LifeWay Mission Program Leads 7,371 to Christ in 2004

Mission efforts by a Southern Baptist Convention company have helped lead 7,371 individuals to Christ this year, bringing the total number of professions of faith to 56,014 since its first mission trip seven years ago.

LifeWay Christian Resource, one of the world’s largest providers of Christian products and services, had 145 volunteers ministering internationally this year and received over $156,000 in contributions for corporate-sponsored mission trips since the inception of the mission program. Through employee trip participation and donated funds, more than 23 international churches were planted this year, bringing the total to 166.

The donated funds have also helped cover the cost of building two Bible schools in Africa, which provide on-site training to local pastors from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and the Sudan, LifeWay reports.

Jim Carter, LifeWay’s vice president of finance and business services, said the mission trips have had tremendous impact on the lives of employees and employees’ local churches. "If you see that you are doing exactly what God has asked you to do, ‘go and telling,’ He will bless that in an incredible way," Carter said.

And Jesus’ commandment to "go and tell" is a priority for LifeWay and its employees, Carter added.

"I maintain that we have tremendous resources here, both in America and at LifeWay. And when God gives you resources, there is a reason. We’ll be accountable for how we use them."

Jim Shamblin, LifeWay’s manager of applications system engineering, has participated in at least one international mission trip each year since his first trip to Kenya in 1999. He recently led a team of nine LifeWay volunteers to Niger, Africa.

"I never imagined myself being involved in mission trips prior to my involvement in my first trip," Shamblin said.

But now, Shamblin says that the opportunity for international ministry is a key benefit to working at LifeWay. "This program helps employees grow spiritually, and LifeWay has better employees as a result of their mission experiences. It’s a benefit you can’t get anywhere else," Shamlin stated.

"It was incredible to see how God used our team to plant, sow, water, and sometimes reap the harvest," said Kristin Parks, retail accounting specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources and a first-time LifeWay mission volunteer.

"The best part about going on a trip is being on mission with God."

Since 1997, a total number of 651 LifeWay volunteers have ministered internationally. Next year, LifeWay’s mission trip schedule includes journeys to Brazil, Japan, Bangladesh, Moscow, Santa Domingo, Tanzania and Russia.