By Lisa Cannon Green
NASHVILLE — LifeWay Christian Resources dedicated its new corporate headquarters Monday (Nov. 27) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a prayer of thanksgiving and a pledge to remain faithful to God’s Word.
President and CEO Thom S. Rainer recounted the changes taking place at LifeWay, from new physical spaces to new digital technologies.
“You could say we have reinvented ourselves,” Rainer told the crowd of employees and guests. “But we remain faithful to Him who has called us.
“We will continue to provide resources that will point people to God’s Word and to Christ.”
Joined by other LifeWay leaders, Rainer wielded giant scissors to cut an oversized red ribbon in front of the new 277,000-square-foot facility, which includes a retail store to serve downtown Nashville.
“We dedicate this building to God,” Rainer said, “for His glory and for His Gospel.”
Moments earlier, LifeWay’s executive leadership team spoke briefly to highlight LifeWay’s five core values — trustworthy, collaborative, innovative, comprehensive and transformational.
“LifeWay is trustworthy — not because of our merit but because we stand on the true and faultless Word of God,” said Eric Geiger, senior vice president and chief business officer.
Joe Walker, senior vice president and chief financial officer, pointed to the collaboration between LifeWay and churches. “Our success is defined by the success of those we serve,” he said.
LifeWay has a growing array of digital products and mobile and cloud-based applications for churches, said Tim Hill, senior vice president and chief information officer. “We are innovating with technology to build biblical solutions for life.”
Selma Wilson, senior vice president and chief people officer, said the mission of Christ compels LifeWay to be comprehensive. “We serve all churches — in farmlands and in cities. We serve churches here in the U.S. but we also are committed to serving churches around the world.”
Brad Waggoner, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said transforming people’s lives with the truth of the Gospel is at the core of LifeWay’s ministry. “That transformation is something we praise God for on a routine basis.”
In his closing prayer, Rainer thanked God for all He has done through LifeWay. “We are grateful for the transformation of LifeWay,” Rainer said. “May everything that comes from this place be used in such a way that lives will be transformed, not only here on earth but into eternity.”
The event capped a month of activities celebrating LifeWay’s move to Capitol View from its former location about a half-mile away. LifeWay, known as the Sunday School Board at its founding in 1891, sold the previous property to developers in late 2015 and broke ground on the new facility in April 2016.
On Nov. 1, during LifeWay’s final chapel service at the former site, Rainer presented mementos to employees and credited God for blessings related to the move. “In the midst of the biggest downtown boom ever, we’ve seen obstacle after obstacle fall,” he said.
A week later, on employees’ final day in the previous building, LifeWay celebrated the move with lunch, games and music.
For most employees, Nov. 13 was the first day of work at the new campus. Activities during the first week included tours and prayerwalks throughout the building and an inaugural chapel service in which Rainer chronicled LifeWay’s history and looked toward the future.
“God has chosen since 1891 to make this a place where people around the world will be touched, moved, empowered, equipped and evangelized by our resources,” Rainer told employees.
“We remember the miracles of God in the past, hold on to His promises in the present and enter the future with enthusiasm.”
Special guests at the Nov. 27 ribbon-cutting ceremony included Rainer’s wife Nellie Jo, and their son and daughter-in-law Jess and Rachel Rainer; Frank S. Page, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee; Hamilton Frost, great-grandson of the Sunday School Board’s first president, James M. Frost; Lloyd Elder, former president of the Sunday School Board; Randy Davis, president of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board; Kevin Smith, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware; John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention; Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Seminary; Bill Henard, executive director of the West Virginia Convention of Southern Baptists; Tim Patterson, executive director of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan; former LifeWay trustees Adam Greenway, Jeanne Davis and Phil Neighbors; Jeff Haynes, a partner in Boyle Nashville LLC and chief overseer of the overall Capitol View development project; and representatives from Skanska construction, Gresham Smith & Partners, Alfred Williams & Company and Herman Miller.