[dropcap]A[/dropcap] little over two years ago I started working at LifeWay Christian Resources. Social media is my bailiwick, and I immensely enjoy working here. See that as my disclaimer, and this post as a few observations.
Among my observations is that LifeWay is a friend to women.
LifeWay is a large publisher with a large responsibility to serve our denomination and, by extension, an opportunity to serve the larger Christian community. Everyone I have met at LifeWay takes that responsibility seriously.
The publishing industry can be exciting or unnerving depending on the time of day, day of the week, product cycle, or general economy. Determining what to publish and what to sell are time and mind intensive. Every decision potentially affects an author, editor, publisher, or distributor. No publisher can publish every submission and no store can carry every book published.
One thing I really have come to appreciate about LifeWay is the number of female authors whose works we publish, carry in LifeWay Christian stores and sell online. As the husband of one wife and father of two daughters, I am happy the company provides both materials and potential opportunities for women.
Among the female authors who write Bible studies for us are Priscilla Shirer, Kelly Minter, Lisa Harper, Angela Thomas, Jennifer Rothschild, Jen Hatmaker and Vicki Courtney. And that’s just the Bible studies written by women for women.
We publish studies from one of the most widely read Bible study authors in the world, Beth Moore.
We also have Bible studies by women designed for teens. Among these authors are Emily Cole, Pam Gibbs, Rachel Lovingood and Jennifer Mills, Hayley DiMarco, Erin Davis, Kristi Wyatt, Katie Brazelton. Some of these numerous studies and books are designed, written and published with teen-aged girls and young women in mind. We not only care about women, we care about young women and girls who will eventually be women.
Margaret Feinberg and Mary Jo Sharp have both authored studies that will benefit anyone regardless of age or gender.
In addition to Bible studies we have many women authors who we publish and have published through our trade-book division, B&H Publishing Group. Among them are those who have careers as adoptive moms, models, church staff members, lawyers, full time authors, professional counselors, culture changers, conference speakers and university professors. An abbreviated list includes Jen Hatmaker, Nancy Pearcey, Angie Smith, Candace Cameron Bure, Vicki Courtney, Amp Spiegel, Melissa Trevathan, and Sissy Goff. Upcoming books include authors Kate Conner, Erin Davis, and Lauren Chandler.
There simply is not enough time to enumerate all the women authors LifeWay does not publish, but carries or have carried in our stores. During a visit to a single store, I saw books authored or co-authored by women in the Marriage, Devotional, Christian Living, Christian Growth, Family, Finance, and Reference sections. And those are not all the sections in the store!
This is not even to cover events LifeWay hosts and/or promotes like the recently ended LifeWay Women’s Forum and multiple annual events planned by women and led by women for the purpose of building women in the faith.
Have I mentioned the scores if not hundreds of female artists nurtured and promoted by LifeWay and whose products are sold in LifeWay Christian Stores? Just check the CDs, DVDs, movies, concert videos, and artwork.
It is difficult to believe, given everything LifeWay does to elevate and nurture women, that LifeWay is condemned by some for not being woman friendly (in fact, the president of B&H Publishing is Selma Wilson). But, that is the conundrum of the publishing world, even the Christian publishing world.
The short of it is that LifeWay loves women and is a place that values the input of women as employees, authors, speakers and advisors. We also assist numerous women experience writing and teaching careers that might otherwise never have gotten started. This is no small thing. I am glad to see it happening.