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Large Layoffs at Two Colorado Springs Ministries

Focus on the Family makes digital shift, while NavPress partners with Tyndale.
Large Layoffs at Two Colorado Springs MinistriesHouse of Hall/Flickr
Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO

Two high-profile Colorado Springs ministries will be cinching their budgetary belts a little tighter this fiscal year. Unfortunately for employees, the result is a dramatic reduction of staff.

According to The Gazette, Focus on the Family will cut 40 current positions in response to a $3 million budget deficit as well as a "restructuring" process emphasizing tech and digital operations. Focus will add 11 jobs in those departments.

"The restructuring leaves Focus with about 640 employees, or less than half of the 1,400 it employed at its peak in 2002," notes The Gazette.

Meanwhile, NavPress—the publishing arm of The Navigators—told The Gazette it will lay off at least 75 percent of its 29 staff members.

The news comes shortly after NavPress and Tyndale announced a new "publishing alliance to grow the influence and impact of the well-established and respected NavPress brand." The joint press release (copied in full below) notes:

Tyndale is coming alongside NavPress to bring efficiencies of scale to the publishing process including manufacturing, warehousing, selling, marketing and fulfillment. The larger scale of operations will benefit both companies during this continued time of change and consolidation in the publishing industry.

Publishers Weekly notes Tyndale has long had a similar partnership with Focus on the Family.

CT noted previous rounds of layoffs at both Focus and NavPress.

CT reported in 2008 that Focus would eliminate 202 positions and dissolve four of its print publications into online-only magazines. A year later, CT reported that Focus's budget had dropped even further, down "from $160 million in 2008 to $139 million in 2009 while its workforce went from 1,400 in 2002 to 860 in 2009."

Similar cuts at NavPress date back into the 1990s, when the organization laid off 11 employees. It later closed two magazines and laid off nine employees in 2009.

Other publishing houses—including Zondervan, which owns and publishes the New International Version (NIV) Bible—have also reorganized in recent years. In 20011, HarperCollins, which has owned Zondervan since 1988, bought up Thomas Nelson. As a result, HarperCollins controls 50 percent of the Christian publishing market.

CT has examined the success of evangelical publishing, and offers "an insider's look at how Christian books are agented, acquired, packaged, branded, and sold."

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Full NavPress-Tyndale press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tyndale House Publishers to Enter Publishing Alliance with NavPress
Carol Stream, Ill. and Colorado Spring, Colo. (9/11/2013//10:00 a.m. CTD) - Tyndale House Publishers (@tyndalehouse), Inc. and NavPress, a division of The Navigators, jointly announced today that they have entered into a publishing alliance to grow the influence and impact of the well-established and respected NavPress brand. Plans are underway to increase the global distribution of the NavPress backlist and expand the opportunities for new NavPress books and Bibles to be published next season and in the years to come.
NavPress will continue to operate as the fully owned publishing arm of The Navigators, a worldwide ministry headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Tyndale is coming alongside NavPress to bring efficiencies of scale to the publishing process including manufacturing, warehousing, selling, marketing and fulfillment. The larger scale of operations will benefit both companies during this continued time of change and consolidation in the publishing industry.
Charlie Dokmo, The Navigators chief of staff and interim CEO of NavPress, commented, "I am excited about the alliance with Tyndale. This new publishing arrangement will allow the NavPress team to focus on what we do best, which is acquiring and developing new content—the heart and the future of every publisher. At the same time, this alliance will increase the opportunity for our authors to maximize their impact in the marketplace considering Tyndale's well regarded marketing prowess, sales talent and operating platform. Most importantly, The Navigators is delighted to be engaging in God's work with Tyndale and its rich heritage of 'ministering to the spiritual needs of people.'"
Jerry Bridges, author of The Pursuit of Holiness notes, "Tyndale has a long historic commitment to minister to the spiritual needs of people through publishing. This passion will energize the vital NavPress mission of producing discipleship materials that can help believers in every stage of their walk with Christ."
Doug Knox, SVP and Group Publisher for Tyndale House Publishers, is enthusiastic about the new alliance. "Tyndale and NavPress share a common mission, with product lines that are more complementary than competitive," he said. Working together we can leverage each other's strengths to accomplish better stewardship of our individual resources. We are eager to begin building on the strong presence NavPress enjoys in books, Bible studies and ministry resources that help people grow deeper in their faith. Since the Bible is at heart of everything we do at Tyndale, we are looking forward to expanding on the phenomenal worldwide impact of The Message. The need and the opportunity for The Message are just as great now as when it was first published more than 20 years ago."
"For more than 50 years, Tyndale has been helping people engage with the Bible in very creative ways," said Rick Christian, president of Alive Communications and long-time literary agent for Eugene Peterson, translator of The Message. "Eugene and I couldn't be more pleased that NavPress is joining forces with Tyndale to ensure The Message reaches a broader audience and impacts the next generation for the Kingdom."
The three-month, two-round search for the best commercialization alliance partner for NavPress, resulting in the selection of Tyndale House Publishers, was conducted by Don Gates of The Gates Group based in Louisville, Kentucky.
For the time being, it will be business as usual for retail, church, and individual customers of NavPress. All orders will be placed with and shipped by NavPress until further notice. Orders can be placed through www.NavPress.com, or by calling your NavPress representative. For additional information about orders or returns please call 1-800-366-7788 for NavPress customer service. Other inquiries for NavPress may be directed to spokesperson Mike Smith at (719) 594-2251 or mike.smith@navigators.org.
The Tyndale sales and marketing team will begin pre-selling the NavPress 2014 summer list to the trade in November 2013. Sales-related inquiries for Tyndale may be directed to Nick Sharkey at (630) 784-5464 or nicksharkey@tyndale.com.
Posted:September 12, 2013 at 12:17PM
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Large Layoffs at Two Colorado Springs Ministries