By Carol Pipes
LifeWay news office
ATLANTA — LifeWay Christian Resources trustees unanimously elected Ben Mandrell as the organization’s 10th president during a special-called meeting June 28 in Atlanta.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead in such an important season for LifeWay,” Mandrell told trustees during the plenary session. “My first priority is to get our family to Nashville and begin loving the people at LifeWay. There is already an amazing team in place, and I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and work alongside them.”
Mandrell, 42, comes to LifeWay from his role as lead pastor at Storyline Fellowship in Arvada, Colo. Two days after the June 21 announcement of his nomination to lead LifeWay, Mandrell delivered a heartfelt sermon to his congregation explaining his decision to relocate his family to Nashville. Mandrell is a former Tennessee Baptist pastor, having served at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson.
“All through Scripture, we learn that God is a calling God,” Mandrell said in his sermon. “He dials our number and we have to answer. We have to take His calls.” When considering the decision to accept the search committee’s nomination, Mandrell said he had “a wrestling match with God like I have never experienced before.”
Mandrell has served as lead pastor of Storyline Fellowship since its founding in 2014.
A ‘man of character’
“This is a significant and momentous day in the history of LifeWay,” said trustee chairman Jimmy Scroggins as he thanked the search committee for their hard work and commitment to the task.
“Ben is a man of character, integrity, godly strength and humility,” said Scroggins, lead pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Fla. “I appreciate his relentless commitment to seeing people come to know Christ and to see churches that preach the gospel have the resources they need to advance the Kingdom.”
Kent Dacus, who led the presidential search committee, said the process of finding the next CEO of LifeWay was extensive, methodical and deliberate with the team examining a diverse field of candidates from a wide variety of backgrounds.
“All throughout the process, we were focused solely on the best person for the position and for the person God was already preparing to lead LifeWay in this new season,” Dacus said. “We found a man who is deeply committed to God’s Word and has an incredible passion for the local church.”
Dacus praised the search committee for their prayerful and steadfast effort the past 10 months. “These men and women have worked in one accord and sought the Lord’s guidance every step of the way,” he said.
LifeWay’s presidential search committee was appointed in August 2018. The committee included chairman Kent Dacus (Calif.), Bill Langley (Ky.), Millie Burkett (Ore.), Brad McLean (Texas), Madeline Harris (Penn.), Todd Fannin (Okla.), and Luther McDaniel of First Baptist Church, Hendersonville.
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, was one of several Southern Baptist leaders who welcomed the announcement.
“The TBMB will continue a strong relationship with LifeWay under the leadership of Ben Mandrell,” Davis affirmed. “He has been a great pastor and will serve the Southern Baptist Convention and evangelical churches from the perspective of a shepherd,” Davis continued.
“I’m very excited to welcome the Mandrells back to Tennessee,” he added.
Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, added that Mandrell “has proven himself as an incredible church planter, pastor and innovative leader. He has a passion to connect and communicate Jesus to a lost world,” Ezell said.
A native of Tampico, Ill., Mandrell is a 1998 graduate of Anderson (Ind.) University. He also holds a master of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a doctor of ministry degree from Union University in Jackson.
Mandrell and his wife, Lynley, have been married 18 years. The couple has four children.
“I can see the hand of God preparing me for this significant moment at LifeWay,” Mandrell said. B&R — B&R Editor Lonnie Wilkey contributed to this report.