01 February

Urban Ministries, Inc. and HarperCollins Christian Publishing together launch online platform, UrbanFaithStudy.com

Platform to feature prominent black pastors like Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III

(Nashville, Tenn.) February 1, 2022—Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI) and HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) today announced the launch of UrbanFaithStudy.com a subscription-based digital platform offering churches and individuals a regularly expanding library of more than 100 video sermons and study curricula from well-known African American Christian voices. UrbanFaithStudy.com is a co-launched consumer-direct product created by UMI and HCCP, a result of the partnership the organizations announced in November 2020. UrbanFaithStudy.com will be an extension of UrbanFaith, a contemporary and socially engaged community and brand, targeting African American young adults committed to growing in their knowledge of biblical truth.

UrbanFaithStudy.com will offer culturally relevant, topical sermons delivered by pastors such as Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III; Dr. Dominique Robinson; and husband and wife team Pastor Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes and Pastor Andrew Wilkes. Bishop Walker is the International Presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship and pastor of the historic 30,000-member Mount Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, TN. Dr. Robinson is a religious scholar, theological educator, preacher, writer, activist, and advocate, who serves as an assistant professor of preaching at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX. Her sermon “iHomiletic™: Preaching that Clicks,” has been used to assist faith leaders across the U.S. with developing impactful ministry methodologies that employ technology and social media linguistics.[1] HBCU and Ivy League–educated pastors Gabby Cudjoe-Wilkes and Andrew Wilkes co-founded the Double Love Experience Church in Brooklyn, NY, which is a growing congregation of believers committed to the liberating, love-powered ministry of Jesus.

“I am pleased to see this robust and unique platform featuring strong voices and transformative messages by African American pastors and authors,” remarked Jeff Wright, CEO of UMI. “I know it will be a blessing to many people.”

UrbanFaithStudy.com will also launch with book study curricula for readers who are looking for deeper engagement and group study content that engage the church with culturally relevant topics. These curricula are by well-known African American voices including New York Times bestselling author Jemar Tisby; beloved author and speaker Crystal Evans Hurst; Grammy Award-winning artist, Lecrae; and Bible teacher, pastor, and author, Jada Anae Edwards.

“When teaming up with UMI more than a year ago, we knew creating a video platform to host engaging, life-changing biblical content would showcase both organizations’ ability to reach new audiences,” said Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. “The church is evolving; becoming more dependent on technology to deliver sermons, Bible studies, and other curricula.  When designing UrbanFaithStudy.com we used our strengths to achieve more than we could if we had each approached the project separately.”

UrbanFaithStudy.com will serve a range of consumers including church congregations, divinity students, young preachers, and individuals seeking to understand how faith informs cultural engagement. The monthly subscription is $5.95 for individuals and $19.95 for churches. To subscribe, visit UrbanFaithStudy.com.

UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.) is the largest independent religious media and publishing company serving the African American market. Founded in 1970 in Chicago, IL., by Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr., UMI creates positive, transformative analog and digital content based on a biblical worldview that is especially empowering to the African American community. UMI offices are in suburban Chicago. UMI exists to disseminate culture changing, biblically sound content and has tremendous credibility in producing high quality material reaching millions of people throughout the globe.

About HarperCollins Christian Publishing: The world’s leading Christian publisher, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. comprises the Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and HarperChristian Resources publishing groups and imprint, BibleGateway.com, FaithGateway.com, StudyGateway.com and ChurchSource.com. The Company produces bestselling Bibles, inspirational books, academic resources, curriculum audio and digital content for the Christian market space. Bible Gateway is the world’s largest Christian website with more than 20 million unique visitors each month. HarperCollins Christian Publishing is headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. with additional offices in the U.S. and Mexico. For more information visit www.HarperCollinsChristian.com.​


[1] https://ssw.edu/about-southwest/faculty/dominique-robinson/

07 January

Crystal Hardison named director of partner relationships for HarperCollins Christian Publishing

Hardison to lead HCCP’s partnership with Urban Ministries Inc.

Nashville, Tenn. (January 7, 2021)—HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) today announced Crystal Hardison as the director of partner relationships, specifically stewarding the organization’s partnership with Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI).

As director of partner relationships Hardison will steward and maximize the HCCP and UMI partnership by serving as the key liaison between the two companies. She will work with all publishing imprints within HCCP to identify and leverage existing content that serves the UMI core audience, as well as identify new voices to acquire.  

“The partnership between HCCP and UMI is paramount to our work in acquiring and elevating African American voices,” remarked Doug Lockhart, senior v-p, marketing and new initiatives. “Crystal’s track record of building and maintaining strong partnerships make her the perfect person to steward our relationship with UMI, and I look forward to its development under her leadership.”

Hardison joins HCCP with eighteen years of experience in developing and maintaining partnerships in both commercial and not-for profit industries. She specializes in developing strategic partnerships for organizations to advance their mission and values while expanding their reach into new communities and business channels.

HarperCollins Christian Publishing

About HarperCollins Christian Publishing: The world’s leading Christian publisher, HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc., comprises the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan publishing groups, BibleGateway.com, FaithGateway.com and ChurchSource.com.  The Company produces bestselling Bibles, inspirational books, academic resources, curriculum, audio and digital content for the Christian market space. HarperCollins Christian Publishing is headquartered in Nashville, TN with additional offices in the U.S. and Mexico.  For more information visit www.HarperCollinsChristian.com.  

Contact:    Chelsea Taff, Assistant Manager

                  Corporate Communications

                  tel:     615.902.2137

                  web:   [email protected]

17 November

HarperCollins Christian Publishing and Urban Ministries Inc. announce new partnership

(Nashville, Tenn.) November 17, 2020—HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) and Urban Ministries Incorporated (UMI) today announced a partnership for two of the most well-known organizations in the Christian publishing industry. The two companies have entered a co-publication and co-distribution partnership that will collectively expand resources into new and existing markets. Through this partnership, UMI will help HCCP identify, publish and promote prominent and emerging voices; and distribute more resources, relevant to UMI’s loyal customer-base of African American, and African churches, denominations, and consumers.  Together, the companies will form new connections with ministry organizations, churches, and Christian readers who engage with the Bible and study God’s Word.

UMI is one of the nation’s oldest and most well-known Christian resource providers to the African American church, serving more than 40,000 churches over its fifty-year history with books, curriculum, small group study resources and Vacation Bible School products. HCCP is the world’s largest Christian book and Bible publisher, comprising the Thomas Nelson and Zondervan publishing groups. With nearly 300 years of publishing multiple book genres, Bible translations, curriculum-based resources, and online communities selling content in a variety of formats, HCCP has the largest global distribution network for faith-based materials.

“We are very excited to begin our work with the UMI team,” said Mark Schoenwald, president and CEO of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. “We have been working together for more than a year on what would be the best way for the two companies to utilize our respective strengths to impact our companies’ missions. UMI has established trusted relationships with church denominations that HCCP has historically underserved. Under this partnership, we know that our books, Bibles, and curriculum will further resonate with the African American community and it is a privilege to partner with UMI to place our God-honoring, bestselling content into the hands of thousands of church congregants across the U.S. Together, we will surpass any milestone that either organization could accomplish separately. We are excited to learn from one another and build something that will have an eternal impact.” 

“HarperCollins Christian Publishing is going to be a great partner for UMI, and we are excited to get to work,” said Jeff Wright, CEO of UMI. “Last month, UMI was fortunate to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, and this agreement signals our dedication to the future.  UMI has a desire to collaborate with companies that share our commitment to the African and African American audience and we want to be a conduit for God’s Word in our community. The resources in HarperCollins Christian Publishing’s catalog provide opportunities for personal growth, biblical study for churches and small-groups, values-based children’s books and Bibles, and so much more that our church and ministry partners will value and utilize. We are encouraged that we are starting our next fifty years in such a monumental way.”

UMI and HCCP are working on multiple integrated projects to kickstart the two-year agreement. In July 2020, the companies created and distributed a contextualized “mag-alog,” to more than 10,000 African American churches and church leaders to showcase books and Bibles published by HCCP that appeal to a more culturally-diverse audience, including an excerpt from Grammy-award winning Christian hip-hop artist and author Lecrae’s most recent book, I Am Restored (Zondervan, October 2020). Customers are able to order any of these resources directly from UMI. As the partnership continues to unfold, the two companies will release new resources into the market.

UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.) is the largest independent religious media and publishing company serving the African American market. Founded in 1970 in Chicago, IL., by Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr., UMI creates positive, transformative analog and digital content based on a biblical worldview that is especially empowering to the African American community. UMI offices are in suburban Chicago. UMI exists to disseminate culture changing, biblically sound content and has tremendous credibility in producing high quality material reaching millions of people throughout the globe.

About HarperCollins Christian Publishing: The world’s leading Christian publisher, HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc., comprises both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan publishing groups.  The Company produces bestselling Bibles, inspirational books, academic resources, curriculum, audio and digital content for the Christian market space.  Also, home to BibleGateway.com, the world’s largest Christian website, FaithGateway.com, StudyGateway.com and ChurchSource.com, online communities dedicated to helping people grow in their faith. HarperCollins Christian Publishing is headquartered in Nashville, TN with additional offices in the U.S. and Mexico.  For more information visit www.HarperCollinsChristian.com.  

Contact:   Casey Harrell

                 Senior Director, Corporate Communications

                 tel:   615.902.1109

                 web: [email protected]