INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–A two-year journey to create and launch the next-generation hymnal was the primary focus of LifeWay Christian Resources’ presentation June 10 during the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis.
Titled “The Worship Project,” it is an online digital music project which allows worship leaders to customize worship and special music through downloadable files.
The project incorporates a variety of styles of music and includes music found in the soon-to-be released Baptist Hymnal. The hymnal is the first printing of the Baptist Hymnal since 1991. Both projects are the culmination of a rigorous theological and musical selection process.
“The digital capabilities of this new ministry boggle the mind,” LifeWay President Thom S. Rainer said in introducing a video presentation about the full capabilities of the Worship Project (www.lifewayworship.com).
During LifeWay’s report, Rainer also introduced several initiatives in which LifeWay employees are involved, such as their missionary spirit for reaching the nations with the Gospel.
“Realizing the nations are coming to this country,” he said, “a number of employees proposed a project that would translate key evangelism and discipleship resources into the top 50 spoken languages in the United States.”
The resources are being translated into Yoruba, Cantonese, Punjabi, French Creole and 46 other languages. Eventually the resources will be translated into the top 100 languages found in the United States.
Another evangelism-related initiative noted by Rainer is the work of LifeWay’s B&H Publishing Group through its Bible society, Holman Bible Outreach, which has given away or sold 1 million low-cost Bibles in just the past two years. These Bibles are given to individuals, organizations and churches that could not otherwise afford them and which make evangelism a priority.
Rainer spent several minutes talking about the financial support through payroll deductions LifeWay employees provide to 10 selected Christian organizations in Middle Tennessee each year. One of those is Katie’s Helping Hand.
Katie Mitchell, the daughter of a LifeWay employee, was diagnosed in May 2004 -– at age 12 -– with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Katie endured two and a half years of chemotherapy, spinal taps and blood infusions. Throughout the ordeal, Mitchell and her family met other families whose children were in the hospital with life-threatening illnesses. One family’s daughter had been in the hospital 200 days in one year.
As Mitchell endured her own treatments, she began looking for a way to help the out-of-town family members of the other patients. Her dream became reality and now her organization has meals delivered to the hospital rooms so that the families have meals at no cost to them.
“LifeWay Christian Resources is proud to support Katie’s Helping Hand,” Rainer said. “And we are proud of Katie, whose hair has grown back from the aftermath of chemotherapy and whose heart is as big as the horizon.”
During the report time, a question was raised from the convention floor whether LifeWay could develop resources for visually impaired and blind children. Rainer assured the messenger the request would be given consideration.
Chris Turner is media relations manager for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.