What’s Next for Me after LifeWay?

Please indulge me for one more blog post about my decision to retire from LifeWay. In my previous post, I shared the reasons why I am retiring, why God is leading me to leave an organization I love deeply. In this post, I will share some of my plans for life post-LifeWay.

I understand the plans of man are not always the plans of God. Everything I write here could change in the blink of an eye. I also want to make clear my total loyalty to LifeWay. I will not get in the way of the next CEO, but I will be the biggest cheerleader for this company I love so much.

While I do look forward to a lot more flexibility to spend time with my family, I will continue to do the work of ministry. I cannot imagine a life otherwise. Here are my plans for now:

  • Revitalize Network. In anticipation of my retirement, I applied with the IRS to start a non-profit 501c3 where churches will work joyously together for greater health and revitalization. I am incredibly excited about this future; and I think God has great plans for it. Revitalize Network has now been approved, and it is ready to launch next month.
  • ThomRainer.com. I will continue this blog and related ministries on the blog. The total number of views and emails opened is over 10 million each year. We touch every nation in the world. I thank God for the influence He has given this daily blog. And I particularly love the post every Sunday (“Pray for”) where we pray for a specific church.
  • Our podcasts: Rainer on Leadership and Revitalize and Replant. I have been blown away by the influence and growth of these two podcasts. I look forward to investing even more time to this ministry in the days ahead.
  • Church Answers. We started Church Answers as a place where church leaders could ask questions 24/7 and get answers quickly, usually within an hour or two. It has experienced phenomenal growth. Church Answers has two certification ministries that we will continue to improve and grow: Church Consultation University and Interim Pastor University. We will continue to add to the ministries of Church Answers as God leads and as we hear from the churches.
  • Books. I have written 28 books, most related to local churches. God willing, I do not plan to slow down the pace.
  • Speaking/Conferences. I will continue to do a number of speaking engagements digitally and a few in person each year.
  • I am a church member. I am not referring to the book by the same name. I am referring to my commitment to be a good and faithful church member. I will spend the majority of my time locally at The Church at Spring Hill where my son Jess is pastor. But I also want to spend more time at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Florida where my son Sam is pastor. That church will likely be my preferred winter location. I am not forgetting my other son, Art, and his family either.

I do not presume upon the will and plans of God. For now, this direction is where I see Him taking me in my “retirement” years.

I am a blessed man.

I am a grateful man.

Posted on August 29, 2018

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Terry Stockman says on

    We are certainly grateful for all your attention to the Body of Christ and look forward to many more years of that same sort of attention. Thank you brother and enjoy the family as much as you can.

  • Darrell Wright says on

    Dr. Rainer
    I am anxious to hear about Revitalize Network and how you see churches like ours partnering with you in the network to identify and connect with churches to enter into such needed transformations. I feel this may very well have been one of God’s greatest designs and purposes of the church growth movement of the past 25 years. Specifically that larger, healthier churches see it as a key ministry to help revitalize this vast population of churches who have lost their direction.
    I think JD Greear is absolutely correct with his book “Gaining By Losing” The future belongs to the churches that send.
    I sit with eager anticipation as you roll out your new endeavor.

  • Thank you, Thom, for all your work for the Kingdom. While much fruit of your efforts can be seen on earth, much more will be evident in eternity. I am grateful that I can still come to this familiar place for wisdom and encouragement. Praying for you and that through your obedience He is glorified!

  • Robbie P says on

    Dr. Rainer,

    You have been an incredible voice speaking into my life as a young pastor. The wisdom I have had access to because of your ministry has been so helpful to me and, I pray, a blessing to the kingdom as I’ve been able to put it into practice. From books to podcasts and conferences, I have benefited so much from your ministry and God has used you to shape me. May He continue to bless and use you in the days and years to come as you transition from Lifeway into this new season of ministry.


  • I am one of thousands who has benefited from your ministry, Thom! I’m so thankful for your influence on my life and pastoral ministry and I have no doubt that will continue in this next chapter of your life.

  • Lynn Campbell says on

    What an encouragement your writings have been ! I look forward to my daily dose of Thom Rainer! Thank you for your commitment to Lifeway, and I pray that God will continue to use you during your retirement just as he has in the past. Retirement is wonderful, but staying busy throughout your retirement days will be even more so! God bless you and your family in the days ahead.

  • Drs Wayne and Jeannie Rhodes says on

    You have made a wise decision to free your self of the daily pressure of running a Department at Southern Seminary and now Life Way. Every time we pass a Life Way store, my wife askes about you. Thom the thing that I have always appreciated about you is you know what it is like “to be in the trenches”. My heart is warmed that you will still be at the “tip of the spear. With much appreciation- Wayne and Jeannie

  • Thank you pr.Thom. I got to know your work in a more recent time, I was built and I was also blessed in my growth and reinvigorated in the ministerial proceedings with pastor of the Brazilian Baptist Convention, success in this new season of your life.Feijolli-RJ-Brazil

  • Thank you pr.Thom. I got to know your work in a more recent time, I was built and I was also blessed in my growth and reinvigorated in the ministerial proceedings with pastor of the Brazilian Baptist Convention, success in this new season of your life.Feijolli-RJ-Brazil

  • Dr Randy Macon says on

    Dr Rainer thank you for all the help an inspiration you provided for my life through books and seminars. Thanks for shepherding me through the D-Min process.

  • Stanley Zantarski says on

    Thank you, Thom, for creating all these wonderful resources which we can go to for help and wisdom. Your legacy goes on. My hope is that you make an even greater impact on or in whatever the Lord has planned for you.

  • Thomas S. Burris, SR\r. says on

    What a privilege to have been able to follow your ministry for a number of years. We had you come to our group of churches in the mid-1990’s in Chicago and you spoke to us about the backdoor of the church. I believe that you were still at the seminary then.

    Your books and articles have been of immeasurable help to me personally while I did six interims with Interim Pastor Ministries. I was able to connect many of those on transition teams with your very important books. I still recommend your work and website to those that I am coaching currently.

    I look forward to this new phase of ministry for you. The Lord has certainly used your dedication and research to enrich many of my associates’ ministries. thank you.

    Tom Burris