Farewell Thomas Nelson


Last Friday was my last day at Thomas Nelson. I can still remember Sam Moore, during a conversation in his office, saying, "Hire him!" That was six years ago and the beginning of what I believe to be a calling from God and unbelievable privilege to work with a team of committed people who want to help people find's Gods voice through His word. I'm humbled and deeply grateful for my time there.


We were able to develop some incredible products and concepts over the last six years:

Million Bible Challenge. We all thought that the goal of 1 million Bibles in twelve months was staggering. Little did we know that between Nelson, retailers and local churches we'd surpass that goal in FIVE MONTHS. To date, I think nearly six million of these Bibles have been given away. Incredible.

Word of Promise. When Carl Amari came to us with this idea we were excited and thrilled to have him as a partner. After an incredible launch of the New Testament two years ago this multi-award-winning product came alive again this year with the release of the full Bible. Over 600 actors, award winning score, 5.1 sound. At times we felt like we were docking the Queen Mary, but the team pulled it all together and it's a certified best selling product that gives people a new way to experience God's word.

Chronological Study BIble. This idea was a combination shower idea and retail experience. When I presented the concept to the team, they dug deep and developed a beautiful, 4-color product that's been at or near the top of best-seller lists since its release a little over a year ago. Like Word of Promise and many other of our products, it served as another way for people to seek and discover God's word through a unique and different format.

Felt Need Merchandising. This was an inside and outside team challenge.  My retail experience combined with Barna research and the folks at cult branding developed a system that helps customers find bibles by how they want to shop, instead of terms they don't understand. Nelson's Bible marketing and sales teams did the rest and most every retailer who adopted the system experienced double-digit growth. Not bad.

Expanded Bible. Yet another shower idea that the team took to a new level. I knew many people who used the Amplified Bible, yet the base translation is dated. The scholar team led by Trempor Longman helped us develop an outstanding alternative that not only has alternate meanings, but helps the reader understand culture, other uses of the words, context and much more. I'm excited to see the full Bible.

The Voice. Perhaps the freshest and most intriguing translation of the BIble in many years. The Voice works from the original manuscripts and, unlike most Bibles, keeps the text in the original "voice" of the writer. It is typeset in screen play format for easy reading during worship and presents compelling commentary and help for the reader. It's truly a partnership between artist and scholar and the final work received rave reviews. 

The authors. What a privilege to work with Max Lucado, John MacArthur, John Maxwell, Charles Stanley, Henry Blackaby and other pastors and teachers. These men of God truly love God's word and helping others discover it.

There were other products, milestones and campaigns that we accomplished. Each one designed to help people find God's voice more easily and more directly.

I'll miss working with this team of professionals (sorry, I'd list names, but know I'd forget someone, you know who you are and you know your contribution).

God's called me to a new chapter in my life. I feel as strongly as I did six years ago of that calling. Since 1992 my life mission has been to put life changing materials into the hands of people who need them and I appreciate Thomas Nelson giving me an opportunity to continue that mission through the BIble Group.


22 Responses to “Farewell Thomas Nelson”

  1. Scott Winter says:

    Thanks for posting, Wayne. I appreciated more than you will ever know the (VERY short) time I reported to you at Nelson.
    God bless you as you enter this new stage. I am here to support you, as you did me, during this transition. If there is anything I can do, let me know.

  2. Ron says:

    Congrats and good luck in your new endeavors.

  3. Jim Seybert says:

    Hey Wayne – the chorus of a new song from Carolyn Arends:
    “I can’t determine just whether or not He causes our troubles, or He makes them stop.
    But I am convinced we get one guarantee, there’s no situation He can’t redeem.
    When He moves in our hearts, that’s when we understand,
    It’s going according to plan.”
    I’m a bit peeved at yet another friend being rolled over by TN, but I also know it’s “going according to plan.”

  4. I first heard of you by getting involved on Twitter with TN folks over the past six months. I haven’t really had much of a chance to interact with you, but I’m sure I will be fascinated to keep watching how the new chapter in your life gets written.
    Given the great qualities of the other TN folks I’ve met, this much I know: whatever you’re moving on to must be REALLY good, or else you wouldn’t leave.

  5. Kirk Blank says:

    Thank you for your contributions to the industry – specifically your recent time at Nelson. What a joy to know we can trust God for our everything and I look forward to see where He has serve Him next.

  6. Steve Little says:

    I know that your vision, leadership, and passion will be missed at Thomas Nelson. I pray that you allow God to write an equally beautiful next chapter in your life. Stay in touch.

  7. Thanks, Jim, a solid reminder of who is in charge. Were trusting and serving.

  8. Brecca Theele says:

    Wayne, I just wanted to write and say that I learned and grew so much working with you at TN. God puts leaders out there in places they will serve and teach, and you will be placed exactly where God needs you the most. Looking forward to hearing your name again associated with something amazing!

  9. Thanks for the kind words, Brecca.

  10. Wayne,
    It was a pleasure working with you and the Bible team at TNI. I appreciate your heart for the Word of God and your strong relational skills. I have no doubt the next chapter in your career will be a successful one.

  11. Thanks for your generous, gracious spirit, Wayne. You are a great example.

  12. All God’s best with your new endeavors, Wayne! My prayer: “By His power, may God fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith” (2 Thess. 1:11b)…

  13. Wayne,
    I’m excited for you about what is just ahead…more adventure, more opportunity…more reasons to believe you’re not done by a long shot. I’m moving to Florida in January. Keep me posted as you determine your next steps. Bountiful blessings to you and Pam.

  14. Bruce Johnson - prez at SIM USA says:

    Wayne – our journey started in S. Calif. What both of us have experienced and know is that the Lord holds his plans for us right in the palm of his hand. Keep your passion and purpose and I look forward to seeing God’s next plan in using you for his purposes.

  15. Wayne, you’re gonna do just great in this next exciting chapter of your life. You are an amazing person, and one of the finest business executives I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Keep us posted!

  16. Kathleen Crow says:

    I don’t know what you or God have planned, but I know it will be a great adventure. Thanks for your leadership in my past life at TN. Many blessings on you, Wayne, and Pam as you serve Him.

  17. Thanks, Mike..

  18. Larry says:

    Thanks for your leadership and vision. I enjoyed learning from you.

  19. Tim Blair says:

    Wayne, you’re a hero, certainly one of mine.
    As a leader, you always leave a place better than you found it. That is definitely true of Thomas Nelson.
    So excited for you and Pam to see what God will pull you into next. Wherever that is, they don’t know how fortunate they are!
    Blessings to you my brother, know that Cathy and I are lifting you and Pam up before the God who gives and takes away.
    Blessed be His name.

  20. Susan Ligon says:

    Wayne, Many thanks for your partnership and heart for sharing God’s word and truth. May God guide and bless you in this new chapter.
    All the best, Susan

  21. Super post Wayne and a clear example of your leading role as a class act. I have a great sense of excitement as to what lies ahead. God bless us all, Ken

  22. Thanks, Ken, lets chat sometime, My Skype is wayne_hastings

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