NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, told trustees Sept. 10 that beyond the achievements LifeWay is experiencing, it is the organization’s commitment to ministry that brings him the greatest joy.
Rainer, addressing trustees during their semiannual meeting, outlined three areas in which LifeWay’s ministry commitment can be seen: biblical fidelity, relevance in ministry and evangelism.
Biblical inerrancy is the stance of the Southern Baptist Convention “to which we are accountable,” Rainer said. “We must claim without hesitation the mantle of biblical fidelity and depth. LifeWay cannot waver. We stand firm on the Word of God and it is our belief that if we get people deeper into the Word of God, we will see lives transformed.”
Rainer said LifeWay’s Sunday School resources lead the way in transformational ministry. “Biblical fidelity continues to be a theme as our Sunday School literature gets better each year,” he said, adding, “I have received more and more positive feedback from people about how Sunday School is meeting their needs.”
The new line of scholarly resources from B&H Academic, Rainer said, “has made tremendous strides in its early months and has swept the academic world. But even people beyond academia are saying something about the territory B&H had claimed: standing strong on the Word of God and helping people go deeper and deeper.”
RELEVANCE IN MINISTRY
Out of LifeWay’s commitment to a strong biblical foundation comes an ability to offer relevant resources for ministry, Rainer said, pointing to LifeWay Research, which “has surpassed all expectations” in its first year of ministry. It is fast becoming -– even among secular media -– a source for dependable, relevant research on issues affecting the church, Rainer said.
In addition, Rainer said LifeWay has become “one of the leaders in relevancy in women’s ministry and children’s ministry, particularly with Vacation Bible School and the launch of Worship KidStyle, a new children’s worship ministry.”
Rainer also expressed joy at the ministry impact made by LifeWay Christian Stores as managers, assistant managers and employees across the chain of 140 stores “see themselves as ministers. We hear more stories of how people’s lives have been touched by these employees who are leading people to Christ and ministering to them in a time of need. Every time a new store is planted, it is not an expansion of the chain, but a new ministry opportunity.”
COMMITMENT TO EVANGELISM
Rainer said all across LifeWay there is “a passion for evangelism exhibited by LifeWay employees.” He highlighted “The Invitation CD,” sold at cost through LifeWay Christian Stores. “Essentially a tract on CD, our stores have determined that this is a ministry essential,” he said, adding that LifeWay Stores employees are equipped and ready for opportunities to share the Gospel with their customers.
Rainer again emphasized the importance of churches participating in VBS, pointing out that “Vacation Bible School continues to be the No. 1 evangelistic ministry in our churches.”
As LifeWay continues to look for ways to improve its ministry effectiveness, Rainer said LifeWay is known as a resource provider that can be trusted. “We’re going to be an organization that puts ministry first. We’re going to stand strong on the fidelity of Scripture. And we’re not going to shy away from the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ,” Rainer said.
Russ Rankin is managing editor of editorial services at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.