Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes here at Lifeway Women? From Bible study tapings, simulcasts, traveling for live events, leadership training, podcasts, webinars, social media, and so much more, a lot happens that goes unseen.
We’re “pulling back the curtain” on all things Lifeway Women and giving you a look at what we do to make it all happen.
This month, we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the Journey Quarterly Magazine.
Tell us a little bit about the heart behind Journey Magazine. How did it get started?
Several people at Lifeway saw the need to do more to minister to women. Selma Wilson began doing some research with churches to discover exactly what resources might be needed. According to Selma, it was eye-opening. The need was so great. There were so few Christian resources at that time geared toward women and helping them in their spiritual growth. In September 1993, Selma brought in a group of women to Lifeway to pray and think about ministry to women in a more focused way. This was the start of Lifeway Women.
Part of the research being done led the team to develop a relationship with Walk Thru the Bible. As a result of this partner, Lifeway launched our first resource for women in April 1994, a devotional magazine, Journey. The title came after much prayer and brainstorming with women, and it stuck!
The heart behind Journey is to encourage Christian women to walk with God through life. Part of that journey is to spend time each day reading God’s Word and praying to Him. Those who initially worked on Journey and those who work on it today desire the same thing—that women have a more intimate and personal relationship with Jesus. We want to see women grow closer to Him every day.
What goes into selecting content for each quarterly devotion?
We created a three-year plan when we moved to quarterly devotions. One of our goals is to dive a little deeper into a specific attribute of God each quarter and focus on walking with God and walking in His Word. We hope women will prayerfully consider their relationship with the Lord and their relationships with others as they spend time reading the devotions each morning. Another goal is to ensure we include devotions from all sixty-six books of the Bible over about a three-year period. We want to make sure women are reflecting upon the whole of Scripture and not only the Psalms or other books of the Bible that lend themselves to devotional material.
What does the process look like for each devotion?
We have an incredible group of over one hundred writers who contribute to Journey. These writers are from all stages and seasons of life—a remarkably diverse group spanning generations. Sometimes writers are asked to write based on a specific verse, book of the Bible, or topic, and at other times, the writers get to pick the verse and simply write from what God is teaching them. Each devotion includes a focal verse, the devotional content, a prayer prompt for women to begin their prayer time, and a deeper walk passage or verse for further Bible reading. We want women to read their Bibles for knowledge and information, but we also want them to be molded and changed by what they read. We spend a lot of time in prayer before placing the devotions on specific days. We trust the Holy Spirit to speak to women and guide their readings, reflections, and prayers each day. More than anything we want women to grow in their love and relationships with Jesus. Truly, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. We could never prepare, plan, or predict how God may use a specific devotion on a specific day to meet the specific needs of women. It is amazing when someone writes in about a specific devotion on a certain day and we get to give God all the glory!
Is there a memorable comment from a customer you would like to share?
I have a lot of memorable moments from my friends who read Journey! I call them friends because our whole team considers them our people. We love our Journey readers! There is something special knowing you are reading the same verses of Scripture each day, spending time in prayer together, and reflecting on what God has done, what He is doing, and how we can move forward in faith. One of the sweetest memories I have (and that we had this reader write about to include in an issue of Journey) was from a reader after her mom had passed away. For years she and her mom read Journey even though they lived in separate places. She said they would talk regularly about what God was teaching them through their devotional reading, Scripture reading, and prayer. Anyway, when her mom passed away, the daughter went to take care of things at her mom’s home. She found boxes of Journey devotional magazines, but the best part was that her mom had highlighted, circled, underlined, starred, and made notes all through them. She said it was like finding a hidden box of her mom’s journals. She sat down and read how the Lord had worked in her mom’s life, how she prayed for specific people, and how her mom loved the Lord. It is such a sweet story of the Lord’s faithfulness to this mother and her daughter. This daughter inspired us to add journal pages in Journey as we transitioned from monthly to quarterly.
What is something that might surprise people about Journey?
In thirty years, we have never repeated a devotion. Every single one is new and for that day. If you multiply those thirty years by 365 days for each year, that means there are about eleven thousand unique devotions that have been written for Journey! For me, this makes Journey devotionals classics—they are for the specific time when they were written but also can stand the test of time because of their foundation in God’s Word. There has been a consistent desire to guide women to God’s Word and prayer for those thirty years. Our team treasures biblical truth, and trustworthy content is a staple at Lifeway—and with Journey. We believe in the power of God’s Word to change the world. I think that consistency over thirty years may be surprising for many people with all the changes in the culture and church practices during that same period.
What do you hope women take away from each devotion?
My prayer is that women will read a devotion quietly and slowly. I want each word to seep into her heart in addition to her mind. I want the truth of Scripture to flow into the deep recesses of her soul and for the Holy Spirit to imprint the truth of God upon her heart. I want the reading of Scripture, devotional content, and prayer to transform her life in such a way that as a disciple of Jesus she will look and live more like Him.
Michelle Hicks is the managing editor for Journey devotional magazine with Lifeway Women. Michelle served as a freelance writer, campus minister, and corporate chaplain before coming to Lifeway. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Michelle has a deep hunger for God’s Word and wants others to discover the abundant life they can have with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.