NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Trustees for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention approved creation of a division for technology, effective March 1, and elected Tim Vineyard, director of LifeWay’s e-business group as vice president of the new division and chief information officer.
Vineyard will oversee LifeWay’s corporate information systems function and its e-business efforts. A native Tennessean, he came to LifeWay in 2000 from MCS, Inc., a Knoxville-based computer reseller and consulting firm where he had been vice president.
Ted Warren, executive vice president and chief operating officer, told trustees the agency’s first quarter revenues of $103.1 million were ahead of the same period in fiscal 2001 by 6.8 percent, but under budget by 1.6 percent. However, he reported funds provided from operations, or money for reinvestment in ministry expansion after all expenses have been paid, were up $519,000 or 8.3 percent from the same time last year.
“During a time of recession, that is really a blessing from the Lord,” he said.
Warren cited among challenges for the year economic recession and world economics, the start-up of LifeWay Church Resources’ new organization and initiatives, continuing work on the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation and conference center revitalization.
LifeWay’s trustees approved a recommendation to employ Arthur Andersen and Company to conduct the 2002 audit of LifeWay’s operations, the retirement trust fund, the post-retirement benefits trust fund and the employee savings plan.
Warren said LifeWay selected Arthur Andersen and Company in 1983 on the basis of their reputation; their expertise in the retailing and publishing industries, both nationally and by the Nashville office; and their ability to perform the work needed.
“In 1999 we rehired Arthur Andersen for a three-year period because of a combination of pricing, breadth and depth of services. They have performed these tasks in a professional manner and on a timely basis,” Warren said.
“During the coming year, LifeWay will install a new Retail Enterprise System. Arthur Andersen’s familiarity with our existing systems and structure will help this work proceed efficiently and effectively,” Warren continued. “We believe this company will continue to provide LifeWay excellent professional services upon which management, trustees, employees, retirees and other stakeholders can rely.”
A seasonal, two-tiered room rate structure for LifeWay Conference Centers at Glorieta, N.M., and Ridgecrest, N.C., was approved to be phased in during the 2003 fiscal year. The new structure, offering vacation rates for persons not attending a conference and rates for event participants, is designed to provide greater value to guests and to match hospitality industry standards.
Mike Arrington, vice president of LifeWay’s corporate affairs division, which includes responsibility for conference centers, told trustees the centers at Glorieta, N.M., and Ridgecrest, N.C. hosted 96,928 guests in 2001, including 1,283 campers at Camp Ridgecrest for Boys and Camp Crestridge for Girls, both at Ridgecrest.
He said 4,400 spiritual decisions were recorded, including almost 400 professions of faith.
In the revitalization of conference centers, Arrington reported completion at Ridgecrest of the Rutland Chapel in February and a new 120-room hotel with conference space set for a fall opening. At Glorieta, the renovation of the Chaparral Hotel has been completed, along with a newly designed recreation field, among other improvements.
Luis Aranguren, senior vice president of LifeWay International, told trustees that in 2001 LifeWay increased the number of international distributors of Broadman & Holman, Church Resources and Spanish products by 23 percent to 530 in 65 countries. Additionally, Aranguren said workshops were conducted in 33 countries training 34,812 pastors and leaders from 7,788 churches to use LifeWay products.
LifeWay also is training resident national consultants, who live in their countries and who are contract workers for LifeWay, he said. Three work in Mexico, Central America and Argentina. Aranguren said candidates and conditions are being evaluated for Spain and Singapore. These positions differ from those of LifeWay missionaries who are employed fulltime by LifeWay, yet serve in foreign locations.
Ken Stephens, vice president for the Broadman & Holman Publishing division, said six editions of the Holman Christian Standard Bible New Testament are in print, with strong orders for those editions. The Old Testament manuscript will be complete in 2003, with publication of the completed Bible expected in spring 2004.
Among new releases in books for 2002 are “Experiencing God Together” by Henry and Melvin Blackaby, “Hearing God’s Voice” by Henry Blackaby, “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” by Beth Moore, a trade edition of Moore’s “Jesus the One and Only” and a novel by Oliver North, “Mission Compromised.”
In the area of e-business, Vineyard reported more than 2,300 churches and 250 associations are using LifeWayLINK, a service offering free and low-cost websites.
Vineyard said in 2001 almost 37 million pages were viewed by individuals visiting LifeWay’s websites — LifeWay.com, LifeWayLINK.com, LifeWayonline.com and LifeWayStores.com. He said he anticipates page views will top 40 million this year.
Mark Scott, vice president for the LifeWay Christian Stores division, said the national chain will add five stores and relocate two others during fiscal 2002. Since the fiscal year began on Oct. 1, 2001, new stores have been opened in Clarksville, Tenn.; South Macon, Ga.; Temple, Texas; and Rocky Mount, N.C., bringing the total locations to 109.
“We see people changed every day in our stores,” Scott said. “These are ministry outposts across the nation.”
The Internet store, he said, has enabled LifeWay to provide biblical solutions to persons in 80 countries.
Gene Mims, vice president of the LifeWay Church Resources division, told trustees a high level of excitement exists among his employees about the new organization. While he acknowledged his “knees were knocking” about the Oct. 1 reorganization, “when we took the risk and pulled the lever, all the gears engaged.”
Mims told trustees Church Resources is committed to three assumptions that have “fundamentally changed the way we do business over the last two years.”
“1. There is nothing in this whole world so dangerous to Satan as a gospel preacher.
“2. There is no person so dangerous as an equipped believer who takes soul winning seriously.
“3. There is nothing so dangerous in the world as a kingdom-focused church.”
“LifeWay Church Resources wants to see absolutely dangerous men, walking up and down the streets of every town in America, for believers to be equipped and for churches to become dangerous kingdom units.”
In other actions, trustees:
— approved the sale of a bookstore location in Dallas due to store relocation.
— approved the redesign of Bible Express, a monthly magazine for preteens, from a pocket size to a larger magazine format.
— elected as officers for LifeWay’s board of trustees, chairman, George Iwahiro of Honolulu, retired vice president of energy delivery for the Hawaiian Electric Company; vice chairman, David Pope, pastor of One Heart Church, Rome, N.Y.; and secretary, Tim Marrow, senior pastor of Taylor Ranch Baptist Church, Albuquerque.
The next trustee meeting is Sept. 9-10 at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: D.L. LOWRIE and DISCUSSING MINISTRY.