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New LifeWay initiative to help churches

RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)–With the push of a button, Thom S. Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, launched the newest initiative to help people and churches know Jesus Christ and seek His Kingdom: “The Transformational Church” project.

“I am excited about this initiative because this is a new way for us to raise the intensity of our emphasis on evangelism,” Rainer told LifeWay trustees Sept. 8. “And the intention is to help the church with its focus on reaching people for Christ.”

The launched site, at www.transformationalchurch.com, will feature a variety of resources. According to the website, “The Transformational Church project will be LifeWay’s initiative to help churches join God’s mission of transforming lives, churches and communities. This Website will become a one-stop shop for churches seeking practical help for everyday ministry. As part of the Transformational Church initiative, LifeWay Research will research hundreds of churches of multiple denominations that are seeing actual transformation. The research will lead to resources and tools to help churches join God on His mission.”

The initiative is one of many that Rainer said he is excited about despite an economy that has been labeled “ugly” by CFO Magazine in conjunction with Duke University.

“In 2008 we reached some specific groups with our resources that are expanding our influence,” Rainer told trustees during their semiannual meeting at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, N.C. “We saw growth in areas related to young adults, African Americans and Hispanics. LifeWay Research is achieving broad appeal and has momentum in secular media. B&H Academic is becoming more renowned and respected. And even though the 2008 VBS numbers are not in, we can report that more than 88,000 children made decisions to follow Christ in 2007.”

During these tough economic times, Rainer said LifeWay’s leadership is choosing “fearless faith over fear-inspired disobedience.”

He drew the statement from 1 Samuel 14:1-15 and particularly verse 7. Jonathan’s armor bearer, in response to Jonathan moving forward into a key battle, said, “Do what is in your heart. You choose. I’m right here with you whatever you decide.”

“Jonathan knew where God was leading,” Rainer said. “And he knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But he chose to obey and exhibited fearless faith. That is what we are choosing to do. We believe God is working in some incredible ways and we’ve seen that in some incredible ways.”

One example, he said, is all that has transpired in the release of the new Baptist Hymnal. Rainer said that the volume has enjoyed a positive reaction from churches and said there has been great excitement among worship leaders for the release of the online Worship Project (www.lifewayworship.com), due to release in October.

“This has been a God-sized task,” Rainer said. “We believe it will have a profound positive impact on local churches.”

Rainer said the Worship Project was just one of several digital initiatives slated for the future that will make LifeWay more diverse in its online content offerings.

“I believe there are reasons to be encouraged,” Rainer said. “We need to stay focused on what’s real and what’s important and that’s creating resources that impact people with the Gospel.”
Chris Turner is media relations manager for LifeWay Christian Resources.