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LifeWay moves to serve churches more effectively

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–An organizational structure and leadership to strengthen partnerships between churches and the LifeWay Church Resources Division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention has been announced.

“Our desire is to serve the churches more effectively,” Gene Mims, president of the LifeWay Church Resources Division, said. “We believe our new organization will enable us to do so.”

The leaders of four major areas and nine groups will assume their positions in the coming months, with full implementation of the organization to be completed by Oct. 1. Mims said his associate, Roland Maddox, will serve as transition team leader.

The division will be organized into four areas: Church Relations, Solutions, Capabilities and Organizational Performance.

Church Relations will be led by Mike Miller and will include two groups, regional operations, directed by David Francis, and central operations, directed by Gary Aylor.

Miller, currently director of the church leadership group, joined LifeWay in 1994. Earlier, he directed the church growth division of the California Southern Baptist Convention and served as pastor of two California churches.

The regional operations group will develop and maintain relationships with churches and pastors, identifying the special needs of different churches.

Francis joined LifeWay in 1997 as associate director of the LifeWay church leadership group. In recent months, he has chaired the employee team proposing a division organizational structure to support an increased focus on churches. Before joining LifeWay, he was a 13-year staff member of First Baptist Church, Garland, Texas.

The central operations group will include existing services such as music marketing and sales, architecture and capital fund raising that will be managed nationally. National events also will be planned and conducted out of central operations.

Aylor, a four-year LifeWay employee, currently serves as program director of the church stewardship services section and has been serving as part-time assistant to the director of the church leadership group. Before joining LifeWay, he served 17 years as associate pastor of administration and evangelism at Champion Forest Baptist Church, Houston.

Solutions, led by John Kramp, includes three groups — network relationships directed by Bill Taylor, program leadership directed by Jay Johnston and publishing directed by Louis Hanks.

Kramp, an eight-year LifeWay employee, currently directs the operations group of LifeWay Church Resources. Earlier, he served as associate director of the discipleship and family group. Before joining LifeWay, he was senior pastor of Westside Baptist Church, Portland, Ore., and associate pastor for discipleship ministries at First Baptist Church, Garland, Texas.

The network relationships group will focus on strengthening partnerships with states, associations and other SBC entities to help churches and their leaders. They will partner with the program leadership group to plan national training events.

Taylor, director of the Sunday school group, joined LifeWay in 1994 after serving as executive pastor of North Phoenix Baptist Church, Phoenix, Ariz. Earlier, he was minister of education and administration at Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas; University Baptist Church, Coral Gables, Fla.; Roswell Street Baptist Church, Marietta, Ga.; and First Baptist Church, Lafayette, La.

The program leadership group will be responsible for developing and leading church-related ministry assignments such as Sunday school, discipleship, music, women’s and men’s ministry, the FAITH Sunday school evangelism strategy and others.

Johnston, director of the Sunday school/FAITH ministry department, is a 12-year employee. He previously managed the adult training and enrichment section of the discipleship and family adult department and served as a personal enrichment consultant in the family ministry department. Earlier, he was minister of single adults at Germantown Baptist Church, Germantown, Tenn.

The publishing group will produce dated and undated church resources for all ministries and age groups, along with family, devotional and leadership magazines and music and worship resources.

Hanks, currently associate director of the Sunday school group, is a 22-year employee. He joined LifeWay as an editor of youth Sunday school curriculum and later managed the youth Sunday school curriculum section and directed the biblical studies department before assuming his present position. Earlier, he served as minister of education at West Hartselle Baptist Church, Hartselle, Ala.

The Capabilities area, led by Steve Blount, includes two groups, channel management, directed by Gary Hauk, and knowledge management, with the director to be named later.

Blount, a four-year LifeWay employee, presently serves as associate director of the division’s operations group. Earlier, he managed LifeWay’s strategic information and planning section and was vice president of financial strategies at Prudential in Atlanta.

The channel management group seeks to manage communication with churches including customer service, customer accounts, advertising/promotion/order forms and Internet ordering efforts, as well as division relationships with LifeWay Christian Stores and the E-business group.

Hauk, a 23- year employee of LifeWay, serves as the acting director of the discipleship and family group. Previously he was associate director of the discipleship and family group, director of the discipleship and family magazines department, manager of family enrichment, and senior adult consultant. Before joining LifeWay, he served churches in Oklahoma and Texas.

The knowledge management group will capture, catalog and analyze information for churches and the division. Functions will include list management, research and product testing, along with Southern Baptist Directory Services, geodemographic and other emerging tools.

Blount will begin a search for the leader of this group who will be named later.

Gary Rhoades will lead the Organizational Performance area that includes two groups, organizational development directed by Selma Wilson and financial performance, with the director to be named later.

Rhoades joined LifeWay in 1998 as associate director of the operations group and now serves as associate director to the division president for special projects. Prior to joining LifeWay, he held numerous positions in finance and information systems with companies including Frito-Lay, Cerner Corp., Wal-Mart and Arthur Andersen and Co.

The financial performance group will work with other division components to develop and achieve strategic, business and budget plans. They will have overall responsibility for financial reporting and analysis, business processes as well as work across the LifeWay organization with finance and information systems components.

Rhoades will begin a search for the leader of this group who will be named later.

The organizational development group will focus on employee development for the division, along with career path management and organizational growth.

Wilson, director of the discipleship and family magazine department, previously was editor-in-chief of Journey magazine for women and a family enrichment consultant. She has been employed at LifeWay since 1990 and was instrumental in the development of women’s enrichment ministry at LifeWay. She has been actively involved in marriage enrichment ministry. Earlier, she was an educator and social worker.

    About the Author

  • Linda Lawson