Contact: Diane Morrow –

Colorado Springs – The International Christian Retail Show June 23-26 in St. Louis will launch several new initiatives, including two major outreaches, one by pastor and author Max Lucado and one by beloved evangelist Billy Graham.

The projects still being finalized are expected to include a massive outreach for faith and evangelism. Christian stores are expected to have opportunities to participate in the initiatives.

Special exhibits will show how Christian stores – born from a heart of ministry – are extending that role even more through fair trade and missional resources.

“Christian stores are all about mission and service, and these new approaches to ministry help impoverished people escape social ills, trafficking, and slavery through economic development,” said Curtis Riskey, CBA president. “As consumers increasingly make patronage decisions based on what the store is about and what it supports, Christian stores are expanding their ministry efforts in local communities and around the globe.”

Several projects will take a new look at the role of brick-and-mortar stores in a digital world, and how stores offer a sense of place where community happens. Physical stores remain the number one way readers learn about new titles and serve a critical role in bringing new works and resources to readers, according to Bowker Market Research.

A special Lifestyle Stories exhibit will present information about Christian consumers, including how the retail environment reflects how they live through visual design. This high-impact presentation will focus on lifestyles of core Christian-store customers, including young families, women, children, and men.

A new Authors Avenue area will help media and retailers connect face-to-face with established authors and new voices to see latest works – reinforcing ICRS’s role as a launchpad for new Christian voices.

The ICRS Film Showcase will highlight new and upcoming Christian film and DVD releases, and present supporting information on the growth of Christian media both economically and in telling the story of Christian values and worldview in contemporary ways. Nearly 70% of Americans self-identify as Christians, yet general media supports a culture that is increasingly hostile to Christians and Christianity.

A Movieguide study found that films with family values, faith content, and pro-American themes earned almost five times as much money at the box office as films with opposing themes. The research also showed films with more conservative values do better in international markets.

About 69% of active Christians are married, compared to 50% of general consumers, and 47% of active Christians have children at home, according to CBA-commissioned research with Bowker Market Research, Know Thy Customer. Christians are educated, with 34% of active Christians having graduated college, which is a higher rate than the general population at about 28%.

“Christian media has a great opportunity and responsibility in reflecting the values of faith and the spiritual dimensions of people,” Riskey said. “We want to highlight film media as a critical tool in communicating what Christianity is really about.”

ICRS provides more than four football fields of exhibits, including Christian entertainment, scholarly works, gift and lifestyle products, church supplies, and more. It is one of the largest gatherings of Christian leaders, and the largest gathering of Christian-resources producers.

Several special areas will reflect Christian lifestyles and values, including:

Lifestyle Stories

  • An exhibit showing five Christian-customer personae to highlight how lifestyle merchandising contributes to store environment and enhancing customer experience that can’t be duplicated online.

Author Avenue

  • A special book-signing area for retailers and media to connect with established and new authors, Author Avenue highlights new titles, topics, and voices.

Ministry in Action

  • The International Christian Retail Show gives back to local host communities through a ministry project. This project will help a St. Louis ministry or service agency center with support for clients.

Fair Trade in Action

  • Take a walking journey through this section to learn what fair trade is all about and how missional products contribute to economic development in countries where people can be victims of slavery, sex-trafficking, and addictions without the wherewithal that enables self-reliance. Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen’s research reveals that human freedom is directly related to economic development.

Church Store Connection Center

  • Churches that operate stores or are thinking of starting stores to support church ministries and programs can find help here. The center offers workshops, networking, and peer-to-peer helps to make church stores successful.

Catholic Connection Center

  • Nearly 500 Christian-store buyers at the International Christian Retail Show say they serve the Catholic community and provide resources for Catholics. This connection center offers insights into the Catholic consumer along with workshops, resources, and other support. A growing number of Catholic-store retailers attend ICRS.

You can follow ICRS on Twitter and Facebook.

International Christian Retail Show
This annual summer event brings together Christian store independents, chains, and franchises to meet with their trading partners, leading Christian publishers, music companies, film and DVD producers and distributors, gift and lifestyle companies, and church supply companies. ICRS attracts leading pastors, authors, musicians, artisans, worship leaders, and others active in creating, producing and distributing Christian resources and lifestyle materials.

CBA, the Association for Christian Retail

CBA is the leading association for providers of Christian products to reach all people. It supplies vital connections, information, education and encouragement to Christian resource providers.