Lifeway Worship, a component of Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, has announced plans to discontinue its lifewayworship.com website.
A letter posted at lifewayworship.com on July 18 stated:
“At Lifeway, we exist to honor God and serve churches by designing trustworthy experiences that fuel ministry. That’s why taking anything out of print or discontinuing any service to the church is not something we take lightly, nor is it a decision made without a great deal of prayer and due diligence.
“These decisions are made for a number of reasons, but always with the goal of best stewarding our resources to serve Christ’s church even as some needs of the church may change over time.
“Accordingly, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue lifewayworship.com, effective Sept. 30, 2023.”
Carol Pipes, director of corporate communications, clarified the decision in a statement requested by the Baptist and Reflector.
“We are not discontinuing Lifeway Worship. We are discontinuing the lifewayworship.com website.
“Our Lifeway Worship team will continue to provide Lord’s Supper supplies, hymnals, trade music, bulletins, church supplies, digital graphics, seasonal supplies, Lifeway’s One Source and other areas of church worship ministry support. We’re also working to make our lifewayworship.com music library available at lifeway.com in the future. We’ll continue to look for new and fresh ways to serve churches and their worship ministries,” she said.
Scott Shepherd, worship and music specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board said the unexpected announcement by Lifeway to discontinue the website “brings a devastating blow to worship ministries across the Southern Baptist Convention — and beyond.”
Shepherd, who also is the current president of the Southern Baptist Church Music Conference, said Lifeway Worship is “an unparalleled source” for purchasing congregational music for churches of all sizes.
“Lifeway Worship is in a league of its own. Its commitment to creating distinctive hymn and worship song arrangements, including components for worship bands, vocalists, pianists, instrumentalists and more, caters to all churches, regardless of size,” Shepherd observed.
“It is an indispensable hub for thousands and thousands of churches in search of music resources — including my own. Over my last 15 years of worship ministry, it’s been my go-to website; all others are dwarfed in comparison.”
Kenny Lamm, worship ministries strategist for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, agreed that lifewayworship.com is the “absolute best resource for worship ministries. Nothing else out there comes close.”
Lamm noted, “It is a sad day to see this resource arm of the SBC no longer value worship — the one thing that is central to every church, perhaps the greatest point of discipleship for the majority of our congregations, and an eternal aspect of our lives — and cease to resource the church in this way.”
Jason “Bubba” Stewart, worship and music consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, said he has promoted the Lifeway worship site for 15 years.
“It has been my number one resource for congregations that are looking for modern hymns arranged for the congregation in a singable key. The website catalog contains titles that are certainly helpful for our smaller churches,” he observed.
Stewart expressed a desire that Lifeway “would have reached out to state convention worship specialists, such as myself, for help in finding a solution for whatever issue they seemed to be having. I was under the impression that the website was a money maker.”
He noted the decision is disappointing following Lifeway’s report at the 2023 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention which indicated “incredible financial gains” then to shut down “a key website of worship resources for the local church. I thought that was the mission for Lifeway — helpful resources,” Stewart said.
Questions or expressions of concern or support of the decision to discontinue the lifewayworship.com website can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.