The Baptist Missionary Association of America (BMAA), is consolidating operations at Lifeword Media Ministries’ international headquarters on Locust Street.
Lifeword Media Ministries, an international radio, television and Internet gospel programming producer, is planning an extensive makeover to their international headquarters to make room for the BMAA, an association that originated from a split from the American Baptist Association for the purpose of Christian education and missions.
Lifeword is one of four departments of the BMAA. The BMAA consists of approximately 1,300 churches, more than 230,000 members and has 702 active missionaries working nationally and internationally.
The BMA hopes to save money by consolidating operations in Conway, said Steve Crawley, Lifeword executive director.
“A major advantage of multiple departments sharing one campus is a significant reduction in fixed costs for each,” he said. “Moreover, the departments that are relocating will be able to liquidate existing properties and use the capital to strengthen their financial positions.”
Traditionally, each department has operated unilaterally with separate visions, Crawley said, but the department directors have a vision for there to be a greater level of cooperation among the organizations with regard to strategic planning.
“The primary reason the executive directors desire to bring the departments together, both physically and strategically, is that we can be more effective if we operate with a unified vision,” he said.
At the 2013 national meeting in Norman, Okla., BMAA churches voted in favor of a proposal that will integrate the operations of Lifeword and the BMA Missions Department, currently located in Little Rock, to Lifeword’s international headquarters in Conway.
The board of DiscipleGuide Church Resources, another BMA department located in Texarkana, is offering a recommendation at the 2014 national meeting to relocate their operations to Conway as well.
“There will be adequate space in the new facility to include DiscipleGuide’s staff, should this recommendation be accepted,” Crawley said.
Crawley said the development review plan calls for a redesign of the front architecture of the main office complex that will combine the look of Old Conway with a modern, contemporary scheme.
In addition to redesigning the front of the facility, there will be an addition of approximately 5,000 square feet used for offices and meeting rooms.
“We also plan to structurally modify the historic white house on the campus, taking it back closer to its original state,” Crawley said.
An “older, dilapidated” house on the back of the property will be demolished. Lifeword also plans to modify the parking lot to include more landscaping.
Once complete, the facility will house 36 offices and a number of meeting rooms, bringing the total square feet to approximately 23,000. The building currently contains a state-of-the-art recording studio and extensive video production capabilities, Crawley said.
A timeline has been established for the project, Crawley said, and he hopes it will be complete by August of 2014.
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