NASHVILLE (BP) -- As one year ends and another begins, LifeWay Christian Resources is reminded of how God used its efforts to undergird individuals, families and churches as well as to connect unbelievers to God's Word in the past year. 2012 was a year filled with new initiatives designed to further the advancement of the Gospel throughout the world and to offer even more biblical solutions for life.
As 2013 begins, pray for Southern Baptist churches that will be teaching God's Word and making disciples of children, students and adults in the coming year. Pray for individuals who are discovering God's purpose for their lives and others who are growing in their faith. Consider how you can join God is His mission to make disciples.
LIFEWAY'S KEY NEWS AND FEATURE STORIES FOR 2012
-- LifeWay's Gospel Project to provide in-depth curriculum
For the first time in more than a decade, LifeWay released a new ongoing Bible study series for all ages. The Gospel Project examines the deeper theological and missional concepts throughout the grand narrative of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
-- Usage of LifeWay background check program is up 100%
The number of churches signing up for LifeWay Christian Resources' background check program increased by 100 percent over the last year. Using www.LifeWay.com/backgroundchecks, nearly 2,800 churches and organizations conducted more than 55,000 background checks in the past year.
-- LifeWay store's customers find more than Bibles & books
When customers at LifeWay Christian Stores are searching for answers to life's challenges, sales associates often find moments to point them to Jesus Christ. Sales associate Mitch Cifers shares how he led two customers to Christ in the middle of the Bible section of the store.
-- SBC baptisms & churches up in 2011, membership declines
The Southern Baptist Convention in 2011 reported an increase in the number of baptisms and total churches over the previous year but declined in total membership, according to the Annual Church Profile compiled by LifeWay Christian Resources in cooperation with Baptist state conventions.
-- LifeWay launches ebookstore and ereader app
LifeWay Christian Resources launched the LifeWay.com ebookstore, with more than 8,000 titles, and the LifeWay Reader app, making it more convenient for customers to take their favorite books with them wherever they go. In addition to books, customers can access digital curriculum through the LifeWay Reader app, which comes with a free, pre-loaded copy of the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
-- 'The Vow' book hits No. 1 on NYT list
"The Vow," the true story of a woman who lost all memory of her husband following an automobile accident, opened at No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list in its first week of re-release. Published by B&H Publishing Group, the book is the true story behind the film of the same name.
-- Ridgecrest garners conference planners' praise
LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina was awarded the first-ever 2012 "Praise Award" by Religious Conference Manager magazine. Ridgecrest was recognized for its top-quality service to convention and meeting planners as well as guests and was the only Christian conference center named among the 15 top properties in the nation.
-- Student Life joins LifeWay family
LifeWay Christian Resources and Student Life, Inc., minister to more than 100,000 teenagers each year with student camps and missions opportunities. On Aug. 15, Student Life officially became part of the LifeWay family of resources.
TOP LIFEWAY RESEARCH STORIES FOR 2012
In 2012, LifeWay Research conducted scores of surveys on issues ranging from Calvinism to the Cooperative Program to the health care law.
-- Survey: Pastors value Cooperative Program
Southern Baptist pastors have high opinions of the convention's Cooperative Program, according to a study conducted by LifeWay Research.
-- SBC pastors polled on Calvinism and its effect
Nearly equal numbers of pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention consider their churches as either Calvinist/Reformed (30 percent) or Arminian/Wesleyan (30 percent), according to a survey from LifeWay Research. More than 60 percent of SBC pastors said they are concerned about the effect of Calvinism on the denomination.
-- Survey: Most back contraception mandate
LifeWay Research finds the majority of adults in America believe businesses and organizations, even those with conflicting religious principles, should be required to provide coverage of contraception and birth control for their employees.
-- Pastor compensation slightly ahead of inflation, survey says
Compensation for full-time Southern Baptist pastors increased at a rate slightly faster than inflation nationally over the past two years, according to the SBC Church Compensation Study, an in-depth survey compiled by LifeWay Research and GuideStone Financial Resources. The average full-time pastor's compensation (salary and housing) rose 5.5 percent between 2010 and 2012, a rate only slightly higher than the 5.1 percent national inflation rate for the same two-year period.
-- Poll: 65 percent in U.S. say churches should be allowed to meet in public schools
Two-thirds of Americans believe public schools should rent to churches and other community groups, according to a study by LifeWay Research. The study came as a Feb. 12, 2012 deadline banning the use of New York City schools by churches approached and would have affected 160 congregations.
-- Project identifies 8 attributes of discipleship
Based on one of the largest research projects ever completed on church health and spiritual growth, LifeWay Research identified eight attributes that consistently show up in the life of a maturing believer. To help pastors, churches and individuals measure their spiritual development, LifeWay Research used the survey data to develop a questionnaire for believers, the Transformational Discipleship Assessment.
Carol Pipes is editorial manager for the corporate communications team of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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