Selma Wilson, senior vice president of organizational development and chief people officer at LifeWay Christian Resources, has announced she will retire effective Oct. 1.
“It has been an incredible honor to be a part of the mission of LifeWay for the past 28 years,” Wilson said. “I am overcome with thankfulness God allowed me to be a part of this great organization – the churches and people it serves, the authors and ministry partners, and the most committed employee team anywhere.”
Wilson joined the Sunday School Board (now LifeWay) in 1990 as a marriage and family consultant, providing training and events for churches. Three years later, she led in the development of LifeWay’s women’s ministry and launched Journey, a women’s monthly devotional magazine for which she served as editor-in-chief from 1993-98.
Since then, Wilson has served in various leadership positions at LifeWay including vice president of B&H Publishing Group, director of the discipleship and family magazines, director of organizational performance, and as associate to the vice president of Church Resources. Additionally, Wilson, along with her husband Rodney, served as executive editors of HomeLife magazine.
In 2010, Wilson became LifeWay’s first female vice president when she was named vice president of B&H Publishing Group. In 2017, she was named senior vice president and chief people officer, leading LifeWay’s people strategies, culture development and change management. She is also a regular speaker, writer and conference leader in the area of leadership, women and family ministry.
“I must personally thank Dr. Thom Rainer for asking me to join his executive leadership team eight years ago,” Wilson said. “It has been such a blessing to be a part of his team as he has led with boldness, conviction and courage so the ministry of LifeWay would be strong for future generations.”
LifeWay President and CEO Thom S. Rainer praised Wilson for her leadership and for her commitment to the ministry of LifeWay.
“Selma is one of the most beloved and highly respected leaders in LifeWay’s entire history,” Rainer said. “She has been a tremendous asset to LifeWay as she has left her mark on so many areas of the organization.
“Selma’s love for the Lord, her focused determination and unquenching enthusiasm are contagious. She has been a great model of humble and effective leadership.”
Reflecting on her time at LifeWay, Wilson said she is grateful for the men and women who led in the generations before her.
“I know I stood on the shoulders of those who served faithfully in their generation, and they challenged me to do my part in my leg of the race,” Wilson said. “Now it’s my turn to hand the baton of this ministry to the next leader.”
She also praised those she has worked alongside for nearly three decades.
“I have been most blessed to work alongside men and women with amazing gifts and deep commitment to the mission and ministry of LifeWay. This great team of employees will forever have their imprint on my heart and life.”
Wilson earned her bachelor of science degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and has completed continuing education courses, with emphases in organizational development and human resource management, at the University of Southern California and Columbia University.
She and Rodney have two adult daughters and five grandchildren. After retirement, Wilson and Rodney will reside in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Wilson said she would always cherish her time at LifeWay and continue to encourage those who lead the organization into the future.
“My own story is the mission of LifeWay,” Wilson said. “As a young girl, I was captured by the grace of Christ. And even now, as a 62-year-old woman, I have never gotten over the wonder and beauty of the unmerited grace given to me through Jesus Christ.
“That is what LifeWay does every day – point others to Jesus by providing biblical solutions for life. As I step aside, I will be cheering those serving and leading LifeWay to keep running the race with their eyes firmly set on Jesus – ‘the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6).”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Carol Pipes is LifeWay’s director of corporate communications. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)