Lifeway Christian Resources has announced plans to continue operating LifewayWorship.com for another year.
This latest news from Lifeway comes after receiving strong feedback in recent months from church leaders after they announced in July their plans to shut down the website. Within days of the initial announcement, Lifeway President Ben Mandrell reversed course and agreed to continue operating the site while the organization held “listening sessions” to determine the best move forward.
“Lifeway exists as a ministry partner for the local church,” Mandrell said in a Sept. 29 statement announcing the site would continue for another year. “We are committed to churches and their leaders to support the ways God is using them.
“The listening sessions we held with worship leaders and music directors gave us invaluable feedback in understanding the benefit lifewayworship.com provides for their ministry,” he said. “As a result, we will continue updating the website for another year, including the production of new music through September of next year.”
Brian Brown, director of Lifeway Worship said it is important for churches to understand that the resources currently on the website will not go away. “Everything we’ve created for the past 15 years will remain available to churches,” he said.
‘More time to listen’
In Lifeway’s July announcement, they shared they would be shutting down the website that provides arrangements, charts, sheet music and other music resources for church worship. Churches were given until Aug. 31 to purchase new music and until Sept. 30 to download all their content. In response to concern from ministry leaders, however, Lifeway made the decision to postpone the shutdown.
“While we originally made the difficult decision to discontinue lifewayworship.com with prayerful consideration, we should have invested more time to listen to church leaders, provide more notice of the impending change, and partner with those who rely on this tool every week,” Mandrell said at the time.
As part of that commitment, Lifeway hosted four listening sessions in Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Texas.
‘Open and honest dialogue’
In those meetings, Brown, Scott Arvay, senior vice president and chief revenue officer, and Carol Pipes, director of communications, heard from music ministers and worship leaders from those four states, as well as surrounding states.
“We were very pleased with the listening sessions as each one allowed for open and honest dialogue about the unique role Lifeway Worship plays in serving worship leaders,” Arvay said.
“It was so encouraging to hear how important of a role it plays in many aspects of the leader’s responsibilities, including discipleship of those that serve on their teams,” he added.
After hearing from users of the website, Arvay said Lifeway recognized this is a ministry issue for worship leaders and not just a technology or tool challenge.
“Lifeway’s ability to compose worship music note by note in keys that are singable by the congregation allows the leader to involve more of the church in worship ministry, especially classically trained musicians,” he said. “Or simply put, Lifeway Worship is their curriculum.
“Additionally, we left inspired as we heard stories of Lifeway Worship serving as the key resource that helped leaders find unity between those at odds over traditional versus modern worship styles.”
Arvay said the organization will continue discussing ways to come alongside churches in their worship and music ministry.
“Over the next year,” he noted, “Lifeway will work closely with worship leaders to develop a holistic strategy on how we can best serve their needs, including the place lifewayworship.com plays.”