Thom Rainer to join SEBTS faculty

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) is excited to announce that Thom Rainer, outgoing president of Lifeway Christian Resources, will be joining the SEBTS faculty as a part-time distinguished professor of church revitalization and leadership in January of 2019.

“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,” said SEBTS President Danny Akin.

Rainer’s position at SEBTS will include teaching in the doctoral program and developing graduate-level courses in church revitalization. 

After beginning his career in finance, Rainer began to pursue his ministry calling in 1982. He received his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Philosophy degrees at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in 1985 and 1988, respectively. Rainer also served as the 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, Rainer established and operated as president and CEO of the Rainer Group, a denominational consulting firm which ran from 1990-2005.

Rainer also served in teaching roles at Beeson Divinity School and Tampa Bay Theological Seminary earlier in his teaching career. Along with his teaching roles at seminaries, Rainer has served a number of churches throughout Alabama, Florida, Indiana and Kentucky in both senior and interim pastoral roles.

“I am incredibly honored and excited to be part of the Southeastern Seminary team, especially in the area of church revitalization,” said Rainer, a highly esteemed author, speaker and leader in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). “I pray God will use us to be his instrument toward moving congregations to greater health.”

Under Rainer’s 13 years of leadership at Lifeway, he established B&H Academic, a branch of Lifeway’s B&H Publishing, which provides theologically-conservative academic materials for seminary professors, students and pastors. He also created Lifeway Research to better assist church leaders for greater effectiveness.

Rainer is a recipient of numerous awards, including Union University’s M.E. Dodd Denominational Service Award in 2004, the highest award the university offers; the Donald A. McGavran Award for Outstanding Leadership in Church Growth from the Great Commission Research Network; SBTS’s Alumnus of the Year award in 2013; and SBTS’s E.Y. Mullins Distinguished Denominational Service Award in 2014.

Along with his many accolades as a highly respected leader in the SBC, Rainer has written a number of books on leadership and church growth, including “I Am a Church Member” and “Eating the Elephant: Bite-Sized Steps to Achieve Long-Term Growth in Your Church.” Along with his books, Rainer also writes on his blog, and hosts a bi-weekly podcast called “Rainer on Leadership.”

“Southeastern Seminary is thrilled to have Thom Rainer joining our faculty. This is an unbelievable gift to our school,” said Akin.

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