By Carol Pipes
RIDGECREST, N.C. — Lifeway Christian Resources is facing “hinge moments” and decisions that will propel the organization in one direction or another, President and CEO Thom S. Rainer told trustees during the board’s Aug. 24-25 meeting.
“We are about to walk through some open doors as these hinge moments are now before us,” Rainer said. “And I think we are about to see some incredible days at Lifeway.”
Rainer explained those hinge moments revolve around the sale and relocation of its downtown-Nashville headquarters.
Executive Vice President Brad Waggoner gave trustees a comprehensive report on the sale of Lifeway’s current campus and the move to a new location. “The decisions we are making will impact Lifeway for decades to come,” Waggoner said. “Good stewardship is driving these decisions.”
The sale of the 14-acre campus in downtown Nashville will be the largest real-estate transaction in the history of downtown Nashville, according to Jerry Rhyne, Lifeway’s CFO and vice president of finance. Rhyne expects to close the sale in September.
After the sale of the building, Lifeway employees will lease back two of the current buildings from the buyer and move all employees into those facilities while a new building is under construction, Waggoner reported.
During its June 15, 2015 meeting, the trustee executive committee approved the purchase of 1.5 acres at the southwest corner of 1st Avenue South and Korean Veteran’s Blvd. in downtown Nashville for the new headquarters building. At the August meeting, the full board voted to approve the basic concept design and construction of the new office and parking facility. Lifeway expects to close on the new property this fall and move into the new facility in the fall of 2017.
Rainer asked trustees to pray for the organization during this time of transition. He told trustees he is proud of Lifeway employees and how they are responding to change.
“I’m amazed at the breadth and depth of the work of those who are associated with Lifeway,” Rainer said. “It’s amazing to realize we all have a part in sharing the gospel around the world.”
Rhyne also presented Lifeway’s 2016 budget for approval. The proposed budget, which will begin in Oct. 2015, is $482.5 million. Trustees approved the budget as proposed.
Trustees also heard reports from the vice presidents of resources, technology, finance, insights and organizational development divisions.
In other business, the board elected Madeline Harris and José L. Ruiz to fill two trustee vacancies created by the resignations of Sandra Peoples, from the Baptist Convention of Pennsylvania/South Jersey, and Jay Swope, from the Missouri Baptist Convention. Harris is a member of Ezekial Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Penn. Ruiz is a member of Fellowship Church in Greenwood, Mo.
Rainer introduced and welcomed eight new trustees to the board including: Marie Clark, Overland Park, Kan.; Cheri Dempsay, Peoria, Ariz.; Bill Langley, Elizabethtown, Ky.; Tony McAlexander, Las Vegas, Nev.; Rebecca McCoy, Hersey, Mich.; Amy Mielock, Cary, N.C.; Katherine Pope, Martinsburg, W.Va.; and Terenda Wyant, Belleville, Ill.
“This is a historic moment,” Rainer said, concluding the meeting. “Let’s not let this moment pass without understanding the magnitude of what has taken place. You have set Lifeway on a path to a great future.
“In this hinge moment, it seems God has given us an open door and it’s time to move through with courage, faith and fortitude.”
Carol Pipes is editorial manager for Lifeway Christian Resources