Rainer: LifeWay, at 'hinge moments,' moving forward
"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."
The hinge moments, Rainer explained, 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, Jerry Rhyne, LifeWay's CFO and vice president of finance, said. Rhyne expects to close the sale in September.
After 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 said.
The trustee executive committee, in its June 15 meeting, approved purchase of 1.5 acres at the southwest corner of 1st Avenue South and Korean Veteran's Boulevard 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 Southern Baptist entity 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 a proposed 2016 LifeWay budget for $482.5 million. Trustees approved the budget, which will begin in October.
Trustees also heard reports from the vice presidents of resources, technology, finance, insights and organizational development divisions during their two-day sessions at the LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center in North Carolina.
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; Ruiz is a member of Fellowship Church in Greenwood, Mo.
Rainer introduced and welcomed eight new trustees to the board: Marie Clark, Overland Park, Kan.; Cheri Dempsay, Peoria, Ariz.; Bill Langley, Elizabethtown, Ky.; Tony McAlexander, Las Vegas; Rebecca McCoy, Hersey, Mich.; Amy Mielock, Cary, N.C.; Katherine Pope, Martinsburg, W.Va.; and Terenda Wyant, Belleville, Ill.
"This is an 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."