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LifeWay vision statement ‘raises the bar,’ Draper says; photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A new vision statement focusing on the role of LifeWay Christian Resources in providing biblical solutions to people and churches was affirmed by the agency’s trustees during their semiannual meeting Feb. 8-9 in Nashville, Tenn.
In presenting the new vision, LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr. said, “It raises the bar as we commit ourselves to being agents of transformation in the world of the 21st century.”
The statement reads: “As God works through us … We will help people and churches know Jesus Christ and seek His Kingdom by providing biblical solutions that spiritually transform individuals and cultures.”
The previous Sunday School Board vision statement stated: “We will assist local churches and believers to evangelize the world to Christ, develop believers, and grow churches by being the best worldwide provider of relevant, high-quality, high-value Christian products and services.”
Draper said LifeWay’s new vision statement is “built on the foundation of our past and present.
“In 1992, we asked you to affirm a new vision statement for the Sunday School Board,” he recounted to trustees. “As we have carried it out, we have seen dramatic improvements in the quality of what we do. We have recognized problems and addressed them. We have looked into the future and sought to meet changing needs with the unchanging message of God’s truth.”
The LifeWay vision, he said, “challenges each of us to seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit in all that we do and then give our lives to helping people and churches.”
He said in analyzing the new statement, the words and phrases affirm for LifeWay employees several concepts:
— “We have all been placed together in the body at LifeWay to fulfill this vision. … It takes us all.”
— “We are here for one reason, and that is to help, to assist, to aid and to nurture the people and the churches.”
— “As employees and as trustees of LifeWay, we must look at people, all people as the reason for our being. We are not simply in the program business, the literature business, the Bible printing business, the publishing business, the bookstore business, the conference center business. We are in the people business!”
— “We help people; and in helping them, we help churches. We are a ministering people serving ministering churches.”
In addressing this point, Draper told trustees, “We now have new competitors in what we are doing. On the horizon is the reality that sister entities in the Southern Baptist family will begin or continue to do the same thing we do.
“We should not fear this. We should not express contempt for this,” he observed. “We should recognize two realities. Any capable people can write and publish materials and design programs. We Baptists are a free people.
“But we should note something else,” he urged. “Nobody, but nobody, should ever exceed what we do in the service and ministry of people and churches!”
— “LifeWay is not here, first of all, to produce a curriculum or design a program. We are here for the introduction of a Person to persons. … People are not so much interested in Christianity as they are interested in Jesus Christ. There is today a conspicuous lack of interest in denominations, ecclesiastical debates, doctrinal disputes and clerical recitations. But there is today more interest than ever in the person of Jesus Christ.
“We must begin again to ask the question of every component, activity, program, curriculum piece and effort of LifeWay, ‘Where, how and when will this effort introduce persons to the knowledge of the Living God?'”
— “The balance of the phrase ‘biblical solutions’ is an intended balance. What we offer is biblical, but it is also practical. … The word solutions moves us from the great indicative of Scripture to the great imperative of application.
“We offer to humanity the genuine spiritual transformation that comes through a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “We at LifeWay must take this message of inward, spiritual transformation to the world beyond us.”
In other matters, trustees:
— approved for budgeting purposes an average price increase of up to 3.5 percent for literature and magazines effective with the Winter 2000 issues. The last across-the-board increase was effective with Spring 1996 issues. Since that time, selected titles have had price adjustments based on changes in specifications.
— received a report of resources deletions: Look and Listen, a preschool magazine to end effective Summer 1999, and Stewardship Journal, to end effective Summer 1999.
— received a report on resources additions: music compact disks for Preschool Life and Work, beginning Fall 1999, and a new believer’s monthly devotional magazine, beginning in September 1999.
— approved changing the position, executive director, office of corporate affairs, held by Mike Arrington, to vice president, corporate affairs division, and the position of director, Broadman & Holman division, held by Ken Stephens, to vice president, Broadman & Holman division.
— re-elected as trustee chairman Ken Speakman, director of the international division of The Gideons International, Nashville, and as recording secretary, Roy Mason, pastor of Derita Baptist Church, Charlotte, N.C.
— elected to a first term as vice chairman Ben Rowell, pastor of First Baptist Church, Rogers, Ark. Rowell also will chair the trustee executive committee.

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  • Charles Willis