Roy Edgemon announces retirement from LifeWay effective April 1, 2000

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Roy T. Edgemon, leader of Southern Baptists' discipleship training program for 22 years, has announced his retirement as director of the discipleship and family group of LifeWay Christian Resources, effective April 1, 2000.

"I feel this is a good time to move on and allow someone else to add new and greater dimensions to the work," said Edgemon, 65. "We have truly had a diverse and unique team and God has chosen to bless us abundantly. I am so grateful to have been a part of that team, yet I know that all of our success has been by the grace and power of God."

Edgemon joined the staff of the Sunday School Board (the name was changed to LifeWay in 1998) on Jan. 1, 1978, as director of the church training department. The department was enlarged and re-named discipleship and family development division in 1992. In 1998, the name was changed to discipleship and family group.

Gene Mims, president of the LifeWay Church Resources Division, paid tribute to Edgemon as "a man of great integrity and a deep walk with the Lord. His vision and insight have been crucial in what we've been able to do in the last eight years, which have been his years of greatest contribution.

"Many of his initiatives, especially spiritual transformation, will continue to impact everything we do as LifeWay seeks to be an agent of transformation in the world," Mims continued.

He also announced that Gary Hauk, associate director of the discipleship and family group, will serve as interim director at Edgemon's retirement. Mims said a national search will be conducted and "we will evaluate our entire organization to determine the best way to utilize our resources as fully as possible."

Hauk, 48, and a 22-year employee, has served in his present position since 1998. Earlier, he directed the discipleship and family magazine department. He also served as manager of the family enrichment section of the family ministry department and as consultant in senior adult ministry.

LifeWay President James T. Draper Jr. said Edgemon "has led the discipleship and family group in an era of monumental growth. He has been a visionary, spiritual leader who has made contributions to all of LifeWay. We will miss his influence but wish him well as he moves into new avenues of service."

During Edgemon's tenure, the concept of undated discipleship courses was introduced in 1978 with equipping centers. The MasterLife course, now used throughout the world, was published along with "Survival Kit for New Christians," which is now available in about 125 languages. Interactive courses such as "Experiencing God" and "The Mind of Christ" were introduced. Partnerships have been forged with other Christian publishers. Discipleship and family events have grown to reach more than 150,000 per year. A major initiative, spiritual transformation, has been launched.

In addition to discipleship, the ministry of the discipleship and family group includes family ministry, senior adult ministry, student ministry, men's and women's ministry and publication of some of LifeWay's highest circulation magazines such as "HomeLife," "Mature Living," "Journey" and "Stand Firm."

Before joining the Sunday School Board, Edgemon was director of volunteer projects coordination and director of evangelism planning and consultation for the Southern Baptist Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board). He and his wife, Anna Marie, also served with the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) as missionaries to Japan for seven years. He was pastor of several churches in Texas after graduating from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

After retiring from LifeWay, Edgemon said he plans to continue serving as an interim pastor, writing, teaching and speaking for LifeWay and other organizations. He said he plans to spend more time with his wife and with his daughter and son-in-law, Lori and Douglas Shepard, and his two grandchildren, Nathan Roy and Sarah Elizabeth Shepard, of Austin, Texas.

"My prayers for this organization and the challenge it has to be one of God's instruments for reclaiming a lost world will continue as long as I live, and I stand ready to help in any way I can in the years ahead," Edgemon said.

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