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TRUSTEES: New Bible, building top LifeWay reports

NASHVILLE (BP) — LifeWay Christian Resources is looking ahead to a newly revised Bible translation and a new corporate headquarters, leaders told trustees this week.

At their semiannual meeting Feb. 6-7, trustees received copies of LifeWay’s new Christian Standard Bible (CSB), which is online now and will be available at LifeWay Stores and other retail outlets in March.

“We’re honored to have a Bible translation our own denomination is a part of stewarding,” said Eric Geiger, vice president of LifeWay’s Resources Division. Southern Baptist scholars Tom Schreiner and David Allen led the multi-denominational translation oversight committee.

The CSB, a revision of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, focuses on both accuracy and ease of reading, Geiger said. “You don’t have to choose between the two.” See related story.

In his report to trustees, LifeWay President and CEO Thom S. Rainer highlighted progress toward a new corporate headquarters. LifeWay sold its current site in downtown Nashville in late 2015 and is building a more modern facility in nearby Capitol View, a mixed-use urban development that will include apartments, retail, offices, a hotel and a park.

“This is the cutting edge of downtown Nashville,” Rainer said. LifeWay expects to move 1,100 employees to the new building before the end of the year.

Though the building will be new, it preserves LifeWay’s history and values, Rainer said. He pointed out details on architectural renderings: “Those stained-glass windows are coming directly from our chapel, to remind us of the heritage we had in Van Ness Auditorium for so many years. Right above those steps, you see John 14:6. There will be historically significant items throughout these floors, and there will be Scripture prominent everywhere.”

The new building will also include a LifeWay Christian Store, with street frontage and an entrance from the lobby. LifeWay’s previous store in downtown Nashville closed after the property was sold.

Jerry Rhyne, CFO and vice president of finance and business services, reported a solid financial performance for 2016. Geiger noted the popularity of “War Room” the movie and its accompanying Bible study by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, and strong results in 2016 for Fuge Camps, B&H Academic and global markets.

Rainer emphasized LifeWay’s need to adapt quickly in a fast-changing world. He traced the history of LifeWay, noting how church practices continue to change and how technology is evolving.

“The pace of LifeWay is fast,” he told the trustees. “Urgency is our constant theme. We cannot at all afford complacency.”

He pledged LifeWay will learn from churches and serve them with excellence while refusing to compromise God’s truth.

“These are challenging times, but they are also times of greatest opportunity yet,” Rainer said. “And so we move into the future with confidence.”

In other action, the trustees:

— Nominated Ron Edmondson, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., to fill a vacancy on the board.

— Learned LifeWay has received a “clean audit” from outside auditor LBMC. The audits covered LifeWay’s operations, pension plan and post-retirement benefits plan. LifeWay also received a clean PCI (Payment Card Industry) audit for its handling of customers’ bank credit card activity.

— Discussed and approved responses to two motions referred to LifeWay by the Southern Baptist Convention during last summer’s meeting. The responses, regarding news coverage of trustee meetings and preservation of Southern Baptist Convention history, will be reported to the 2017 SBC meeting June 13-14 in Phoenix.

— Recognized five trustees who are ending their board service in June. They are Beth Guffin, of Birmingham, Ala.; Alan Hayes, of Mt. Juliet, Tenn.; David Horner, of Raleigh, N.C.; Blake Lindley, of Norman, Okla.; and Peter MacMaster, of Healy, Alaska.

— Heard reports from each of LifeWay’s vice presidents regarding progress and plans for ministry advance.