Waggoner to Lead 'Premier Christian Research' Group

Major Christian resource provider LifeWay announced Brad J. Waggoner as the new director for LifeWay Research which will be launched this fall. Waggoner will be heading what LifeWay's president said will be "the premier Christian research organization in the world."

Currently dean of the School of Leadership & Church Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., Waggoner will take his position at LifeWay on July 1.

"Few people are as connected with the local church as Brad Waggoner," said Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, in a news release. "LifeWay is blessed with the leadership he brings to this new role. He brings not only a knowledge of the local church, but a passion and heart for the church as well. His leadership of LifeWay Research will provide the energy to make this new entity a world-class organization."

The new initiative for LifeWay Research was announced earlier this year at the inauguration of Rainer as the resource provider's ninth president. Rainer revealed his drive to help the local church reach its potential.

"[The] reality is that about 96 percent of the churches in America do not meet the criteria for being effective evangelistic churches," he said earlier. "Most of these churches ... have become satisfied with the status quo."

LifeWay had been conducting research mainly for its own resources but will now broaden it to understand churches and their needs and respond accordingly.

"LifeWay Research [will be] an entity that listens to churches, that listens to Christians, and that listens to the spiritually lost," Rainer stressed. "We will be an authority on what’s going on in the world of churches, beliefs, and the world of the unchurched."

Along with churches, LifeWay Research will focus on such areas of ministry as students, women, Sunday school, small groups, leadership and music.

"LifeWay Research is not going to be about research in and of itself," said Waggoner. "It will be driven by evangelical fervor which leads to evangelical effectiveness that strengthens churches."