LifeWay Sunday School Material Stinks!

Feminized Coffee

Feminized Coffee

Well, at least the recent package they sent to me advertising Sunday School stuff does.  I suppose their target group is people who like instant feminized Hazelnut coffee.  Their marketing scheme is built around a cup of coffee and they included a little card that is supposed to smell like the aroma of coffee.  It simply makes me want to hurl.

Since opening the package in my office, I’ve washed my hands multiple times and showered a few times, and took my trash out.  I can’t get the smell off my hands.  I cannot get the smell out of my office.

Needless to say, I am NOT more likely to purchase their latest Sunday School offerings.  I don’t want our Sunday School classes to smell like this.  Now, maybe if they had used a Starbucks Italian Roast . . .

Author: Bret Capranica

I am married to Kelly ( and Pastor-Teacher of Summit Woods Baptist Church, Lee's Summmit, MO (

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  • Glenn Leatherman

    Don't you see more and more the insignificance of Lifeway Sunday School Material as time goes on? I see more and more churches encouraging their teachers to develop their own material. Pre-package Sunday School material is nortoriously weak because they are trying to appease the lowest common/popular denominator. This makes them create lessons themes that are not related to the point of the passages that they want you to teach.

    • Bret Capranica

      Well, my post really wasn't about the content of LifeWay's material. However, I do struggle with their material at times. Some of our classes still enjoy using it. Whether they use it or not, we teach our teachers how to study the Scriptures inductively and conduct a dialogue teaching lesson, and how they can most effectively use pre-packaged literature. We do want to emphasize the Bible more than we do the literature.

      But, friend, did you get that yucky smelling package? If you see it in your mail – DO NOT OPEN IT. It will drive you from your office. I'm still sneezing.

  • Kara

    You know that Starbucks makes instant coffee now too. I was fortunate enough to receive a sample of some in the mail…minus the low-quality SS material.

  • Bret Capranica

    WHAT! That is devastating news. The economy must have caused them to abandon quality. What a shame.

  • Dan Kassis

    1. I know the person who helped to develop that marketing package & I'm sure he'll be interested to read your comments.

    2. I've actually tried Starbucks' Via instant coffee – both the Colombian and the Italian roasts. They are amazingly good. Don't knock it till you try it. And I am a self-professed coffee snob who would not normally drink instant.

    • Bret Capranica

      Dan, thanks for the note.  LifeWay does some great marketing, but sorry, this just simply wasn’t one of them (IMHO).  In fact, I brought home a one of the enclosed booklets, and the smell. . . well, I think I’ve already covered that.  I’m looking forward to the book, but I’ve got a clothes pin handy.

      I will try and address my coffee snobbery – that may make for a good post.

      Thanks for dropping by.

  • David Francis

    Hope you won't think my little book that came in the package stinks! Seriously, I'd be interested in knowing what you think. If you did throw it away because you just couldn't stand the smell, you can download a copy free at

  • Bret Capranica

    David, in fact, I did keep the booklet, because I AM interested in reading it, and hopefully making some use of it.  It just simply has this aroma . . .  well, as Paul would say, that is “from death to death.”  Thanks for the link – I may just in fact download the aroma free version.

    • David Francis

      Great! There is also an .mp3 of the book if you'd rather listen. I think my voice stinks, but guess lots of people think that about themselves! Here's the direct link for the downloads: http://tiny.X4ZGJ.

      • Bret Capranica

        Thanks David.  I may just put that mp3 on m iPhone and listen to it while at the gym today.  Now, I am quite sure that your voice does not stink.  If it does happen to electronically emit an odor even similar to that of the pseudo-coffee stuff, I will bow in honor of LifeWay’s technological marketing greatness, and then quickly sterilize my iPhone. 

        • Vangyblue

          Always purell my phone. LOL…. ew, too many germs collect there from touching everything.

  • Tommy Vowell

    I must say I also received the packet with the smell. I could smell it before I opened it and afterwards, I wished I hadn't. The smell circulated my office and caused me to have a headache (Or maybe the headache was from that morning's staff meeting?). So, I wrote LifeWay and complained. Then, I read the connect3 booklet and realized I made an error — not in complaining about the smell, but by judging the packet a waste of money! That booklet has more practical stuff in it that I went ahead and ordered 45 for our entire Sunday School teaching staff! I think I've read the booklet 2 1/2 times, underlined it, highlighted it, and realized it was more of a treasure than I originally gave it credit for…with or without the smell, most of us would benefit greately by keeping this book and many copies of it on our bookselves to give it away to as many people as possible!

  • Bret Capranica

    Tommy, I've found some good things as well in the booklet. I prefer the pdf copy – it smells MUCH better.

    Thanks for the comment and for stopping by,

    Bret Capranica

  • Vangyblue

    My parents small church church (class teachers, and the deacons) send Lifeway Material back to them, with letters in protest of some of their material. Even quarterly sunday school books. They seemed to shape up in some of the long running courses such as the Through the Bible one. That is the one where they bounce between OT and NT each quarter. If they see a lady writing a lesson, or there is weird theologian information in them, they mark it up and send it back to them with letters. Lifeway really seems to take those comments to heart. At least from that series. That is good. They stay vigilant in that effort and try to keep Lifeway in check. My parents even said they have heard other churches in their area do the same thing. Lifeway doesnt like losing money and customers.

  • Weston

    Well, I’m glad that my packette got lost this time. I only use it as a general guide, and do a good bit of outside study and thought. But I am new and enthusiastic about Bible teaching. By the way Starbucks is for people who know nothing about coffee and have the taste buds of a goat. It is way overcooked. Back to the packette, I like the maps and other posters, and I stay with the teachers guide, but amplify it a lot.