LifeWay Christian Resources trustees unanimously elected Ben Mandrell as the organization’s next president and CEO in a special called meeting today in Atlanta.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead in such an important season for LifeWay,” Mandrell told trustees, according to a LifeWay press release. “My first priority is to get our family to Nashville and begin loving the people at LifeWay. There is already an amazing team in place, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and work alongside them.”
Mandrell, who served as lead pastor at Storyline Fellowship in Arvada, Colo., will succeed Thom Rainer, who retired earlier this year. Brad Waggoner has been the acting president and CEO since March 1.
Photo courtesy of Storyline Fellowship
During a press conference following his election, Mandrell said although LifeWay’s methodology and delivery will change, its “mission will not be lost.”
When asked how business and ministry aspects of the organization work together, Mandrell noted his vision to build relationships with a “broader audience.”
“People pay for what adds value to their lives,” he said. “What tools can we create that churches will look at and make their job so much easier? … When you meet needs, people will pay for those resources. I know I have.”
Addressing a question about LifeWay’s doctrinal standards regarding the books and resources it carries, Mandrell said, “That goes back to our confessional statement of the Baptist Faith and Message. We will continue to preach things that are consistent with our beliefs and who we are as an organization.”
Kent Dacus, chairman of LifeWay’s presidential search committee, said the committee considered more than 100 individuals – a pool that was “very diverse in both ethnicity and gender.” He described the search as “extensive” and “deliberate.”
The committee was “solely focused on the best person to lead LifeWay,” Dacus said. “We saw a person that was committed to his local church, committed to his wife and his family. We saw deep character in him.”
Jimmy Scroggins, chairman of LifeWay’s board of trustees, commended Mandrell on having a “grasp on the kinds of churches that we need to be able to resource.”
Mandrell has a “relentless commitment to seeing people who are far from God come to know Christ,” Scroggins said.
Mandrell received a bachelor's degree from Anderson University in Indiana, a master’s degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a doctoral degree from Union University in Jackson, Tenn. He and his wife, Lynley, have four children. The family plans to relocate to Nashville in July.