In my current ministry, I do a lot of work with Discipleship, with Sunday School and Small Groups, and I look at a lot of curriculum. Some we do in house, much of it we purchase. In all my shopping for material, I tend to lean towards Lifeway, and I think it’s the best choice. Let me tell you why I use it and why I think you should too.
1. Lifeway takes time to understand what we are doing beyond the desire to sell us stuff. Lifeway does research, they are involved in education, mission, support and development. They take time to work with churches, be involved with churches and be in the field.
2. Lifeway understands Southern Baptists because it’s run by Southern Baptists, with Southern Baptists, around Southern Baptists and in partnership with Southern Baptists. It has the same doctrine, belief systems, structure and ideals that drive who we are. Ideals like Mission, Discipleship and cooperation.
3. They play well with others. Lifeway works with churches, associations, state conventions, NAMB, the IMB, and has reps at meetings, conventions, trainings and conferences. They embrace the spirit of cooperation that is what the SBC is all about.
4. They are not in it for the money. Lifeway is a non-profit, and they give and share much of the money brought it. They sell resources to pay for more resources, they give money to help state conventions, they donate and give much away. They are not a for-profit publishing house.
5. They have a plan. Let’s just look at Sunday School. They have a long term vision and scope, they have a developmentally sound approach that fits from babies to adults. They offer a variety of Sunday School options that best fit the needs of a church, but those options stay within the scope and sequence to build and make disciples. They are not just shooting from the hip.
6. Real people in real churches do much of the work. I have written for Lifeway. I know many others who have help to write and develop the material, folks in churches in ministries. It is not put together by a group of isolated academics who live in an ivory tower. They are in the field, writing from experience, with the help and support of some great editors and staff.
7. Finally, they are part of the family. If you had to buy a tractor, and your brother-in-law owns a tractor dealership, where would you go? Especially if the tractors are the same tractors for the same price. Lifeway supports us, they are part of the SBC family, so why on earth do we go to someone else and ignore those who exist to serve and support us?
There are your 7 reasons (seven is the number of completion, so that’s all you get) to support Lifeway. Perhaps they would have been better off to remain “The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention” so we would remember who they are and support them like family.