Here’s the final draft of the letter I sent to Lifeway. The communication expert I had on Episode 14 -Dr. Heidi Petak- really polished it up! In fact, the letter ended up to be so good, Lifeway actually asked me to come in and interview for a job. The rep I spoke to- Marty King- was super kind. For now, I’m having a ball in Podcast Land but I felt very honored…. They’re in the middle of moving their corporate headquarters so I won’t be going in any time soon for the meeting I was hoping for but it was sure fun taking a chance.
The letter’s kinda long- in fact, my reading of it out loud was SOOO boring, I feel I owe you an apology! But if you scoot in to about 8:00 on Ep 14, that’s where the interview starts and it’s GOOD!
Dear Marty, Nov 28, 2016
I am writing you today from a heart full of both gratitude and concern. I am deeply thankful for all Lifeway has meant to me personally over the years-
As a young Christian, I enjoyed walking into the Lifeway store, to find hilo tracks to sing in church services, then Bibles and guides to help me study the Word of God, then wholesome, edifying novels to read, then music cds… Later, as a newlywed, I came into the store seeking out resources on marriage and then when I started having kids, it became THE resource for this new parent, trying to navigate new waters of raising up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord.
I remember whole days planned around a stop at the Lifeway Store in Cool Springs to experience a new Veggie Tales video and check out the upcoming VBS materials and buy a new book. Upon their dedications and baptisms, each of my children ventured with me into Lifeway to pick out their own Bibles.
Now as a 53 year old woman, I’m still so appreciative of the warm greeting I receive every single time I step foot in a Lifeway store, how helpful and kind the employes are, how the other customers are never rude or pushy in line, but pleasant to talk to… You all have set the tone for all of this.
There are so many positive things you all have done for our area. Like last year, when you had the Compassion trailer in your parking lot, what an experience! You’ve done much to bring the community together. Just before the elections, you held that city wide prayer for such a time as this, and now, you’re making it easy for your patrons to be mindful about filling up shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse and showing us (not just teaching us about) hospitality; it all means so much, what you’re doing…
At the same time, I’m concerned because I fear a decision made recently seems to go against the grain of everything I know to be true about your company: I’m talking about the decision to pass on Amy Grant’s new Christmas product. I can imagine that you all have standards to uphold and I respect that. But I believe this product will meet your standards.
When I consider Lifeway’s track record for community outreach, I deduce that it’s also important to the “powers that be” that your stores would be attractive to customers who might not attend church on a regular basis and I’m afraid the decision to not carry this product will only be self defeating for your company….
I’d like to propose another option- one that would result in greater respect for your company as a whole and you, as individuals of God. I am humbly requesting the reversal of this decision. And I’d like to come in personally and present some reasons for this request (if you’d be so kind as to point me in the right direction….as in- who do I talk to?)
The decision to pass on this record may not have much bearing on the sales of the product or the artist, but I think reversing it will speak volumes and make a great impact on communities across the country beyond sales and numbers; perhaps beyond anything we can ask or imagine.
Many of my own friends and neighbors may venture into your store for this particular product, needing comfort and rest for their weary souls and find themselves lingering because the tone you have set is peace inducing. The aroma of Christ is evident and sweet and palpable in these spaces.
You have many materials and resources which encourage people to process their emotions- products like Larry Crabb’s Inside Out, which came at a pivotol point in my life when I did not know how to talk about feelings… It’s still a resource I refer to now 25 years later. Can I trouble you to consider that Amy Grant’s new release could serve as a most validating soundtrack for many of us who feel melancholy at Christmastime?
We are on the same team, Marty. We both want the same things; to make known the Name of God, to bring peace and hope and Light of Jesus Christ to all people, to encourage unity in our communities.
If we were to picture ourselves on the mountainside crowded in with Jesus’ many followers, I’d see Lifeway holding the basket full of resources and I’d be one of many wanting to join you (and ultimately join God) by helping to pass out its contents.
I’m hoping that the executives at Lifeway will prayerfully consider repealing immediately the policy to not stock Amy Grant’s Tennessee Christmas. At this moment, Amy Grant’s new release is #2 on the Billboard chart for Christmas songs. She draws thousands of listeners from all over the globe. The message of hope therein is much needed. I do hope you’ll consider taking part in carrying “Tennessee Christmas” to the masses.
I appreciate all your company does for our community Marty, I’m sure your leaders are led by God and I trust you guys to take feedback to heart. For this reason, I would like to make a humble appeal to someone in person. Please allow me to come in this week, so we can cast a vision for Lifeway’s reach. Let’s reason together.
Thank you for your consideration,
The main things to remember if/when you’re starting a hard conversation are;
-Use “I” statements (“I think,” vs “You did this…”
-Seek understanding (“Tell me more…”)
and most of all, remember you want the same thing…. (at least in most cases.)
If you do plan on starting something over Christmas break, (remember sometimes in order to make peace, ya gotta make a little war…..) do it in love, with respect and PRAYED UP so it benefits the other person.