Christian Retailing

Worship Him marches Christian retail into the future Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 10 July 2018 12:47 AM America/New_York

Christian retailers went to church Monday night at CBA’s Worship Him service during Unite 2018. CBA’s annual convention is being held July 8-11 at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville.

Jekalyn Carr (Lunjeal Music/New Day Christian Distributors) kicked off the musical portion of the evening as she reminded participants through the power of song that God is bigger than anything they might face.

With his crowd-pleasing band, Jason Crabb (pictured) continued the theme of expecting big things of God, praying, “Bless us, Lord. Bless us, Lord. Send your presence.” Crabb mentioned his recent CD release, Unexpected (Daywind/New Day Christian), but sang one classic not on the current CD that really roused the crowd, “Working on a Building.” He also gave away a Rahab’s Rope product, which benefits the poor in India.

Sandi Patty brought her resounding voice to the service although she is no longer touring regularly. While she sang a number of favorites, she also played and sang a quieter song, declaring that “Jesus is a faithful friend in the in between,” referring to the “in between seasons” of life. HarperCollins Christian Publishing releases her new book, The Voice, on Nov. 6.

In a welcome by CBA President Curtis Riskey before the music started, he promised that Unite 2018 was “not business as usual.” The service did seem different than usual with the challenge by one key speaker, Eddie Roush, chairman of the Roush Foundation, which gave a million dollars toward CBA member retailers’ show expenses.

Roush, who is also chairman of the CBA Service Corporation, stood with a Bible held high declaring many of the names of God from the Scriptures. When Roush was young, his pastor-father sang “There’s Something About That Name.” He talked of facing troubled times and said God’s Word warned of that ahead of time.

Roush went on to talk about the power of words, to say that Christianity needs to be rebranded and that the Christian products industry needs a dramatic change in its business practices and strategies.

He spoke at length about the fact that there is no such thing as a “Christian business,” but that only people can be Christian: “Can an organization or corporation be born again? The answer is no.”

He talked of the rebranding of Christianity that’s needed because evangelicals have become “especially paranoid.” Christians “seem to be governed by fear.” He added: “We fear change, any change. … Perfect love drives us away from fear.”

A former lawyer, Roush seemed to speak against the Christian baker who recently won his Supreme Court case for not baking a cake for a homosexual couple and against the alliance of believers with right-wing politics. He called out double standards and hypocrisy among Christians and called for compassion rather than cruelty.

“We abuse the name of Jesus for our personal gain,” Roush also said, calling on the industry to become “consumer centric.”

“I never ask God for money,” Roush said. “I ask Him for ideas because God always finances His ideas.”

“I’ve come to interrupt the industry,” Roush declared, reminding attendees of the lyrics to a Stephen Curtis Chapman song, “Saddle up your horses. We’ve got a trail to blaze.”

Keynote speaker Clyde Rivers, a U.S. citizen who is the honorary ambassador at large for the African country of Burundi and founder of iChange Nations, closed the night by saying “there’s nothing bigger than God in this world.” But, he added, “His currency is people. There’s no economic famine. There’s a gift famine.”

Rivers talked of Noah and Enoch receiving radical words from God that changed their generations.

“God wants you to do something different,” Rivers told the audience, calling on retailers to “retake the top, which, he said, is what repentance means. Some attendees responded to his altar call, going forward to be honest with God, repent and leave behind the old in a “spiritual trash can.”

Rivers called CBA “the organization that can reframe the world.”

 
Charlotte Pence promotes Center Street book at Unite Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Monday, 09 July 2018 04:47 PM America/New_York
CharlottePence Unite2018 cropped
Center Street author Charlotte Pence visits Unite 2018.

Charlotte Pence, the middle child of Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, talked with Christian Retailing about Where You Go: Life Lessons From My Father. The Center Street book is set for October release.

Pence, who is starting her college career at Harvard Divinity School this fall, wrote Where You Go for her family but then decided to share it with the public.

“I’ve kind of been writing it, I feel like my whole life,” she said. “I’ve been writing down lessons that my dad and my mom have taught me and so being able to put that into print and share that with other people has been really fun and special.”

Pence’s father was elected to Congress when she was only 6. After he served as a congressman for 12 years and then as Indiana governor for four, he assumed the vice presidency.

Being in the public eye has “been pretty constant in our lives ever since I was very young,” Charlotte said. “It’s just kind of part of life, and I tell people it’s just what my parents do for a living. It’s not the most important thing in our life, but it’s definitely a constant presence. But I think that they’ve really protected our family through it all, and we’ve stayed really close.”

Although she is a “political child,” Charlotte believes readers will be able to relate to the stories and lessons she shares in Where You Go. She also hopes readers will “think about the ways in which they’re teaching others in their life and think about the ways in which they’ve learned from those around them.”

At Harvard, she plans to earn her master’s in theological studies; then Christian retailers can expect to hear more from her.

“I’ll be studying religious themes in literature, and I still want to go down the writing track,” she said. “I’m hoping that God’s going to challenge my thinking and my writing and really enrich my storytelling.”

 
Christian publishers reflect on legacy of Billy Graham Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 11:33 AM America/New_York

BillyGraham-BGEA-300Global evangelist Billy Graham has died in his home in North Carolina at 99.

Graham has preached the gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history—nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, books, films and webcasts.

Graham wrote more than 30 books, many of which became top sellers. His autobiography, Just As I Am, published in 1997, achieved a "triple crown," appearing simultaneously on the three top best-seller lists in one week.

The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association selected Nearing Home as the 2012 Christian Book of the Year.

Graham’s book How to Be Born Again (1977) had the largest first printing in publishing history with 800,000 copies; Angels: God's Secret Agents (1975) sold 1 million copies within 90 days; and The Jesus Generation (1971) sold 200,000 copies in the first two weeks.

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Barbour names new president, VP Print Email
Written by Taylor Berglund   
Friday, 12 January 2018 03:30 PM America/New_York

Burns MaryBarbour Publishing CEO Timothy Martins announced that Mary Burns has been promoted to the position of president and chief operating officer, effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Martins, who served as Barbour’s president for over 20 years, will remain active with the company as CEO and serving on the company’s board of directors. Burns, a 23-year veteran of Barbour Publishing, has served as vice president of marketing for the majority of that time. The executive team will now report directly to Burns. Together they’ll be responsible for executing Barbour’s strategy and managing the business.

Martins commented on Barbour's future under Burns' leadership.

“I'm ecstatic about the possibilities for the company and its owners under Mary's leadership and look forward to watching her very capable team reach new heights in the months and years to come,” Martins said.

Burns cast a sunny vision for the company's future.

“I’m excited to take on the leadership role of president," Burns said. "With our recent transition to an ESOP, there are endless opportunities for Barbour to grow and continue our success in book publishing. It will be my pleasure to guide our motivated and dedicated team in accomplishing the goals we have set for the future.”

Burns also announced the promotion of Shalyn Sattler to the position of vice president of marketing. Sattler, who joined the Barbour team in 2005, has served as director of marketing in recent years. With this promotion, she will now be responsible for providing team leadership and strategy for all of the company’s marketing activities.

Sattler said she was pleased to receive this promotion.

“I’m incredibly honored to accept this new position with the company that has become my family over the past 12 years,” Sattler said. “Book marketing has drastically changed since I first began my career, but I’m energized by the challenge of continually finding new and better ways of connecting readers with our uplifting products.”

 
‘God and Donald Trump’ explores spiritual aspects of his miracle victory Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 01:56 PM America/New_York

GodAndDonaldTrump-webDonald Trump is six months into the U.S. presidency, and opinions about his job thus far certainly fall all along the spectrum of approval or disapproval. One fact that can’t be overlooked is that President Trump has embraced the guidance of Christians who helped elect him.

A new book from Charisma Media CEO Stephen E. Strang, who strongly backed Trump in the election, will consider how the president’s faith has perhaps grown and strengthened in office. God and Donald Trump (FrontLine/Charisma House), to be released Nov. 7, seeks to help readers understand who Trump is, what he really believes, where his vision for America will lead the country and where God is in all of this.

“With pundits asking, ‘How did he win?’ my new book explores whether there was a supernatural element involved,” Strang said. “Christian leaders prophesied before the election that God had raised up Trump to lead the nation through a time of crisis. But could this billionaire reality-TV star actually convince the voters he was for real? And if so, what is God doing, now not only in Donald’s Trump’s life, but also in the nation?”

Trump is an enigma—a brash self-promoter, casino owner and man of the world. Yet he is also a devoted husband and father who has surrounded himself with men and women of faith and has made religion a key component of his image. Strang’s God and Donald Trump will explore:

● How family and childhood influences shaped Trump’s character and worldview
● How openness to evangelical leaders helped build his commitment to religious liberty
● How his election as president was predicted years before by charismatic prophets
● How he captured the largest evangelical vote in history and won the Electoral College
● What he really believes and how those beliefs helped shape his campaign promises

God and Donald Trump is a powerful first-person account of one of the most contentious elections in American history, with exclusive interviews and insightful commentary from the men and women who were there.

After interviewing Trump, Strang, an award-winning journalist, founder of Charisma magazine and successful businessman, was involved with other Christian leaders who campaigned for Trump’s election. Strang also attended the 2017 election-night victory party in New York because he believed the prophetic ministers who said Trump would win.

 
Marketing executive Lucy Diaz Kurz rejoins Charisma House Print Email
Written by Althea Thompson   
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 11:48 AM America/New_York

LucyDiazKurzLucy Diaz Kurz has rejoined the Charisma House book group after a seven-year interval.

Kurz relaunches her career at the publishing house as vice president of marketing, a title she held from August 2004 to September 2010. In this role, she will oversee strategic marketing efforts for all book imprints, including Charisma House, FrontLine, Siloam and Passio.

As the most industry-awarded Hispanic woman in the Christian bookseller market with many gold, platinum and New York Times best-seller distinctions, Kurz has represented hundreds of artists and authors and thousands of products.

“We couldn’t find a better fit for this role than Lucy,” said Marcos Perez, publisher and executive vice president of Charisma House. “Her industry experience and marketing expertise will help to transform and restrategize our book marketing efforts.”

Kurz’s widespread years of professional experience include successful roles as senior vice president of business development/consulting for Synergy Crosslinx Holding LLC, president of development at Gospo Centric and B-Rite Music, president at Lucy Diaz Kurz Consulting, vice president of marketing and corporate officer and vice president of special projects for Integrity Inc.

“With an impressive track record in the industry such as Lucy’s, we expect great things to come,” said Steve Strang, founder and CEO of Charisma Media. “Most importantly, she brings biblical knowledge to the role, which is paramount to achieving our mission as a company.”

With her successful completion of studies in two global networks providing qualification to teach in more than 1,300 international Bible schools worldwide through Rhema Bible Training Center and DOMATA School of Ministry, Kurz brings a wealth of biblical expertise to Charisma House, which is the publisher of the Modern English Version Bible translation.

Charisma House has published 13 New York Times best-sellers, including The Harbinger, The Mystery of the Shemitah and The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn; Fasting by Jentezen Franklin; 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese; and The Seven Pillars of Health by Don Colbert, M.D.

 
Logos Bookstores announces 2017 award winners Print Email
Written by Taylor Berglund   
Friday, 30 June 2017 12:03 PM America/New_York

present-over-perfectThe Association of Logos Bookstores announced this year’s Books, Author and Representatives of the Year. The awards, presented at Unite 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio, honor outstanding work in the Christian publishing and retailing fields.

Each spring, members of the Association of Logos Bookstores nominate and then select Books of the Year winners in seven different categories, as well as an Author of the Year whose body of work exemplifies the power of books to change lives forever. Finally, Christian retail store managers nominate 22 outstanding field and inside representatives, who are honored for their service to the stores.

Executive director Becky Gorczyca was proud to honor 2017’s winners.

"We consider it a privilege each year to acknowledge, encourage and thank these other participants in our shared mission in Christian retailing," Gorczyca said.

Anne Graham Lotz received the award for Author of the Year. The seven Books of the Year were James K. Smith’s You Are What You Love (Brazos Press/Baker Publishing House) for Theology, Doctrine and Reference; Sharon Garlough Brown’s Barefoot (InterVarsity Press) for Fiction; Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way (Zondervan) for Spirituality and Devotion; Priscilla Shirer and Gina Detwiler’s The Prince Warriors (LifeWay) for Youth; Shauna Niequist’s Present Over Perfect (Zondervan) for Christian Living; George McDonald and Ruth Sanderson’s The Golden Key (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.) for Children’s Picture Books; and Makato Fujimure’s Silence and Beauty (InterVarsity Press) for Christianity/Culture.

The 17 representatives honored for their work were Gary Sipes (B&H), Connie Hall (Crossway), Steven Bartch (David C Cook), Robert Splinter (Group Publishing), Dean Cook (HarperCollins), Regina Hughes (HarperCollins), Gary Comeforo (HarperCollins), Jeff Miller (HarperCollins), Jerry Gortmaker (Noble Marketing), Lane Davis (Noble), Ryan Garrett (Noble), Ted Terry (Noble), Harley Rollins (Rollins Pilot), Trevor Rollins (Rollins Pilot), Mary Lou Alexander (Spring Arbor), Dave Salzmann (Tyndale) and Troy Baker (Tyndale).

 
Exhibitors mostly positive about quieter Unite 2017 Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Friday, 30 June 2017 10:34 AM America/New_York

Unite2017-showfloorCBA's Unite 2017 in Cincinnati had an intentionally smaller footprint but saved money for the Christian retail association. The exhibitors seemed mostly pleased, although they acknowledged there were fewer retailers who attended. The international booths were also set up in a separate exhibit area, which led to some complaints, but the international business was generally good, according to exhibitors.

Dicksons’ Stephanie Flinn, vice president of product development, brought to their booth gifts appropriate for the season that retailers would be buying now. With a smaller show floor this year, exhibitors reduced their booth space.

Flinn also noted that she had some “great conversations” with internationals, which is a major focus of the show.

Craig Cable of Group Publishing also said his company had “lots of great discussions and meetings” at Unite.

Brian Adkins, founder and CEO of Scripture Candy, had a good order-writing show.

“We were also exposed here to the Empowered Life group that bought 15 stores [from Family Christian Stores]. … That within itself makes the show," Adkins said.

Sister Antonia Cleverly connected with customers at the booth for Paraclete Press, which hasn’t been at CBA’s show for more than 10 years. The publisher returned this year, she said, because of its selection of titles appropriate to the evangelical market. Paraclete is also strengthening its publishing on the ecumenical side.
“We’re trying to talk with other distributors and also we had some rights appointments, so it’s a good opportunity for us to do some other connections, not just bookstores,” Sr. Antonia said.

“I would say we had moderate expectations, and they were met,” she added.

Designer Mindy Kinnier, who owns gift company Rooted Ink with her two sisters, is exhibiting at Unite for the first time. The young company is new to Christian retail, but has an inventory that should appeal to Christian stores. Rooted Ink focuses on prayer journals, including some for children and youth, and also sells sermon notebooks and Scripture prints.

“We had a few Christian bookstores contact us just through our website, so we thought we’d come and get some exposure here,” said Kinnier, whose parents owned a Christian bookstore in Orange County, California, for 28 years.

Karen Ganovsky, founder and owner of Neckglasses/NeckBlessings, had a positive outlook on Unite 2017 and is looking forward to the convention in Nashville, where it will be for the next two years.

“The response has been fabulous and positively uplifting,” Ganovsky said. “We placed more orders than anticipated and have met so many warm and welcoming people. We are very happy we chose to exhibit at Unite 2017.”