The publishing arm of the Southern Convention has announced that it will be reducing its operating budget by 10% following a steep decline in orders amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
LifeWay Christian Resources will achieve its sizeable budget cut by freezing recruitment and reducing salaries; it is also likely to make some staff redundant as part of the process. The group is aiming to cut between $25 million and $30 million from its annual budget.
According to Christianity Today, the Nashville-based company recorded a 24 percent drop in sales compared with the same period last year. With the lockdown still in place across many states and congregations unable to meet in person, LifeWay said that churches have been canceling their regular orders for resources such as Sunday school curricula, Bible study materials, and Vacation Bible School curricula.
“LifeWay stands to lose tens of millions of dollars of revenue that the organization would normally generate over the summer months from camps, events, VBS, and ongoing curriculum sales,” said Ben Mandrell, LifeWay’s CEO, in a press release. “LifeWay is mitigating these losses as much as possible through various expense reduction plans, including staff reductions and cuts in non-employee expenses.”
In a bid to alleviate some of the financial pressure, LifeWay’s Executive Leadership Team is due to sacrifice one month’s salary in May.
Last year, LifeWay announced that it would be closing all its 170 retail stores and moving the entirety of its business online. The publisher is also looking into selling or leasing its corporate office building in downtown Nashville.
The company has also announced that it will be freezing 401(k) contributions and discretionary spending.
“We have to be ready to adjust to the needs of churches if we want to be relevant in a post-COVID world,” Mandrell added. “Church operations and ministries are going to look different for an indefinite period of time.”