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LifeWay: Cutback reflects ‘tough times’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–LifeWay Christian Resources, one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services, announced Aug. 1 that it is reducing its workforce by approximately 5 percent and cutting expenses in other parts of its operations.

LifeWay, which is a religious nonprofit organization related to the Southern Baptist Convention but does not receive direct financial support from the denomination, is making the move in response to the downturn the U.S. economy has been experiencing, according to a statement released by the organization.

“LifeWay Christian Resources is feeling the pinch of tough economic times,” the statement said. “Higher fuel prices, inflation, bank and housing crises, and much more have lowered consumers’ discretionary spending, which in turn is leading to lower-than-projected revenues.”

“These are hard but necessary steps to ensure the continued effectiveness of LifeWay ministries,” said Thom S. Rainer, LifeWay’s president and chief executive officer. “The decision to delete jobs is one of the most agonizing I’ve had to make in my career.

“We simply have some of the finest people in Christian ministry at LifeWay,” Rainer added. “For those leaving us, we are praying and trusting that the Lord will open up new avenues of service in the days ahead.”

As a religious nonprofit organization, LifeWay is funded totally through the sale of its resources, Rainer noted.

Employees whose positions have been eliminated will receive severance pay, some benefits and outplacement services, the statement said. In addition, some of those employees will be able to take advantage of retirement benefits.

Although the economic downturn that began last fall has affected most sectors of the economy, “LifeWay is weathering the storm better than many other Christian ministries,” Rainer pointed out. “LifeWay is debt free and in excellent financial condition. Although we are adjusting our priorities and scaling back some operations, we are well positioned to continue our ministry to people and churches across the nation and around the world.”

The statement said Rainer asked LifeWay employees to join him in prayer for those leaving the organization, as well as for continuing employees. “I especially covet your prayers for me and those in leadership at LifeWay,” he wrote. “We desire to know and do the will of God — today, tomorrow and always.”
Compiled by Mark Kelly, an assistant editor with Baptist Press.

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