In June 2017, Thom S. Rainer released a new research project on church health and effective evangelistic churches. The results were sobering. His study showed 65 percent of churches were either plateaued or declining. Only 35 percent were growing.
Now Rainer, who announced his pending retirement as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources last month, has created a nonprofit organization designed to help churches in need. Along with church revitalization resources, Revitalize Network will provide networking of those who are involved in church revitalization, coaching of leaders in church revitalization, consultations for churches needing revitalization and much more.
"Some people may have given up on specific local churches, but we are convinced God still has a plan for them," stated Rainer, who will serve as the executive director of the network.
Along with providing resources, Rainer envisions the network as a place for church leaders to find encouragement and joy.
"We pray that Revitalize Network will be a place of hope, unity and joy. We pray the churches that work together in the network will be known by what they are for more than what they are against," he said.
Rainer's eldest son, Dr. Sam Rainer, will serve as the president of the network, with Brentwood Baptist Church pastor Mike Glenn serving as chairman of the board. Others serving on the board include Dr. Brad Waggoner, Dr. Chuck Lawless and Amy Jordan.
"God has placed every church in a specific address for a specific reason. The goal of Revitalize Network is not only help revitalize individual churches but also the communities around them on a national scale," said Sam Rainer.
Joining Rainer in the venture are presenting partners Brentwood Baptist Church, LifeWay Christian Resources, the North American Mission Board and California Baptist University. Details on these partnerships will be released later in 2018.
More information about the network and opportunities to join can be found at revitalizenetwork.org.
About Revitalize Network
Revitalize Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, exists to empower churches to greater health. Revitalize Network is headquartered in historic Franklin, Tennessee, just minutes south of Nashville.
About Thom S. Rainer
Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of Church Answers and the executive director of Revitalize Network. He recently announced his pending retirement as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Prior to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for 12 years, where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. He is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 25 years, Rainer led Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, from 1990 to 2005. The firm provided church health insights to more than 500 churches and other organizations over that period.
Rainer and his wife, Nellie Jo, have three grown sons: Sam, Art and Jess, who are married to Erin, Sarah and Rachel respectively. The Rainers have 10 grandchildren: Canon, Maggie, Nathaniel, Will (with the Lord), Harper, Bren, Joshua, Collins, Joel and James.
He is the author of more than two dozen books, including I Am a Church Member, Breakout Churches, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad, The Millennials, Essential Church and Who Moved My Pulpit?
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