Sunday, May 26   Sign in or Register
Evangelical Focus
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud

Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.

The future of Europe
Should Christians vote in the European Parliament election in May 2019?



United States

Largest US Christian retail chain to close all its stores by the end of 2019

LifeWay Christian Resources will close its 170 stores: “We will focus on digital channels”. It is the third big Christian retail chain that closes in less than 6 years.

SOURCES Christianity Today AUTHOR Evangelical Focus NASHVILLE 27 MARCH 2019 17:12 h GMT+1
Lifeway opened its new corporate headquater in Nashville in 2017. / LifeWay Christian Resources .

The largest Christian retail chain in America, LifeWay Christian Resources, will close all 170 stores this year, moving all its offerings entirely online.

The Southern Baptist affiliate had already announced in January its plans of reducing locations this year, due to declining sales and financial pressures.

LifeWay President Thom Rainer, told US magazine Christianity Today that they “did all they could to save the stores”, but finally realised that it wasn’t viable to keep any stores open.

“The decision to close our local stores is a difficult one, said acting President and CEO Brad Waggoner.



“LifeWay has developed close connections with the communities where our stores are located, and we have been honored to serve those communities. We will continue serving local congregations as they meet the spiritual needs of their neighbours”, he added.

LifeWay will continue with its online sales through the website. “Our retail strategy for the future will be a greater focus on digital channels, which are experiencing strong growth”, Waggoner said in an announcement.



The chain also tried the strategy of focusing on local church partnerships and shift toward becoming a community gathering place to offer an experience beyond the products themselves.

However, US news webstie Baptist Press reported that “LifeWay hadn’t had sales exceed its operating expenses in more than a decade, and the margin between the two grew from $2.3 million in 2010 to $35.5 million in 2017”.

LifeWay doctrinal guidelines include no prosperity gospel books, accounts of visiting heaven, and in recent years, titles by authors such as Jen Hatmaker, Mark Driscoll or James MacDonald.



Following the announcement of the closures, many Southern Baptists, Christian authors, publishers and clients honored the chain in social media.

“As someone who spent 20 years working in Christian retail, I am sad that there will be 170 fewer physical stores where people can find and purchase Christian books, Bibles, and resources”, President and CEO Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA), Stan Jantz, said.

Greg Squires, President of the Christian marketing agency, pointed out that “we are saddened by this news [...] with this loss of another Christian retail chain, the hundreds of independent Christian bookstores have an expanded role and increased responsibility to serve their communities with Christian content and product”.



The store closures come two years after its competitor, Family Christian Resources, shut down all 240 locations because of a growing debt and bankruptcy. Cokesbury Bookstores had already closed all 38 retail stores in 2013.

For over a decade, Christian bookstores have been at risk, as shoppers increasingly turned to the internet, megachurch bookstores, and mainstream stores for top titles.

A research by The Parable Group showed that sales at Christian retailers declined 3% in 2018. Even though the figures aren’t as dramatic as a few years before, nearly two-thirds of Christian retailers said the future of their industry was a top concern, second only to their own declining margins.

Additionally, according to Parable Group, many of the “frontline” Christian titles over the past several years, made up three times as much of the Christian products sold everywhere as they did in Christian stores in particular.




    If you want to comment, or


YOUR ARE AT: - - Largest US Christian retail chain to close all its stores by the end of 2019
Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels Julia Doxat-Purser: 25 years of EEA office in Brussels

An interview with the socio-political representative of the European Evangelical Alliance about how evangelical Christians work at the heart of the European Union.

Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Lars Dahle: Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference Glimpses of the ELF 2019 conference

Evangelical leaders from across Europe meet in Wisla (Poland) to network for mission in a range of fields. The vision is to renew the biblical church and evangelise Europe.

AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals AEA Plaza opens to serve African evangelicals

After many years of labour, the Association of Evangelicals in Africa officially opened its new centre in Nairobi, Kenya. “Africa, your time has come!”, said the World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General Efraim Tendero.

‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’ ‘Small churches, big potential for transformation’

Photos of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance’s annual gathering “Idea 2019”, in Murcia. Politicians and church leaders discussed about the role of minorities in society.

God’s love and judgement in the New Testament God’s love and judgement in the New Testament

Both God’s love and judgement are intensified in the New Testament, says Paul Caopn, Chair of Philosophy and Ethics of Palm Beach Atlantic University (US).

A call to prayer from the streets of Venezuela A call to prayer from the streets of Venezuela

In the midst of the turmoil in Venezuela, Pastor Carlos Vielma, Vice President of the Union of Christian Churches of Venezuela, sent out an urgent plea for Christians everywhere to pray.

Romania: God’s Word among Roma people Romania: God’s Word among Roma people

Gypsies are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Romania. According to 2013 estimates, the Roma groups make up 10% of the country's population, accounting for about 1.5 million people.

Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube

EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.