NASHVILLE, Tenn. — As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world in early 2020, Lifeway quickly moved to better serve churches and church leaders trying to minister in unforeseen circumstances.
As the coronavirus continues to impact congregations into the new year, Ben Mandrell, Lifeway president and CEO, says the organization “wants to do everything we can to help churches sustain their vital ministries during this time. Because of this, we have been working on solutions for supporting local churches as they seek to grow together as disciples during this season and walk with them as they begin rebounding.”
In the spring, Lifeway provided church assistance packages, low-cost books and Bible studies, as well as numerous free resources including digital giving plans, curriculum, at-home children’s ministry kits, student discipleship packages, and a tool for reopening churches.
Some of the most difficult pivots centered around events and camps, but Lifeway worked to provide safe alternatives for churches and church leaders.
“Reach” was the theme of this year’s ETCH Conference, held Oct. 13-14, which brought together online more than 900 ministry leaders of kids and students for training and virtual fellowship. ETCH—hosted by Lifeway Christian Resources—stands for equipping the church and home.
More than 700 women gathered physically and online for the 2020 Lifeway Women’s Leadership Forum, Nov. 12-13, at Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn. For COVID-19 safety and compliance reasons, in-person attendance was capped at nearly 250, which included women spanning 21 states and seven denominations.
Throughout the year, Lifeway reached more than 40,000 women with a number of digital events hosted by hundreds of churches and streamed by over 27,000 individuals. More than 100,000 women also joined one of the Lifeway Women’s online Bible studies in 2020.
More than 6,000 people tuned in for the 2020 Black Church Leadership and Family Conference (BCLFC), held July 20-24 as on online-only event during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mandrell hosted Pete Scazzero, author of the best-selling book “The Emotionally Healthy Leader,” for a free online event entitled “Emotionally Healthy Pastor.”
With camps closed for the summer, Lifeway offered churches online worship events for kids and students, which had close to 7,000 views across the broadcasts for Student Life, Student Life Kids, CentriKid and FUGE. Ridgecrest also shifted to offer all-inclusive family getaways, as a replacement for traditional summer programming.
This holiday season, Lifeway is partnering with several local churches to broadcast virtual Christmas worship services. Using Lifeway Digital Pass, the organization is streaming the services through December 26.
As Lifeway works to enhance and improve the online experience, the organization hired Jamie Adams as the senior vice president and chief information technology officer. “Jamie brings a wealth of IT leadership and expertise that will be invaluable to Lifeway in this new season where much of our business is focused online,” Mandrell said. “Her proven experience in digital transformation and global leadership will be a huge asset to Lifeway.”
About Lifeway Christian Resources
In operation since 1891, Lifeway Christian Resources is one of the leading providers of Christian resources, including Bibles, books, Bible studies, Christian music and movies, gifts and church supplies, as well as camps and events for all ages. Lifeway is also the world’s leading provider of Spanish-language Bibles. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Lifeway receives no denominational funding and operates as a self-supporting nonprofit.