Family Christian Stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The ministry assured customers that it “does not expect” to close any of its more than 250 stores or lay off any of its approximately 4,000 employees.

With 266 stores in 36 states, FCS is the nation’s largest chain of Christian stores as measured by locations, not sales. (For comparison, LifeWay Christian Resources has 185 stores in 29 states.)

Map of Family Christian Stores Locations in Los Angeles, CA

 In a video message to customers, Bengochea named the recession, the digital revolution, and the company’s debt load as factors leading to FCS’s bankruptcy. FCS has no plans to ditch “brick and mortar” stores for an online-only presence. “Some could say that ‘brick and mortar’ retail is not relevant, but our new management believes differently,” states its FAQ. “Our plan is make the necessary investments to our stores, diversify our product lines and craft a strong retail strategy that properly places the emphasis back on delivering a warm and positive customer experience.”

Family Christian Ministries also owns two other companies – iDisciple, an online source for Christian inspiration, messages, sermons and music; and Giving Films, a movie production company developing Christian movies. These two companies are not part of the restructuring and will continue to operate independently of Family Christian Stores.