The summit, an annual meeting at LifeWay's home office in Nashville, Tenn., brought together state convention discipleship directors and other network partners together to engage in ministry dialog and collaboration.
"You hear about the worst economy since the Great Depression," Rainer said in his remarks. "You hear about how it's the most tumultuous time in the Southern Baptist Convention. You hear about how churches are struggling and people are struggling, and in the midst of this, I remain an obnoxious optimist.
"I don't think God is done with us," Rainer said. "I am convinced God is not done with SBC churches. As I travel, talk, teach, research and listen to church leaders, I hear that God is up to something. God is raising up leaders with new, fresh perspective. For this reason, I have great hope."
Rainer, drawing from the Book of James, set forth three main points:
-- Wise leaders seek to learn from trials
-- Wise leaders ask God for wisdom and believe He will give it generously.
-- Wise leaders are decisive.
"What would happen if all the leaders from all the states and all the entities covenant to pray for wisdom?" Rainer asked.
Rainer also gave an update on two key LifeWay initiatives -- Transformational Church and ministry resources supporting the movie "Courageous."
"Transformational Church continues to move forward," Rainer said. "This was not a LifeWay project as much as a ground-up initiative. We listened to churches. We listened to ethnic groups, and we listened to you."
Rainer noted that the second Transformational Church study will be released in a book next summer titled "Transformational Discipleship." The research-based book stems from expert interviews from both the English and Spanish-speaking church and deals with personal spiritual development.
Courageous debuted as the No. 1 movie of during its weekend, drawing more than 1 million people to theaters, Rainer said.
"Courageous blew away the secular media," he said. "This clean, wholesome Christian movie has taken the world by storm.
"In the exit polls, Courageous received an A+ rating. Only four other movies have had an A+ rating since 2009," Rainer said. "Think of the thousands of movies that have come out since then. It shows how churches, Christians and new Christians are hungry for this movie and its content."
Rainer said he is very pleased with the partnership with the Courageous team and that the related materials produced by B&H Publishing - "Resolution for Men" and "Resolution for Women" -- have been on The New York Times bestseller list. "Love Dare," the couples' devotional that accompanied Sherwood Picture's previous film, "Fireproof," recently made another appearance on the list as well.
"This is the first time in the history of LifeWay that we've had three books on the list," Rainer said. "It's also the first time we've had two books on the list."
Rainer also reported that a new Bible study, "Honor Begins at Home," launches Jan. 17, 2012, corresponding with the DVD and Blu-Ray release of the feature-length Courageous film. Also, since Nov. 28, churches have been able to obtain a legal license to show the movie through the LifeWay Films label.
Jon Wilke is media relations manager for LifeWay Christian Resources.
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