CBA was formed in 1950 during a time of peace after WWII that saw a boom in evangelistic zeal.
CBA established a three-fold purpose statement:
- To encourage wide distribution of Christian Bibles, literature and supplies
- To offer members practical merchandising assistance and marketing aid
- To be a liaison among members to promote cooperation and understanding between groups
Through seven decades, CBA has supported the ups and downs of the Christian products industry through offering industry gatherings, educational publications, product reviews, trends analysis, legislative advocacy, operational advice and more.
1950s: The need was recognized for a common understanding in the Christian products industry. CBA was established so suppliers and retailers could network and work together.
1960s: Young Christian stores were growing. CBA offered training and resources such as seminars, directories and industry meetings.
1970s: Christian store numbers doubled in the wake of catalysts including The Jesus Movement and Contemporary Christian Music. CBA served the growing network with activities such as an exhibit caravan that took the products on the road to various cities.
1980s: Christian products became lifestyle products (people wanted them for themselves instead of just church leaders). CBA saw the direction the marketplace was headed and helped stores adopt POS systems, even when they were expensive and received much skepticism.
1990s: Christian publishing and selling experienced a heyday with titles such as Left Behind, Prayer of Jabez and The Purpose-Driven Life. CBA understood that the industry must work together or succumb to challenges from general market pressures.
2000s: The Internet changed business models, and stores found it difficult to compete without an online presence. CBA drove innovation for affordable third-party services to get retailers online and helped the industry adapt to new realities such as digital music. CBA-led development of new supply chain standards increased operational efficiencies, and pioneering marketing research changed how retailers came to market.
2010s: CBA continues to lead the industry through changes. The association championed major initiatives that increased sales and delivered ministry support to Haiti and sent millions of Bibles to soldiers in the Middle East. We drove initiatives to develop e-book solutions during the rise of digital content. CBA also launched a strategic partnership, bringing quality products exclusively to CBA members in order to increase competitive advantage for the Christian products marketplace.