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Resources must transform lives, LifeWay's President Draper says
-- By Tony Imms

    ATLANTA, June 15--The mission of LifeWay Christian Resources must be to transform lives, President James T. Draper Jr. said during his June 15 report to Southern Baptist Convention messengers.
    "God has convicted us that it is not good enough for LifeWay to produce resources or services that people say they like or that sell well," Draper said. "The standard [for any product or service] must be: Does this point non-believers to Christ, and does it help Christians become more like Christ?"
    Draper thanked messengers for approving a second vote on SBC bylaw 14, which completed the process to change the agency's name from the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. The 1998 vote also authorized the agency to begin immediate use of the name.
    He reminded messengers the primary reasons for the change were to have a name "that allowed us, even through our name, to lift up our relationship to Jesus Christ." Also, he said he new name better reflects the variety of products and services the organization provides.
    "People ordered and used our dated literature, shopped in our stores and attended our conference centers without knowing that all of these were part of one organization," Draper said.
    He said the Holman Christian Standard Bible, a Bible translation in process from LifeWay's Broadman & Holman Publishers, is designed to be a text "combining the accuracy of the New American Standard Bible with the readability of the New International Version."
    The primary reason for the new translation, Draper said, is that other Bible translations have "sometimes sacrificed the accuracy and precision of the original text. In some cases, they have even re-interpreted the Bible to make it conform to current trends or political correctness."
    The Holman Christian Standard Bible will be "an accurate, literal rendering, yet with a smoothness and readability that invites memorization, reading aloud and dedicated study," he said.
    Draper said LifeWay will hold the copyright to the new translation in contrast to other translations for which the agency must pay royalties while having no control over changes that may diminish biblical accuracy.
    Draper cited "Sunday School for a New Century" as "a strategy, a way for the church to do the work of the Great Commission."
    Sunday School for a New Century curriculum will offer churches more options and will include a greater emphasis on the family and will encourage home Bible study, Draper said. Resources will be available for the Fall 2000 quarter.
    He also gave reported on the FAITH Sunday school evangelism strategy, which he said is designed to work hand-in-hand with "Sunday School for a New Century" materials.
    According to Draper, 70 FAITH clinics have been conducted, training more than 9,940 people in 2,512 churches. A total of 6,019 professions of faith have been recorded so far, he said.
    Draper pledged to continue LifeWay's commitment to spiritual transformation, saying, "We stand under the Bible as the Word of God. We are a people of the Book.
    "We must not only know the Bible," he said. "We must know the world in which we live. We must prepare our resources with the Bible in one hand and today's newspaper in the other."

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