varied starting points for discipleship strategy: Bible Studies for Life (life application), Explore the Bible (biblical text) and The Gospel Project (theology).

Meanwhile, CentriKid, Student Life, Student Life for Kids and FUGE camps hosted more than 111,000 people from more than 4,000 churches. This summer, more than 3,700 campers placed their faith in Jesus for salvation. Additionally, kids and teenagers gave more than a half a million dollars in offerings to support the work of the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board.

Vacation Bible School remained one of the top evangelistic tools in 2023, with Lifeway’s game-focused Twists & Turns theme proving popular with churches and spawning local church partnerships and revitalization efforts. In June, Lifeway announced its 2024 VBS theme, Breaker Rock Beach, designed to help kids stand on God’s unshakable truth in a world of changing tides of popular opinion.

Resources & Events

Lifeway and B&H Publishing received more than two dozen awards and recognitions this year for newly published books, Bibles and Bible studies. In May, the Spanish Evangelical Publishing Association named Lifeway the Spanish publisher of the year. This is the fifth time Lifeway, the world’s leading provider of Spanish Bibles, has received this recognition.

The Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation continued to increase in popularity, peaking as the No. 2 best-selling Bible translation this year as reported by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). New editions of the optimal-equivalent translation, like the “CSB Life Counsel Bible,” joined perennial favorites like the “CSB She Reads Truth Study Bible,” which saw its best year since launch. Meanwhile, the ECPA recognized the “CSB Explorer Bible for Kids” as Bible of the year. This marked the first time in 18 years the ECPA has named a children’s resource Bible of the year.

Trade book publishing also saw great success this year. In October, B&H Publishing released Jackie Hill Perry’s devotional “Upon Waking,” which became the ECPA’s No. 2 best-selling book the following month. It also appeared on bestseller lists of The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly.

Perry’s live “Glory” teaching events attracted women from across the country as did other Lifeway Women events and simulcasts such as Lifeway Women Live, Going Beyond Live with Priscilla Shirer , You Lead and the Lifeway Women Leadership Forum . Collectively, Lifeway Women hosted more than 150,000 women at these events. The importance of developing and discipling women in the church was also highlighted in a first-of-its-kind study by Lifeway Research on the State of Ministry to Women.

Lifeway also continued to add new resources to its podcast network, introducing “His Glory, Her Good” with Amanda Mejias and Corinne Allen, “Let it Shine” with Angie Elkins and “Disciple-Making in Community” with Ken Braddy. Established resources and events saw continued success and celebrated milestone achievements this year. Lifeway’s annual January Bible Study honored 75 years by returning to the book of the Bible where it first began, while the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference celebrated three decades of ministry.

For the fifth year in a row, Lifeway.com was named in Newsweek’s Best Online Shops and ranked No. 2 in the media category. New features to improve the shopping experience, such as this year’s introduction of customer-provided ratings and review for products, continue to elevate the site in the Christian-publishing industry.

New Teaming Space

Most of Lifeway’s workforce continues to operate within the flexibility of a work-from-anywhere model, but the organization celebrated the grand opening of a new teaming space this April in the Maryland Farms area of Brentwood, Tennessee. This space will be used for strategic meetings, collaboration, training and events and for hosting authors and other ministry partners.

With continued strong ties to Nashville and the surrounding area, Lifeway employees donated $50,000 to the Nashville Rescue Mission this fall and, throughout the year, provided more than 640 volunteer hours to community partners while serving more than 26,000 meals.

Lifeway also continued its internship program in 2023, providing 15 college students and recent graduates the opportunity to spend the summer working alongside professionals in the Christian publishing industry. Internship descriptions and applications for 2024 are now posted at Lifeway.com.

“Looking to 2024 and beyond, we have our eyes set on serving the local church,” said Mandrell. “Everything we do is run through that lens. For 132 years, Lifeway has existed to serve the body of Christ made up of local congregations and their leaders. We are now positioned better than ever to champion the bride of Christ as she makes disciples of all nations.”