- November 1, 2016
- Christian Living
When it comes to Christian books, music, and other entertainment, it helps to have a Christian book store where believers can come for family entertainment or church materials. As secular stores like Borders and others close their doors, it is reassuring to know that believers can still shop from a variety of Christian establishments.
“Where can I find these Christian stores?” you may be wondering. You may recognize a name or two on this list already, but you might be surprised to know just how many places there are. Here are a few of the biggest names in Christian book stores.
Lifeway - Christian Book Store
If you live in the South, there is a good chance that you’ve heard of Lifeway in one way or another. You may be surprised to know that the store’s roots can be found in the late 19th century. From humble beginnings, it was originally called The Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The old name is accurate because the store was originally meant to help deliver church resources to the many congregations found under the Southern Baptist name. Becoming Lifeway in the 1970’s, the entity had gone from carrying only church supplies to a vast array of other materials.
Lifeway still sells many important items to churches ranging from building materials to offering envelopes. You can also visit their stores and find bible study kits, vacation bible school themes, and resources for pastors and other church administration.
For the everyday people, Lifeway is mostly known for selling books, CDs, and movies. In many stores you’ll also find home decor and some clothing items. Lifeway also hosts special events with different authors and speakers. There’s even a men’s conference called The Main Event that we covered in a previous article.
Due to the store’s rich history, Lifeway is able to offer many services and products to their customers in-person or online.
Another Christian bookstore both rich in history and experienced in changes, Family Christian Stores was founded by two brothers during the Great Depression.
The brothers started Zondervan Publishing House and became known as a popular resource for churches and believers to stay connected. While Zondervan eventually came to be a division under the Harper Collins brand, Family Christian has seen quite a winding path to today.
In recent years, the stores switched from being a for-profit retailer to operating as a nonprofit. This change was due to the company changing ownership and finding a new purpose. No longer looking for a profit, Family Christian now has a variety of causes that it funds.
Among those helpful efforts have been fundraising for orphanages, fighting human trafficking, and equipping communities with essential goods.
The store was facing some tough months in 2015, but a judge approved the sale of the company to an investor in August of that year. This has allowed business to continue as normal.
For those looking to shop with Family Christian, they carry most of the things you would expect to find. While they don’t have quite as many of the church supplies that Lifeway does, they do carry many of the same authors, music artists and other items.
Mardel is a Christian book store much more recently added to the shopping choices. Created in 1981, the store was founded by Mart Green. Christian shoppers may be aware of Green’s family as they are the founders of Hobby Lobby.
Green began the Mardel experiment in Oklahoma City, which is also the home of Hobby Lobby. Starting out with a small shop in the area, Mardel initially sold Bibles, books, office supplies, and other basics. Today, there are over 30 locations and the inventory has added jewelry, home decor,movies, and more to its list.
One of the biggest differences between Mardel and most other Christian book stores is that they also sell homeschool materials to families. Parents are homeschooling their children in record numbers, so this is a major resource.
This next store is a little different in that there is only one brick and mortar location. Opened in the 1950’s, Christian Supply’s roots are firmly planted in Spartanburg, SC.
Over the next few decades, the store relocated several times to bigger locations in better markets. Sixty years later, the store is still family-owned and operated in the same city. To increase their customer base, Christian Supply has embraced online retail for the last several years.
The online store carries all of the basics, but a few items make them different from your average Christian book store. First, you can order eBooks from all of the top authors. Secondly, Christian Supply sells a variety of church supplies that might otherwise be hard to find. Chairs, podiums, bulletins, and communion cups are just a few of the resources that are available in the online store.
Whether you’re an online shopper or a resident of Spartanburg, Christian Supply will try to meet your personal or church needs.
Christian Book Distributors
Also known as Christianbook.com, this store is headquartered in Peabody, Massachusetts. Primarily functioning as an online Christian book store, this company has a large catalog of books and resources for their customers.
Christian Book Distributors has a catalog that it mails out to millions of customers each year, but you don’t have to be on their mailing list to shop online. The good thing about online stores is that you usually don’t have to worry about the items you want selling out.
Similar to Christian Supply, the online store has a large catalog of church supplies and eBooks. They also have the homeschool materials that parents may be looking for as well as Spanish language books and resources.
Another distinction the store has is a toy section for kids. These items are good for kids and help point them in the right direction for later in life.
No matter what you are looking for, there’s a good chance that one of these stores has the Christian resources that you need. It can be hard to find new Christian books, music, and movies. Any Christian book store that is going to put you into contact with the materials to help your Christian walk is a plus.
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