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Lifeway’s 2022 marked by ministry recognition, new initiatives

Speaking to messengers gathered for the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting, Lifeway President and CEO Ben Mandrell shares the organization’s desire to partner with churches around the globe. Photo by Armstrong Simms

NASHVILLE (BP) – In 2022, Lifeway Christian Resources celebrated the impact of new and legacy ministry experiences while looking toward the future and fresh opportunities for growth.

“This past year was a year of great gains for our organization, and I’m so proud of what our team has accomplished,” said Lifeway President and CEO Ben Mandrell. “I could point to any number of fruitful new resources and events we launched this year or the many national recognitions Lifeway received, but our greatest measure of success is always how we’re helping fuel ministry through the local church. I continue to hear from church leaders who are discovering or rediscovering that Lifeway is a trusted ministry partner who’s in their corner.”

Anniversaries and accomplishments

Lifeway celebrated milestone anniversaries this year for some of its most popular resources, beginning with the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation. In the five years since its launch, the CSB has seen rapid and far-reaching adoption from individuals, churches and parachurch ministries. This spring, Fellowship of Christian Athletes announced they are making the CSB the primary ministry translation for all their camps and resources, and Voice of the Martyrs recently selected the CSB as their translation of choice for its upcoming “Pray for the Persecuted Bible.” The CSB is now the fourth most popular translation in America based on recent Evangelical Christian Publishers Association rankings.

The Gospel Project curriculum also celebrated a key milestone this year, having launched 10 years ago this fall. In the decade since its release, The Gospel Project has helped millions of people discover how all of Scripture revolves around Jesus. The ongoing curriculum has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, French and Spanish, with “Proyecto Evangelio Para Niños” [The Gospel Project for Kids in Spanish] distributed in 21 countries. Lifeway’s ongoing curriculum lines, which also include Explore the Bible, Bible Studies for Life and YOU, have collectively experienced around 600 percent revenue growth in digital format since last summer, indicating churches’ return to Sunday School and groups ministry following the pandemic.

This fall, Newsweek recognized Lifeway’s flagship website, Lifeway.com, on their “Best Online Shop” list for the fourth year in a row. Many of Lifeway’s 2022 new releases also received recognition this year from Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). Lifeway won a record 13 awards this year from the Spanish Evangelical Publishers Association (SEPA), including Bible of the Year and Book of the Year.

Events and new resources

The 13 SEPA awards B&H Español received this year testify to the intentionality Lifeway continues to bring to the global church. This was a driving theme of Mandrell’s address to messengers at this year’s annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“We are on the move nationally and internationally because God is on the move nationally and internationally,” Mandrell said. “In 2015, Lifeway had zero Hispanic authors; today we have 53 influential Hispanic voices from Latin and South America reflected in our publishing. If our mission is to make disciples of every tongue, then we must build resources that roll off the pen of the people who live there.”

Lifeway is the world’s largest provider of Spanish Bibles and continues to see growth in other international markets like India where the “Telugu Study Bible” became the fastest growing study Bible this year.

Lifeway also hosted a breakfast at this year’s SBC annual meeting and treated attendees to a live recording of The Glass House Podcast that addressed anxiety in ministry. Throughout 2022, Lifeway has leaned into attending to the pain points of pastors as indicated in Lifeway Research’s Greatest Needs of Pastors study.

Other Lifeway events this year included the Black Church Conference at Ridgecrest Conference Center and the ETCH (Equipping the Church and Home) Conference in Nashville. Next-gen ministry continued to be a priority as Lifeway hosted more than 106,000 campers this summer through its FUGE, CentriKid, Student Life and Student Life for Kids camps. Campers’ mission offerings this year allowed Lifeway to present checks totaling $543,300 to the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board.

Lifeway also introduced kids to the Gospel this year through “Spark Studios” Vacation Bible School resources. In June, the “Spark Studios” VBS album reached No. 1 on Apple Music. Lifeway also revealed the VBS theme for 2023 as “Twists & Turns,” a celebration of games of all kinds that teaches Jesus guides Christians through the ups, downs and zigzags of life.

This year, Lifeway continued to be a leader in women’s events and training with around 105,000 women connecting to Lifeway Women through live and digital events. Lifeway held two simulcast events in 2022: Lifeway Women Live in April and Going Beyond Live with Priscilla Shirer in September. These simulcast events collectively reached more than 80,000 women.

Another 22,000 women attended the live events: Lifeway Women Live, Glory with Jackie Hill Perry and Going Beyond Live with Priscilla Shirer. Lifeway Women was also able to train more than 2,000 women through You Lead events and the Women’s Leadership Forum.

Lifeway also hosted the Women Symposium this year at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and launched Lifeway Women Academy, a platform for online, on-demand courses for women, by women. Lifeway Women Academy is designed to fuel the ministry of women around the world and serve as a next step for women to grow and learn in their walks with Christ. In 2022, B&H Publishing also released the “CSB Lifeway Women’s Bible.”

While Lifeway introduced many new resources and events this year, it also celebrated a classic: “Experiencing God.” In the past 32 years, this perennial favorite Bible study has sold more than 8 million copies in English and has been translated into over 75 languages. This April, the study hit another milestone by being re-released with new video content that includes Richard and Mike Blackaby, the son and grandson of Henry Blackaby. Lifeway also released the new “CSB Experiencing God Bible” this year, a resource that puts the Blackabys’ teaching aids directly within the pages of Scripture.

Greater accessibility and new frontiers

Lifeway tackled several initiatives in 2022 designed to make the Gospel more accessible. To assist ministries that serve people who are deaf or hard of hearing, Lifeway launched the “Explore the Bible Deaf Digital Library,” a collection of studies using text with simplified language to facilitate American Sign Language. This format allows Bible study leaders to more easily sign talking points and discussion questions for group members. The collection is free for Bible study groups for the Deaf, with permission to make copies of the studies as needed.

Lifeway is also looking to serve frontier states and areas of the country that are highly secularized. In June, Mandrell announced Lifeway is working on a new ongoing curriculum line for kids and students that will be released in 2023. This next-gen resource will center on serving unchurched populations and will feature content designed to serve as a gentle on-ramp to Christianity for populations living outside the Bible Belt.

As Lifeway broadens its impact in churches beyond the South, it is also recruiting employees living in those areas and expanding its remote workforce. Earlier in the year, Mandrell announced the decision to move Lifeway’s teaming space from downtown Nashville to the Maryland Farms area of Brentwood, Tenn., in 2023.

“Selling our large building downtown and moving to a smaller, more open footprint is part of a larger, strategic vision for the organization,” Mandrell said. “The new location allows us to be better stewards of our resources and is a better fit for the culture we’ve created. Lifeway has been a leader when it comes to remote-based work.”

To follow the latest developments from Lifeway Christian Resources, visit News.Lifeway.com or @LifewayNews on Twitter.