Posted on : Friday July 18, 2014
Joel Rainey and his wife Amy have three children (l to r): Seth, 5; Samuel, 14;  and Abigail Grace, 5.

Joel Rainey and his wife Amy have three children (l to r): Seth, 8; Samuel, 14; and Abigail Grace, 5.

By Shannon Baker

COLUMBIA, Md.—Effective Sept. 1, Joel Rainey, director of missions and church planting missionary for the Mid-Maryland Baptist Association in Eldersburg, Md., will provide leadership to the Engagement Team for Evangelistic Missions of the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network/BCMD.  His new role will be a vital part of the Network’s overall effort to strengthen churches and enhance the effectiveness of local churches in penetrating the diverse peoples of the Mid-Atlantic region and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“I have appreciated Dr. Rainey’s partnership in the gospel from his current associational mission’s role, and I am excited to have him use his gifts, passions and wealth of experience to assist all of the churches that make-up the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network,” Will McRaney, executive missional strategist for the Network, said. “I believe through his leadership we will see even greater strengthening of local churches in their Kingdom advancing impact. He will be a great addition to our team and to the churches we serve.”

Rainey has 22 years of pastoral ministry experience as a staff member, lead pastor, church planter, and interim pastor. He has been involved as a pastor and denominational servant in helping start more than 100 churches in the United States. He also has been involved in mission projects on five continents, including construction, evangelism, church planting, and theological education.

“What is exciting to me is that I’ll be doing exactly what I was doing—evangelism, engaging the culture, building mission partnerships, locally and globally, and helping engaged churches assist non-engaged churches,” shared Rainey, 42.

“It is the same work, but to do it with 550 churches versus 62 churches is really exciting. The quality of work always goes up when there are more involved,” said Rainey, who holds a master of divinity and a doctor of philosophy degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary  in Louisville, Ky.

The author of Speaking from A Firm Foundation (2013), Side-Stepping Landmines (2012), and Planting Churches in the Real World (2008) and contributing author to the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (2003), Rainey has coordinated the collective mission work of the Mid-Maryland network of Southern Baptist churches since 2005.

Under his leadership, this local network has grown from 43 churches and 8,500 members to roughly 12,000 members worshipping in 62 churches. While there, he expanded the international reach and influence of these churches by “taking the Gospel to every inhabited continent on the globe for the purpose of reaching the lost, raising up indigenous leadership, and starting new churches.”

Rainey says the Mid-Maryland Baptist Association gave him the platform and the freedom to try several new methods. “It was a great experience,” he said, noting he consistently received comments about how the association was “a global entity—not just a local one.”

To that end, he is quite aware of how cultural shifts affect today’s missions movement—no differently than what practitioners faced at the end of the 18th century, in what Rainey called the “birth of the modern missions movement.”

“Even back then, there was a need for a new way to do missions,” he said, explaining how in 1790, William Carey and others faced realities no others faced. “With rare exception, global Christianity was limited to within 150 miles of the north Atlantic Ocean before Carey. But he and his contemporaries figured out how to take the gospel to the whole known world.”

Today’s global migration patterns bring this global mission to our very region, he continued, noting it is not unusual for a Hindu Indian to live next door or for a Middle Eastern Muslim to work a couple of offices down the street.

“The ends of the earth is now at our back door,” he said. “Maryland is a petri dish of this globalization, and therefore the perfect environment for missions to happen locally.”

Rainey also acknowledged he is excited to continue the work of pioneering Baptists who forged the way for current realities.

“From the Potomac River to the Canadian border, any Baptist work that exists has Maryland/Delaware Baptist fingerprints all over it. I am honored that Dr. McRaney invited me to play a role among people with this pioneering history in their DNA, and I am eager to do my part to stoke that historic passion and see a fresh expansion of God’s Kingdom across the Mid-Atlantic and the world,” he said.

In addition to other duties, Rainey will continue to serve as adjunct faculty with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Wake Forest, N.C., where he instructs in Great Commission Leadership to Mid-Atlantic area Doctor of Ministry students; Judson Bible College‘s Washington, D.C. campus, where he instructs in the areas of pastoral ministry, missions and theology to Burmese students, most of whom are in the United States on refugee status; Capital Bible Seminary/Washington Bible College in Lanham, Md.; and Washington Baptist University in Annandale, Va.

“I do love the academic environment and the potential for how it can positively affect the mission,” he said.

Originally from Greer, S.C., he and his wife, Amy, have three children, Samuel, 14; Seth, 8; and Abigail Grace, 5, who was adopted from Pingliang in the Gansu Province of the People’s Republic of China.

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