By Carol Pipes
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—This year Lifeway Christian Resources is celebrating 20 years of ministry partnership with author and Bible study teacher Beth Moore.
“Today we are honoring Beth Moore, but more important than that we are giving glory to God for His work through this ministry,” said Lifeway President and CEO Thom S. Rainer at a special chapel celebration on Feb. 11.
“Beth Moore’s ministry has reached millions,” Rainer said. “Untold men and women have come to Christ because of her influence both directly and indirectly. She has been a stalwart for the Word of God, never compromising. And when all is said and done, the impact of Beth Moore can only be measured in eternity’s grasp. We are privileged to honor her this day.”
A little know fact is Beth Moore’s first manuscript was turned down by Lifeway, then the Baptist Sunday School Board. Fortunately, saner heads prevailed. Lee Sizemore, then a video producer at the Baptist Sunday School Board made a trip to Texas to hear this young, vivacious Bible study teacher at Houston’s First Baptist Church. The decision was made to ask for the manuscript back.
Lifeway published Moore’s first Bible study—A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place—in 1995. Today, her studies have reached more than 21 million women worldwide. Over two decades, Moore’s ministry has extended to 17 Bible studies translated into 17 languages, along with numerous books and 166 Living Proof Live events.
During the celebration, Moore reminisced about the first study. Her husband, Keith, surprised her by taking her to the Houston Lifeway store and showing her the finished product on the shelf. “There it was, the ugliest cover I ever loved,” said Moore. “We bought every copy in the store.
“What began as a publishing relationship turned headlong and heartlong into a ministry partnership,” Moore told employees. “I’m so filled with memories and thankful for all the people who I’ve worked with over the years. I can’t thank you enough for the joy to partner with you.”
Through tears and laughter, Moore thanked her family for their support and encouragement through the years. And she thanked Lifeway for standing with her and allowing her to do the one thing she feels most called to do—teaching women how to love and live on God’s Word.
Referring to Acts 20, Moore pointed to the Apostle Paul as an example of how to live out God’s ministry calling. To fulfill our calling, she said, we must make an emotional investment, be compelled by the spirit, and be determined to finish the task.
“Our temptation is to be compelled by our culture,” Moore said. “But if you and I are compelled by culture and not by the spirit of God, whatever we produce will have the shelf life of a head of lettuce. Only what is compelled by the spirit will last.
“Today we’ve had the opportunity to look over our shoulders at these past 20 years. But we also look ahead because we have a task to complete.”
Moore told employees she is astonished at the breadth of discipleship material available to the body of Christ through Lifeway. Citing Paul’s words in Acts 20:20 Moore told employees, “You did not hold back anything that would be helpful, all for one reason, because Jesus said go and make disciples.
“It’s been a blast to look back on these last 20 years,” Moore said, “but now let’s go onward in the name of the living Lord Jesus Christ who is worthy of it all; we shall not hold back.”
Carol Pipes is editor of Facts & Trends.