Yesterday, my wife and I saw a very sad sight. We walked into a LifeWay Christian bookstore three days before it closed for good. This particular store was in Florida, but LifeWay stores all over the country are also closing. Over 170 plus stores will close in the next few days. To me, that is really sad.
Leaving that bookstore yesterday brought back a flood of memories for my wife and I. We have spent many a date night over the years making a stop at a LifeWay store to check out the newest books or CD’s. We are both readers and we have always loved walking through a good Christian bookstore. Those days are now gone because Christian bookstores are gone.
As I purchased my two CD’s for $2 at LifeWay, I remarked to the sales guy, “I guess bookstores are a dying thing these days?” His answer spoke volumes: “At least Christian bookstores.” Ouch!
I know there are lots of reasons for why bookstores likes LifeWay are closing. Most would say that Kindle, Amazon, Apple Books, etc. and are taking over the market. I understand that the market is changing, but I also wonder if it is shrinking.
I can’t help but wonder: if Bibles and Christian books were best sellers, would Christian bookstores be closing? Granted, I have not done the market research to see if Christian books are still selling online, but my hunch tells me they are not. At least, not like they did a decade ago.
I think the same reason Christian bookstores are closing is the same reason church attendance is declining. There is a “slow fade” happening in our culture. We are not becoming more spiritually hungry; we are becoming more indifferent.
LifeWay stores did not all close over night. This trend has been slowly growing for years. It is not a good trend, and regardless of technology, it is not a good thing to be in a world where hard copy Christian books are not available at your neighborhood mall. Wait a minute, where have all the malls gone? That’s another blog I guess.
In the meantime disciple making is still the answer. People reaching people and helping people grow is still the solution for our culture. Just remember, they had no Christian bookstores in Jerusalem, Ephesus, or Thessalonica. All they had were disciples sharing the message of Jesus and being devoted to the apostles’ teaching. It worked two thousand years ago, and it will work today!
Impact Discipleship Ministries exists to do the same thing Jesus did two thousand years ago: make disciples. If we can help you do that, check us out at impactdisciples.com. Oh yes, and you can order our curriculum online by clicking here!