Lifeway Christian Resources

Methods change but the message does not.


Nashville, TN




Lifeway Christian Resources exists to honor God and serve churches by designing trustworthy experiences that fuel ministry.


Previous Solutions

Another corporate booking tool

Top Challenges

Low online adoption rate. Slow customer service.

Why AmTrav

AmTrav technology supports 95% online adoption. Lifeway+AmTrav cultural fit.

AmTrav Highlights

95% online adoption, 12% NDC fare savings.

The full story: How AmTrav supports Lifeway's travelers around the world


Robin Tenpenny remembers something that Lifeway Christian Resources’ CEO Ben Mandrell recently said to Lifeway staff: “Our message doesn’t change, but sometimes we have to change our method.”

The CEO was affirming Lifeway’s commitment to supporting the Christian church as church culture changes. But his comment also reflects much of the change that Robin has helped lead in her 27 years with Lifeway.

When Robin started, 130-year-old Lifeway was fully analog: Lifeway operated 170 bookstores until 2018 and ran conference centers in North Carolina and New Mexico, supported missionaries and sent staff on mission trips. Business attire was expected every day in the office – khakis on casual Fridays was a big change.

After a college job with American Eagle at the Nashville hub, Robin joined Lifeway to improve the travel program after challenges occurred when it was transitioned from an in-house team to an outside TMC.* “I was hired into Procurement, which was fantastic,” Robin says. “I didn’t realize how much travel and Procurement had in common, so it was very enlightening to learn from teammates.” Like many travel professionals she has taken on different responsibilities around Lifeway, from mail services to event planning to employee relocation.

Lifeway evolves

In the last 10 years, Robin says, Lifeway has evolved: “We refocused on our mission.” “We really focused on supporting the church, and the stores and conference centers were not part of that focus. God gave us the wisdom to close the bookstores before COVID!” Today Lifeway publishes and sells a wide array of Bibles and Christian books online, supports ministries and Bible studies with curriculums and resources, provides church supplies and services, and runs events and camps. Lifeway’s culture has changed too: “divisions” became “teams,” and Lifeway moved into a new unassigned office where not even management has offices. Lifeway’s leaders are approachable: “Our CEO will see me, say ‘I’ve got a question for you’ and I’ve learned that I can tell him whatever I think because he values everyone’s opinion.”

Through the COVID pandemic, Lifeway helped churches adjust in critical ways. Churches needed new ways to reach their members and collect offerings: “We pivoted to digital applications,” remembers Robin. “At that time there were churches that never thought about having software to collect contribution, they just passed the basket every Sunday, but all of a sudden they needed to collect contribution virtually.” Lifeway was there to help with software, from texting to video broadcasting, waiving the fees for churches that needed help. Even rituals like communion needed to adapt: “The communion cups were a big deal, they had to be pre-sealed so people didn't have to touch everything – they sold so fast that we couldn't keep them in stock.”

Why Lifeway travels

Of course, COVID interrupted Lifeway’s travel too. Travel is critical to Lifeway’s ability to gather, support and teach believers. Student summer camp workers drove hundreds of miles and flew hundreds of flights every year for camps, in addition to travel for Lifeway’s events, internal meetings and ordinary business travel.

While those camps, events and travel were mostly canceled in 2020, Robin sensed that the time was right to change Lifeway’s approach to managing travel. “Our previous  culture required traditional agency support,” Robin says. “But I remember telling my Director in 2020 or 2021: I think we're ready for this online booking concept now – we could save money doing this and our culture is ready for it.” Robin reached out to the experts at Goldspring Consulting for help with her TMC and OBT search, and AmTrav was one of the providers that Goldspring recommended.

Lifeway & AmTrav

Robin laughs when she remembers AmTrav’s RFP response and presentation: “AmTrav was so laid back, no fluff, just ‘this is what we do, this is how we do it.’” The RFP and presentation weren’t quite as polished as competitors’, but Robin says: “After hearing AmTrav’s presentation and interacting with the team, our group felt like we knew AmTrav – we said ‘We feel really good about this company.’”

Robin and her colleagues were right: “Our travelers love AmTrav.” “Anybody who had been with the previous booking tool struggled to book and often tried to bypass it,” Robin says. The numbers back up Lifeway’s success: online adoption rose from 70% with the previous provider to 95% with AmTrav, with a 95% high satisfaction rate from travelers. 

Robin Tenpenny with Lifeway

“Our travelers love AmTrav. Anybody who had been with the previous booking tool struggled to book and often tried to bypass it.”

Robin Tenpenny, Manager, Travel & Administrative Services


Coordinators switched from agent-assisted processes to AmTrav Gather, further increasing online adoption. “It took a bit of a mindset shift for coordinators planning our Trustees’ and non-employee travel, but they like the smoother process where they create a Gather meeting and invite travelers to book instead of filling out a form.” One thing that could be improved with Gather: making it easier for guest travelers to use unused tickets – AmTrav’s working on it.

As Robin predicted, Lifeway’s bottom line benefits too. Bookers apply unused tickets online with two clicks, saving Lifeway 6% on airfare in the last few months. Simplified per-trip pricing means that Lifeways travelers can count on AmTrav’s service at no extra charge. “I don't have to tell people ‘don’t call AmTrav because you'll pay more,’ instead I say ‘Sure, give them a call, chat them or email them.’” American Airlines is tied with Southwest Airlines as Lifeway’s biggest carrier, and since April 2023 Lifeway has saved 12% with access to American’s lowest fares through NDC. “I shared the email saying that AmTrav was ready for NDC with my management and said ‘I guess we made the right decision’ to go with AmTrav and we haven’t had any hitches.”

For Robin, even little things like locating a booking or data are easy: “I never have trouble finding an itinerary, compared to our old TMC where I had to ask for it and it cost us.” With a new staffer on her team, Robin’s looking forward to having more time to optimize Lifeway’s program with AmTrav’s reports and data.

Lifeway & AmTrav by the Numbers


Online Adoption compared to 70%


Savings with American Airlines


Traveler Satisfaction


What’s next

What’s next for Lifeway? Lifeway’s CEO says: “Lifeway is on the move internationally, because God is on the move internationally.” Which for Robin means even more travel responsibility: helping Lifeway’s buyers, authors and speakers safely travel around the world, on top of helping thousands of travelers in the United States, from camp workers, salespeople, event facilitators to Trustees – all supported by AmTrav. 

*Yes, Robin remembers when airline commissions were cut in the mid-‘90s, including explaining to an incredulous Vice President why Lifeway now had to pay for TMC services.