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Lifeway’s Bill Craig announces retirement

At an organization-wide meeting on Oct. 25, 2023, Lifeway Christian Resources President and CEO Ben Mandrell (left) shared his appreciation for Bill Craig (right) and his service to Lifeway and churches. Craig announced his upcoming retirement from the organization.

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP) – Bill Craig, senior vice president of Publishing and Ministry Experiences at Lifeway Christian Resources, has announced he will retire May 31, 2024, after 35 years.

“Serving churches through the ministry of Lifeway has been the fulfillment of a calling God gave me when I was a seminary student,” Craig said. “In every role I’ve had these past 30-plus years, I’ve focused on providing trustworthy resources that support churches in their ministry. My focus for every resource I’ve touched has been: How will this serve the church?”

Craig joined Lifeway in 1989 as the editor of Youth in Action. Since then, he has served in various roles and leadership positions at Lifeway, including manager of youth curriculum, director of Leadership and Adult Ministry Publishing, and director of Publishing. Prior to coming to Lifeway, Craig served churches in Indiana and Arkansas.

During his nearly 35 years at Lifeway, Craig has helped develop and launch several of Lifeway’s Sunday School curriculum lines including Bible Studies for Life, MasterWork, The Gospel Project and Hyfi, Lifeway’s newest NextGen curriculum.

Early in his career, Craig worked on the launch of F.A.I.T.H. Evangelism training materials and adapted the resources for use with youth groups. F.A.I.T.H., a strategy that combines evangelism and Sunday School, became one of the most-used tools for evangelism in Southern Baptist churches.

Craig helped launch and lead Lifeway Films, which has produced successful in-theater film projects like The Insanity of God, Free Burma Rangers and Kingdom Men Rising. He’s worked with several Lifeway authors from Priscilla Shirer and Alex and Stephen Kendrick to Max Lucado and Tony Evans.

Craig has also contributed to the expansion of Lifeway’s reach globally by overseeing the licensing of Lifeway materials in Asia, South America, Africa and Europe. In 1994, he and another Lifeway employee took computer equipment, software, files and other resources to Romania to help establish the Romanian Baptist Publishing Board serving churches in the Eastern European nation.

Lifeway President and CEO Ben Mandrell praised Craig for his servant leadership and faithfulness to the ministry of Lifeway.

“Bill is known as a wise, humble and steady leader and a trusted adviser,” Mandrell said. “He is also extremely creative and thinks with an eye for innovation. That’s been demonstrated in the projects he’s led and worked on these past three decades.

“Bill’s faithfulness to God’s call on his life and the mission of Lifeway to serve the church has led to the fruitfulness of his ministry here.”

Reflecting on his time at Lifeway, Craig said one of his main interests has been how to use his Christian education degrees to develop curriculum churches can use in their discipleship processes, helping people of all ages learn the Bible and grow in their faith. “The material we provide lays that foundation,” Craig said. “Lifeway’s ongoing Bible study material is designed to give churches a path to expose people to all of God’s Word and help them learn the breadth of all God has for them as they grow in spiritual maturity.”

During his tenure, Craig has also trained hundreds of Bible study leaders and Sunday School teachers from Hawaii to Pennsylvania and everywhere in between. “I’ve always said the best curriculum is the one that someone takes and uses and makes their own. I’ve loved helping Sunday School teachers prepare to be the best Bible teachers they can be.”

Craig expressed his appreciation to Mandrell for asking him to serve on his executive leadership team. “When Ben asked me to serve in my current role, I knew it was the role God had been equipping me for,” Craig said. “I’m grateful to him for the vision and leadership he’s brought to Lifeway and the way he’s built Lifeway’s culture to focus on the church.”

Craig earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Miami (FL) and a Master of Religious Education and Doctor of Education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

He and his wife, Sarah, have a daughter, Nancy, and three grandchildren. After retirement, the Craigs plan to reside in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

“It’s been the joy of my life to work with the team at Lifeway. They have been family to me—all with the same mission and vision to serve the church,” Craig said. “They aren’t there for their own glory or advancement but rather for the advancement of the Gospel and for the Word of God to be made available to everyone everywhere.”


Carol Pipes is director of communications for Lifeway.

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  • Carol Pipes

    Carol Pipes is director of corporate communications for LifeWay Christian Resources.

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