HarperCollins Christian Publishing, already the nation’s largest religion publisher, has moved to broaden its stake in the church curriculum and Bible study market with a new imprint announced Tuesday, HarperChristian Resources.
HCR will draw content from HCCP’s current imprints, Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, “as well as other Christian trade book publishers,” and expand with new print, digital, video and streaming offerings of texts and guides for individual and group Bible study, ministry programs and church campaigns.
The company announcement also highlights plans for “original projects from leading Bible teachers,” under a marketing banner of “Today’s most trusted voices," including bestselling authors such as Max Lucado, Lysa TerKeurst, Andy Stanley, Jennie Allen, Peter Scazzero, and Ann Voskamp. Titles that authors previously published with Thomas Nelson or Zondervan will be rebranded with HarperChristian Resources at reprinting.
The announcement also highlighted a move to make content available to individuals on all formats including streaming on any device. John Raymond, v-p and publisher for HCR, describes this as “reducing the dependency on group leaders who generally purchase the video content and share it with study group members.” The first guides to be offered include I Am Restored Video and Study Guide by Lecrae (July 2021), Nothing to Prove Video and Study Guide by Jennie Allen (July 2021), and Spiritual Warfare Is Real Video and Study Guide by Jim Cymbala (July 2021).
Aiming at All Platforms
Don Jacobson, senior v-p and group publisher of Trade Books for HarperCollins Christian Publishing said in the announcement that aggregating all their curriculum under HCR makes the company “better positioned to be highly competitive in retail spaces—both online and in brick and mortar stores.” HarperChristianResources.com will serve as the marketing hub for the brand, "with information about our Bible study teachers, titles, and topics. The site will also feature articles, tips, and encouragement for small group and Bible study leaders, powered by the ChurchSource blog and eCommerce platform."
The Bible study and curriculum marketplace was shaken up this winter when longtime leading Bible teacher and bestselling author Beth Moore declared she was quitting the Southern Baptist Convention and left Lifeway, the SBC-affiliated publisher where Bible studies and church curriculum are a mainstay.
Asked to respond to the announcement of HCR’s move to individual sales for Bible Study curriculum and its push for top teachers and authors, Lifeway president and CEO Ben Mandrell reiterated their commitment to group Bible Study. “We believe that what a group studies and how the content is developed and vetted are critical to that growth. Because we know the human heart can be radically shaped by the right resource, we want to equip people with solid, theologically sound study materials.”
Lifeway began offering digital access to video through the purchase of Bible Study books in January and will release a video-on-demand feature this summer to “make our content much more accessible as groups continue to adapt and group practices continue to evolve as a result of COVID-19 and post-COVID realities,” he said.
More Changes at HCCP
In other HCCP moves announced this month:
— Matthew McGhee, Spanish, Portuguese, and French outreach for Ligonier Ministries, will become associate publisher for the Spanish division, which includes Vida and Grupo Nelson. McGhee will oversee the editorial acquisition, development, and list management of all Spanish adult fiction and nonfiction, kids, curriculum, and reference/academic.
—Jamie Lockard, formerly v-p for marketing for Nelson Books, will replace Jeff James as v-p and publisher for Focus, the publisher’s Leadership imprint. Lockard will be responsible for the print and digital content publishing program, including continued development of the HarperCollins Leadership Essentials eCourses, and other future formats.
— HCCP writer and editor Angela Guzman will lead a publishing team charged with refreshing and revitalizing older titles.