New LifeWay VP champions churches

Baptist Press
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Posted: Feb 15, 2012 7:22 PM
New LifeWay VP champions churches
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Eric Geiger wants to help pastors become heroes.

"My dream is that we would bless and serve church leaders so well, they will become heroes within their area of ministry and influence," said Geiger, newly appointed vice president of LifeWay Christian Resources' church resources division.

LifeWay trustees formally approved Geiger during their semiannual meeting Feb. 13-14 at LifeWay's home office in Nashville.

Prior to coming to LifeWay, Geiger, 36, served eight years as executive pastor of Christ Fellowship Miami, a church that grew from 1,200 to 8,000 in attendance under Geiger's leadership as an organizational architect.

"Making the transition from church leadership to LifeWay is both difficult and exciting," Geiger admitted. "Anyone who has served in a healthy church setting knows how difficult it is to leave. It is a special environment.

"But at the same time, it's exciting to think about serving churches on such a broad level," he said. "We're seeing a change at LifeWay as we move from an organization into more of a movement that serves churches really well."

LifeWay's church resources division develops strategies, products, programs and services that help churches disciple people of all ages. This assignment is addressed by providing resources in Bible study, worship, children and student ministries, and total church health and growth.

Since coming to LifeWay, Geiger said he has "been blown away by the incredible level of intelligence, breadth and depth of skill in specialized disciplines among our team. We have content editors who are just geniuses. We have people in publishing who understand theology, the church and business all wrapped up together -- that's a very unique skill-set."

Geiger said his vision for the division hinges on the actual name of the church resources division.

"We are going to more passionately embrace what being the church resources division means," he said. "We exist for the church. The church does not exist for us. And it is a high honor and privilege to serve and provide resources for the church. And it's significant that we are a division -- a part of the whole of LifeWay. We aren't the church resources organization."

Even though LifeWay has a rich history of providing transformational products, Geiger said his desire is to become more of a "church focused" division that "better listens to churches, knows churches and designs products and services for churches."

"This will mean listening on a macro level -- being aware of how the Lord is moving in churches as a whole and hearing their needs," he said.

"Listening at the micro level would be equipping churches by helping them craft and create what would best help them in their individual context of ministry," he said. "In the near future I envision CRD coming alongside churches to create things that specifically align with what is going on in the teaching ministry of that church."

To be successful in this vision, Geiger said organizational adjustments and streamlining must happen to allow space for new initiatives and to allow for better speed and agility in responding to the needs of the church.

"The tension for me is seeing a division that has been in decline, knowing we need to make changes but also knowing we will be unable to fully feel the impact of those changes for a while," Geiger said.

"Revenue, to me, is an indicator of the number of churches we serve and the degree to which we serve them," Geiger said. "This is just like revenue in a church representing the number of people we served and the degree to which the Lord was moving in their heart to lead them to be generous.

"When I served at Christ Fellowship, we didn't simply want more and more people who were just tipping God, but rather who gave out of a deep connection," he said. "At LifeWay, I don't want to have more and more unless it is a byproduct of serving the church well."

Geiger said he is confident in the future, to a large degree because of the focus, talent and ministry conviction found within the division and across LifeWay.

"I want to get to a point where pastors and church leaders see LifeWay not merely as a provider of materials and products they 'should' use," Geiger said. "I want us to reach a point where they are thanking God that LifeWay is meeting this need because it equips them and frees them up to focus on their ministry.

"I want pastors to have the assurance that whatever is before them in their ministry context -- whether it be leadership development or more time in sermon prep -- we are stepping in and serving them well and adding deep value to their church," Geiger said.

Geiger earned a doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and is the author or co-author of several books, including "Simple Church," a best-selling book on church leadership. He and his wife, Kaye, have two daughters, Eden and Evie.

Russ Rankin is LifeWay's manager of editorial services. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/Baptist Press) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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