Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) has announced that Thom Rainer, outgoing president of Lifeway Christian Resources, will join the faculty as part-time distinguished professor of church revitalization and leadership in January.
SEBTS President Danny Akin said in a news release, “Students will have the incredible opportunity to sit under the instruction of one of the most gifted and innovative minds in the evangelical world. This is a great day for SEBTS.”
Rainer, 63, told LifeWay trustees Aug. 27 he intends to retire when a new president is named or in August 2019, whichever comes first.
He also has launched the nonprofit Revitalize Network to provide networking, consultation and resources for leaders of churches needing revitalization, working in partnership with LifeWay, the North American Mission Board, California Baptist University and Brentwood Baptist Church in metro Nashville.
Rainer has served as LifeWay’s president for 13 years, leading the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) entity to Bible study curriculum growth for five consecutive years, creation of LifeWay Research and the B&H Academic book division; and relocation of LifeWay’s offices to a new facility in downtown Nashville.
He has authored more than two dozen books, including I Am a Church Member, I Will: Nine Traits of an Outwardly Focused Christian, Becoming a Welcoming Church, Autopsy of a Deceased Church and Eating the Elephant: Bite-Sized Steps to Achieve Long-Term Growth in Your Church.
He is on the web at ThomRainer.com and engages in two podcasts, “Rainer on Leadership” and “Revitalize & Replant with Thom Rainer.”
Rainer holds master of divinity and doctoral degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he served as dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth and professor of evangelism and church growth from 1994-2004. During this time, he established and operated as president and CEO of the Rainer Group, a denominational consulting firm, from 1990-2005.
Rainer, in the news release, said, “I pray God will use us to be his instrument toward moving congregations to greater health,” while Akin said Rainer’s new affiliation with Southeastern is “an unbelievable gift to our school.”