Psalm 90 closes with a prayerful plea to the Lord:
Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us;
establish for us the work of our hands;
yes, establish the work of our hands!
I’ve prayed that verse regularly in the past decade, and my heart is full of wonder, gratitude, and praise when I consider how the Lord has answered that prayer so many times.
A Decade at Lifeway
For more than ten years now, I’ve had the honor of serving at Lifeway Christian Resources in several roles with different teams on a number of projects. I stepped into Lifeway when I was 29 years old, commissioned to ideate and develop a new curriculum. Back in October 2010, here’s how I put it:
The opportunity to develop curriculum at LifeWay is very exciting to me personally. For a long time, I have wanted to use a curriculum that was theologically robust, mission-focused, and centered in the grand narrative of Scripture: material that connects the dots from all the stories of the Bible to the great Story and the great Savior at the center of it all. I’m thankful that the Lord is giving me the opportunity to launch this curriculum line, and I pray that it will be of great service to the Church.
That curriculum became The Gospel Project. (If you’re interested, check out a video interview in which I talk about those early days of articulating the vision and bringing together the team to put it together.)
The Lord blessed those efforts beyond our wildest imagination. We had hoped to launch with something like 20,000 participants. In 2012, we began with more than 490,000. When the second cycle launched in 2015, we reached 1 million weekly participants, and in 2018, were serving more than 1.5 million a week, the majority of whom were kids.
In the years I was helping develop curriculum, I was in turn being developed as a leader. Every week I was given a seat at the table next to some of the most gifted, passionate, church-loving leaders I’ve ever met. I was always the youngest, but I was never treated as anything less than a peer. Lifeway leaders poured into me, encouraged me, drew out my particular gifts and skills, and became friends whose influence on me was incalculable.
In 2016, I took on a new role—director of Bibles and reference—just months before we launched the Christian Standard Bible translation. The trade publishing world was very different than the direct-to-church environment I’d grown used to, but thankfully I inherited a team whose members shared their expertise with me, supported the work, and demonstrated passion in getting God’s Word into the hands of more and more people. The Lord blessed these efforts as well.
I’m so proud of the Bible team and the incredible work they’ve accomplished. (I can’t help but point out the beautiful Bibles this team helped produce—from the She Reads Truth Bible to the Tony Evans Study Bible and more recently the Holy Land Illustrated Bible and The Worldview Study Bible. We also dipped into church history with the Ancient Faith Study Bible and The Spurgeon Study Bible, and stressed reading with the CSB Reader’s Bible and the five-volume set as well. The top-notch scholars on that team also oversaw the development of excellent reference materials, such as the Christ-Centered Exposition series and the Christian Standard Commentary.)
In 2019, I was invited to give leadership to other areas—our Communications, Leadership, and Lifeway Research teams—as well as put together a Theological Community of Practice across the organization. Yet again I was blessed with team members who put their skills to work for the sake of the kingdom and out of love for the church. (I tried listing the names of all the people at Lifeway I’ve had the privilege to work with and learn from, but it quickly grew too long and I worry I might accidentally leave someone off.) I cannot express how grateful I am for the investment of other leaders in me, and how honored I’ve been for the opportunity to work with such amazing team members.
Next Move: NAMB
As the Lifeway chapter comes to a close, I am excited to announce a new chapter about to begin. In August, I will step into a newly formed position at the North American Mission Board, where I will serve as vice president of research and resource development.
I am excited for the opportunity to start a new project with NAMB, to build a team around the needs of pastors and planters, and to serve free resources in the areas of church planting, compassion ministry, and evangelism that I pray church leaders will find indispensable to ministry. I look forward to forging new paths for serving the church, consistent with NAMB’s mission, in developing effective content and resources for ministry.
(As a side note, I plan to continue as a columnist here at The Gospel Coalition. I will also remain a visiting professor at Wheaton College, and I plan to continue writing books and speaking regularly.)
I’ll be sharing more about this new role with NAMB and reaching out to many pastors and church leaders in the days ahead. For now, I wanted to let you know of this change so that you would begin to pray along with me in this new endeavor—that the Lord would continue to show his favor and establish the work of our hands.
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