LifeWay Christian Resources
|Type||Religious Non-profit organization|
Incorporated on October 5, 1983 as the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
|Headquarters||Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.|
|Number of locations||163 stores (2010)|
|Key people||Thom S. Rainer, Chairman and CEO|
|Parent||Southern Baptist Convention|
|Divisions||Church Resources, LifeWay Christian Stores, B&H Publishing Group, Executive Communications and Relations, Technology, Finance and Business Services, Research and Ministry Development|
LifeWay Christian Resources, based in Nashville, Tennessee, is one of the largest providers of religious and Christian resources in the world. LifeWay has been recognized as one of the "Best Employers in Tennessee" by BusinessTN magazine.
In 1891, J.M. Frost, a 43-year-old pastor, started the company that is now known as LifeWay Christian Resources. The business began, after receiving approval from the Southern Baptist Convention, in a small office funded in part by money borrowed from his wife.
Today, the ministries of LifeWay, originally called the Sunday School Board, provides Christian resources throughout the United States and internationally.
LifeWay's ministries include the production of Bibles, church literature, audio and video recordings, church supplies, and Internet services. The company operates over 160 LifeWay Christian Stores through the United States, as well as two of the largest Christian conference centers in the country.
LifeWay is a 501(c)(3) religious nonprofit organization that receives no funding from the denomination and reinvests income above operating expenses in mission work and other ministries around the world.
LifeWay employees are committed to the company's vision: "As God works through us, we will help individuals and churches by providing biblical solutions for life."
It acquired Berean Christian Stores in 2013, which at that point had 18 locations in the United States.
LifeWay directs its ministries through seven divisions:
Church Resources consults with churches and delivers Biblical solutions through many ministries, resources, enrichment and training events, and age-group products, including Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, leadership development, evangelism, discipleship, music, worship, marriage, and parenting. Biblical solutions include training and enrichment events, and resources in print, on CD, DVD and the Web. New resources include a young-adult ministry called Threads; Worship KidStyle; a new Baptist Hymnal; expanded resources for African-American and Hispanic churches; and an initiative to provide key evangelism and discipleship resources in more than 50 languages via free download.
LifeWay Christian Stores operates over 160 outlets in two dozen states, serving Southern Baptists and the wider evangelical community. The division also serves customers online and through LifeWay Special Services.
B&H Publishing Group produces Bibles, books, audio and video productions, and church supplies, selling to bookstores and other retailers. A new emphasis on resources for pastors, seminary professors and students, and scholars has been launched with the B&H Academic line of resources.
CrossBooks Publishing is the self publishing division started in 2009 and caters primarily to new authors, but holds the manuscripts submitted to the same theological standard as books produced by B&H Publishing Group.
Executive Relations produces LifeWay's news and information services, directs corporate events and supports the office of the president in maintaining good relationships with other Southern Baptist Convention entities, state conventions and other evangelical organizations. This division also coordinates the LifeWay Community Fund, which supports 10 like-minded charities in Middle Tennessee; and directs LifeWay sponsored, employee-led mission trips, which over the last 11 years have included more than 75 trips involving more than 1,100 volunteers.
The Technology division provides five key services for LifeWay: strategic, retail, business, enterprise, and Internet technologies. The division oversees the content and functionality of LifeWay.com and its affiliated pages. In all, LifeWay.com houses more 12,000 articles in addition to countless other resources and products.
Finance and Business Services is responsible for LifeWay's financial policies and general accounting and directs many key LifeWay business services. The division also operates conference centers at Ridgecrest, NC, and Glorieta, NM, which minister to more than 100,000 guests each year. LifeWay also owns and operates two historical camps: a boys camp founded in 1929, Camp Ridgecrest, and a girls camp founded in 1955, Crestridge. Both are near the Ridgecrest Conference Center in the Black Mountains of North Carolina near Asheville. Plans to open two more single gender camps at the Glorieta Conference center are currently underway, with the start of Camp Glorieta for Boys and Camp Glorieta for Girls in the Summer of 2008. LifeWay operates the Centrifuge family of Christian summer camps as the official summer camp of the Southern Baptist Convention and the largest summer camps organization in the world.
LifeWay Insights houses LifeWay Research, which helps churches impact the culture for Christ; LifeWay's corporate communications department; coordinates employee-led mission trips; and directs ministry development and strategic projects. LifeWay Research studies have been cited in several national news sources.
In February 2006, Dr. Thom Rainer became the president and CEO of LifeWay. Rainer left his post as Dean of the Billy Graham School of Evangelism of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to assume the presidency of LifeWay. He succeeded James T. Draper, Jr., of the Fort Worth metro area, who had headed LifeWay from 1991 to 2006.
- "About LifeWay." LifeWay. 13 April 2012.
- "Better Business Bureau Review of LifeWay Christian Resources"
- "Who We Are." LifeWay. 2010. Retrieved on 14 June 2010.
- "LifeWay Christian Resources." VISTA International. 2006. 23 April 2008.
- Kiilerich, Jennifer. "Best Employers in Tennessee." Business Tennessee. May 2007. 23 April 2008.
- "About Us." LifeWay. LifeWay Christian Resources, n.d. Web. 09 June 2013. <http://www.lifeway.com/ArticleView?storeId=10054>.
- Grossman, CathyLynn. "Young adults aren't sticking with church." USAToday. 6 August2007. 23 April 2008.
- "Better Business Bureau Review of LifeWay Christian Resources"