Know Your Southern Baptists: Thom Rainer
Name: Thom Rainer
Age: 58 (born July 16, 1955)
Why you’ve heard of him: Rainer, a leading voice for pastors today, heads one of the largest Christian resource providers and is a best-selling author.
Position: He is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources since 2005.
Previous: After graduating college, Rainer began working at Trust Company of Georgia, which would later become SunTrust. He worked his way up to Vice President before sensing God’s call to enter the pastorate. He pastored churches in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky and Indiana before joining the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While there, he founded the Rainer Group, a church consulting firm.
Education: Rainer graduated from the University of Alabama in 1977, majoring in corporate finance with minors in statistics and economics. Later, he earned an M.Div and Ph.D. from SBTS.
Books: He is the author or co-author of over 25 books and studies. Simple Church, co-authored with Eric Geiger, was a best-seller and named as one of Christianity Today’s 2007 Book Award winners. His latest book, I Am a Church Member, is one of the best selling Christian books of 2013. He has also developed Connected, a new short-term Bible study focused on what it means to be part of the body of Christ. His next book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, will be released in May 2014.
Why he’s important: During his time at Southern Seminary, he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. The emphasis on those three aspects have continued through out Rainer’s ministry. Through the decisions he makes as president of LifeWay, Rainer is influential in the evangelical community. At LifeWay, he formed LifeWay Research and established B&H Academic, part of LifeWay’s publishing arm.
“Introverts don’t like small talk conversation, but they typically don’t mind writing.”
“Confident and courageous leaders have no problems pointing out their own weaknesses and ignorance.”
“Unity in the church will not happen if members have unforgiving hearts.”
“Of course, it’s impossible to do anything of consequence when your focus is on those things that really don’t make a difference.”
“Do you know how to remain a member of a country club? Pay your dues. Do that and people will be available to serve you. Do you know how to remain a biblical member of a church? Give abundantly and serve without hesitation.”
Others in the “Know Your Southern Baptists” Series: