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'True Love Waits' Cofounder Jimmy Hester to Retire Sept. 30

9/19/11 4:00 PM

Contact: Don Beehler, 615-566-0776,

NASHVILLE, Sept. 19, 2011 -- On September 30 Jimmy Hester, cofounder of True Love Waits, will retire from LifeWay Christian Resources. During his 26 years with LifeWay, he spearheaded True Love Waits' transition from an idea for a sex education campaign to an international movement that challenges young people to make a commitment to sexual abstinence until marriage.

Nearly 20 years ago Hester and Richard Ross, who at the time were family and youth ministry specialists with LifeWay, used a napkin to sketch out the concept for a movement that today is worldwide in scope.

"God has truly blessed our efforts in challenging students to make a commitment to sexual abstinence until marriage," Hester said. "While the look and tone of True Love Waits has changed over the past 18 years, God's intent for sexual behavior remains the same and continues to be important for students today."

In the U.S. alone, approximately 3 million youth have signed True Love Waits commitment cards at LifeWay events, pledging sexual purity until their wedding day. Another 1.1 million commitments have been documented in Africa, and hundreds of thousands of commitment cards from youth throughout the world have been displayed at several events, including the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Currently more than one hundred organizations use True Love Waits to promote sexual abstinence, in large part because they have seen how well the campaign works and the potential it has to reverse negative trends in communities.

Within a few years after it was introduced, True Love Waits had drawn the attention of hundreds of national and international news media, including "The Today Show," Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Teen Magazine, Family Circle, Life Magazine, "Nightline" and "The Phil Donohue Show," as well as numerous newspapers and radio stations.

From the first True Love Waits national celebration in July 1994 -- when more than 210,000 covenant cards were displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. -- to its explosive growth in Africa, the Philippines and many other parts of the world, Hester has seen God work in remarkable ways as scores of young people have taken a counter-cultural stand to embrace biblical purity.

Through the end of September, he will be available for media interviews to discuss what has transpired in the nearly two decades since True Love Waits was launched, and to explain where the movement is headed. To arrange an interview, call 615.566.0776 or e-mail

For more information about True Love Waits, visit

LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention is one of the world's largest providers of Christian products and services, including Christian music, gifts, Bibles, books, DVDs, children's products, church supplies and Internet services through Established in Nashville, Tenn., in 1891, the non-profit company owns and operates 165 LifeWay Christian Stores throughout the United States as well as two of the largest Christian conference centers in the country.

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