Interview with Thom Rainer
Thom Rainer joins us for the next episode of the Find Your Calling Podcast. Thom shares his journey of discovering his unique identify and specific markers that led him from banking to vocational ministry.
Thom has spent the last 30 years resourcing leaders. As president/CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources and the author of multiple leadership books, as well as church leadership blogs, he serves thousands of churches worldwide. But that wasn’t his initial path. As a fifth-generation banker, Thom was groomed for the finance industry, graduated with a finance degree and went into banking—ultimately becoming the youngest vice president in the history of the bank. In the podcast excerpt below, Thom talks about the experience that would ultimately lead him into ministry and the role of his wife, Nellie Joe, in discerning that call.
“Anytime I’ve done something in terms of a call, there has always been a push and pull—a push away from where I am and a pull to something else. So there was not only the push to leave banking but the pull toward vocational ministry. One of the most profound markers in that transition was the death of a good friend’s 5-year-old child. I was in the hospital room as Brian died, with his parents falling on my shoulders. That was one of the most profound times of just feeling a clear sense of God’s presence. I certainly sensed God saying to me, This is what you’re to do with your life’s work—you’re to minister to My people.
“I went home, and Nellie Joe had already heard about Brian’s death. I said, ‘Nellie Jo, let’s sit down. I want to tell you something.’ She said, ‘Okay, you’re about to tell me that you’re called to ministry, we’re going to leave banking, sell everything and go to seminary.’ I asked her, ‘How did you know?’ and she said, ‘You dummy, how can I not have a call if you have a call? God’s working in both of our lives. I’ve seen it in you. I want you to know I put the house on the market a week ago. I was waiting to put up the sign until you articulated your call.’ I could not have followed any of these paths without my wife’s support and enthusiasm. When one person has a calling, the spouse has that same calling.”
Check out Thom Rainer’s web site www.thomrainer.com.
Thom Rainer is the 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. In addition to speaking in hundreds of venues over the past 20 years, Thom led a church and denominational consulting firm from 1990 to 2005, providing church health insights to more than 500 churches and other organizations. He is the author of numerous books, including Breakout Churches, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, Simple Church, his most recent I Will and more. He and Nellie Jo have three grown sons, Sam, Art and Jess, who are all serving in a ministry capacity.