Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI) and HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) 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.

“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. The tens of thousands of churches and many denominational organizations that have depended on UMI to provide published teaching resources for children, youth and adults will gain the benefit of greater access to the content created by Harper Collins Christian Publishing in new and innovative ways.  There are important authors waiting to be published, new voices and faces that the world has not seen or heard, and many people who remain to be reached. We are encouraged that we are starting our next fifty years in such a monumental way.”

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.”

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.