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LifeWay International focuses on ‘people, not books,’ leader says

MIAMI (BP)–LifeWay International doesn’t exactly offer books, the division’s senior vice president, Luis Aranguren, said during the annual International Seminar for Hispanic Consultants May 13-15 in Miami.

“We avoid calling our resources ‘books’ because books are something you read,” Aranguren said. “Instead we call our resources ‘processes’ because processes are something you live. The difference is people don’t ‘read’ our books; they ‘live’ our books. While you are reading it, the Word of God is transforming your heart and life to be more like Him.”

During the three-day seminar attended by more than two dozen consultants and distributors from North, Central and South America, LifeWay International leaders introduced new Spanish ministry resources from LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Among the new LifeWay Español products: Robert Magee’s “The Search for Significance,” Beth Moore’s “Believing God,” Gary Chapman’s “The Love Languages of God” and a Spanish version of LifeWay’s 2005 Vacation Bible School curriculum, “Ramblin’ Road Trip.”

Seminar participants also learned how to use the products for ministry training in their respective regions.

Consultants based at LifeWay’s offices in Nashville, Tenn. -– in conjunction with resident consultants in strategic countries and 279 volunteer consultants across the globe -– have conducted nearly 3,000 discipleship workshops. In 2004, LifeWay International conducted 579 workshops, trained 42,595 pastors and lay leaders in 4,337 churches in 28 countries. Though the workshops seek to train leaders from all nations, the mid-May seminar focused on “key markets” in Spanish-speaking countries.

“It’s not enough to offer training and classes to the leaders in Latin America,” Aranguren said. “We have to be intentional about those classes and courses.”

Guillermo Hernandez, LifeWay International resident consultant in El Salvador, said he believes discipleship resources produced by LifeWay International are crucial in helping churches grow in his region. “Our churches can’t just leave new believers without discipleship material,” he said.

Whether he’s leading a workshop in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama or Colombia, Hernandez said he is intentional about showcasing to churches available Hispanic discipleship literature. “We must practice church discipleship initiatives,” he said. “If we don’t practice and teach discipleship, church growth may become stagnant. There are many who profess to be Christians in Central America, but they have not developed their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Distributors from such key U.S. areas as South Florida, Dallas, Houston, Southern California and northeast Maryland, New York and New Jersey also were among the seminar participants.

“Inviting distributors from the United States to our conference is a first-time event for us,” Aranguren said.

Aranguren said Spanish resources are one of the fastest-growing materials in the United States. “We have seen more Spanish resources produced at LifeWay in the past two years, which has taken us to another level within the Spanish-speaking market,” he said.

“Our business is people and God’s business is our business,” Aranguren reiterated. “We are about people, not books.

“What I want distributors to know about LifeWay International is that we’re not just a publishing house. We’re a ministry. We want to impact lives. We don’t just want [distributors] to take our books to put on their shelves. We want to help them become ministers in the areas where they serve, and reach out to the churches. I want them to be more than just a provider of books, but a provider of biblical solutions that transform lives.

“LifeWay International doesn’t have the answer to every problem in churches around the world,” Aranguren said, “but we know Who does.”
LifeWay Español resources are available at bookstores nationwide.

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  • Kelly Davis