NASHVILLE (BP) — Lifeway Christian Resources President Thom Rainer told the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention the publisher continues to experience “God’s hand and God’s favor” — a sentiment that summarizes the entity’s accomplishments in 2013.
Rainer’s assertion that LifeWay continues “to draw closer to churches and serve them more deeply, resulting in a greater ability to serve the bride of Christ” is evidenced in some of the LifeWay-related stories in the news during the past year.
— LifeWay updates Bible Studies for Life
More than one and a half million people saw major improvements in their Bible study materials as LifeWay Christian Resources launched an updated and enhanced version of its leading Bible study series — Bible Studies for Life. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=39539
— LifeWay trustees approve sale of Glorieta to Christian camping ministry
LifeWay’s trustees approved the sale of the Glorieta Conference Center to a group dedicated to continue using the property as a Christian camp and conference center. The new nonprofit corporation, called Glorieta 2.0, was formed and funded by a group of Christian businessmen and camping professionals. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=40521
— LifeWay acquires 17 Berean Christian Stores in 7 states
Over a two-week period, LifeWay Christian Stores opened 17 new stores in seven states — the result of acquiring Berean Christian Stores with locations primarily in California, Arizona and the Midwest. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=41190
— Church membership isn’t ‘privileges & perks’
With nine of 10 churches in America declining or growing at a pace slower than their communities, Rainer notes in his book, “I Am a Church Member,” that the decline stems from their members having lost the biblical understanding of what it means to be part of the body of Christ. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=40223
— 2014 VBS to explore evidence for Jesus
Kids will become special agents during LifeWay’s Vacation Bible School 2014 as they collect and log evidence about Jesus for “Agency D3” and its mission to “Discover. Decide. Defend.” http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=40435
— B&H named Spanish Publisher of the Year
B&H Publishing Group garnered seven awards from the Spanish Evangelical Publishers Association, including Publisher of the Year and Book of the Year. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=40420
— Bibles go to Asia from LifeWay customers
Throughout November, customers at LifeWay Christian Stores helped sent Bibles to individuals thousands of miles away. In a joint venture called The Thomas Project, LifeWay stores, B&H Publishing and the International Mission Board collected donations to print and distribute more than 150,000 Bibles to people in South Asia. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=41450
— LifeWay apologizes for decade-old offense in VBS curriculum
Ten years ago LifeWay Christian Resources published a Vacation Bible School curriculum they believed would introduce kids to Jesus using an Asian culture theme. But critics of the material said it promoted racial stereotypes. On Nov. 6, LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer apologized for “Rickshaw Rally” at the Mosaix conference, a gathering of multiethnic church leaders. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=41437
— ‘Experiencing God’ first release for new LifeWay Films
A documentary about the impact of “Experiencing God” — a discipleship study that influenced a generation — was the first release of LifeWay Films. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=40203
— ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ commander talks faith
The 8.6 million who viewed the 2013 season premiere of “Duck Dynasty” no doubt enjoy family patriarch Phil Robertson’s antics, from his unkempt beard to promises of poor hygiene. But the fisherman and duck caller with a master’s degree in education also tells a story of faith. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=39882
In 2013, LifeWay Research surveyed tens of thousands of Americans including church members and pastors on issues ranging from activities that influence discipleship to cultural and world affairs. Results were reported in national and international news outlets, both Christian and secular, including the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Christianity Today, RNS and USA Today. Following are five of the most read studies.
— Fewer in U.S. see homosexuality as a sin, but see it as civil rights issue
According to a LifeWay Research survey of Americans belief that homosexuality is a sin fell over the last year, and 58 percent of adults now believe homosexuality is a civil rights issue. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=39514, http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=39860
— Prayer, Bible study and mental illness
A third of Americans — and nearly half of evangelical, fundamentalist or born again Christians — believe prayer and Bible study alone can overcome serious mental illness, according to a survey by LifeWay Research. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=41112
— Black church plants grow, research shows
A steady increase in attendance has been the overall trend among African American churches planted prior to 2012, LifeWay Research learned from “the first research project of its size and scope,” as researchers described it, “to measure characteristics distinctive to the African American context.” http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=41016
— Immigration reform garners pastor support
Nearly six in 10 senior pastors of Protestant churches support immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, according to a survey from LifeWay Research.
— U.S. Syrian attack sign of end times?
Nearly one in three Americans see the threat of airstrikes against Syria as part of the Bible’s plan for the end times. http://bpressstage.wpengine.com/BPnews.asp?ID=41087
Compiled by Marty King, director of communications for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.