OUR STORY: DENNIS AND BARBARA RAINEY
It was the summer of 1971 and a good friend of mine came to me seeking counsel. She was in a dating relationship with a man who was hot and cold about their relationship, and she needed some counsel and encouragement. I asked my friend two questions that, as she answered them in the weeks that followed, gave her the courage to break off the relationship.
I asked her if she believed if God was big enough to provide her with a man that she could love more than the man she’d been dating? She replied, “Of course.”
And I told her a story of a young boy, Johnny, who was playing in his front yard when his uncle Jim pulled into the driveway. His uncle walked over to him, bent down on one knee and reached into his pocket and pulled out a shiny dime and crisp dollar bill. Holding the dime in one hand and the dollar in the other, he looked Johnny in the eyes and asked him a question. “Johnny boy, would you like a dime today or a dollar next week?”
Johnny’s eyes brightened as they bounced back and forth from the dime to the dollar. He pondered what he could buy with each … he could snag a rubber ball with the dollar or a package of potato chips with the dime. (This was when a dime could buy a package of chips.) Johnny was hit with a hunger pang, so he reached up with his hand and grabbed the dime, said thanks to his uncle, and went to the store for some chips. He ate then all—they were so tasty.
A week later Johnny noticed that every boy in his neighborhood was playing with a rubber ball. So he jumped on his bike and went to see his uncle. “Hey Uncle Jim,” he said, “I came for that dollar you promised me!”
Shaking his head, his uncle bent down and said, “No, Johnny boy. Don’t you remember? I promised you a dime today or a dollar next week … and you took the dime, so you can’t have the dollar.”
As I finished the story with my friend, I asked Barbara a second question, “Do you believe that perhaps the guy you are dating is God’s dime and that He has a dollar for you later on?” She nodded.
I didn’t realize it at that time, but that good friend, Barbara Ann Peterson, would one year later become Barbara Ann Rainey, my bride!
And when sharing this story I grin and love saying, “And you are looking at Barbara’s DOLLAR!”
Two became eight
After we dated for a couple of months, I was convinced I’d found my dollar and asked Barbara to marry me during a long-distance call at 2 a.m. her time. She said yes. And the next morning I had a dozen roses delivered to her. Six weeks later we were married!
God’s favor also rested on us from the very beginning. Two became one and over the next dozen years he blessed us with six children. First came a little girl, Ashley … then Benjamin, Samuel, Rebecca, Deborah, and Laura. We experienced Psalm 127:3-5 that children are a heritage, a reward, a blessing, and generational messengers.
We like to say that early on, we mistakenly thought that God gave us six children to help them grow up. But in the process of fulfilling our duties as parents, we discovered that these six were designed by Him to help us grow up!
Our four daughters and two sons would all marry, and God has indeed blessed them too … We now have 26 grandchildren, with another on the way. To paraphrase Psalm 16:6, our heritage is beautiful to us!
Origins of a Vision
In 1976 we joined Don and Sally Meredith and Mick and Helen Yoder and started FamilyLife. We were very young and had only been married four years. We were inexperienced in marriage and family issues, including the leadership needed to start an organization. We said “yes” to God’s call on our lives because for five years we’d seen the breakdown of the family and its impact as we’d worked with teens and college students. We also knew that there were three relationships in life that we were not naturally gifted in achieving success:
Our relationship with God
Our marriage relationship and our responsibilities as husband and wife
Our relationship with our children and what God expects of a mom and dad.
Our parent organization, Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ, gave our small team the platform to begin training all the engaged couples who were on Cru staff at a weekend conference. Eventually, this weekend getaway was opened up to the public and it ultimately became the “Weekend to Remember.” Millions have now attended this marriage conference worldwide.
Eventually, God gave us the privilege of leading an organization that God would use to touch millions of lives, marriages, and families in more than 110 countries globally. We even tried to quit a couple of times, but He wouldn’t let us leave. We like to say that FamilyLife grew into a worldwide ministry in spite of us … certainly not because of us!
Over the years we learned that family is the DNA of every person and is a language that is spoken in every country around the world. What a wonderful conduit to open up a conversation with people about Jesus and their relationship with God.
As Barbara and I remember the last four decades we both marvel at how God took us, a pair of selfish, broken human beings, and used us to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ and His blueprints to help people in life’s most important relationships … God, marriage, and parenting. Our response to this journey of a lifetime is found in the apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Succession and transition to a new season
At our initiative we transitioned out of being President and CEO of FamilyLife because we knew that this ministry would need a next-generation leader to effectively multiply its impact to the generations that followed. In December 2017 we made a successful handoff to David and Meg Robbins, a couple who we predict will have a great impact in marriages and families globally.
Because we didn’t believe in “retirement,” Barbara and I had prayed for years about what our next season might look like after stepping out of leadership of FamilyLife. We didn’t want to kick into neutral and “rust out.” Instead we wanted to purposefully “wear out” and join God in what He is doing in this generation (Acts 13:36).
We wanted to continue to love on, invest in and cheer on our children, their spouses, and our growing number of incredible grandchildren. We also wanted to continue equipping men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and grandparents to fulfill God’s generational assignment for them in the Great Commission. We desire to continue helping the staff of Cru, the church and the generations that follow in living out a courageous faith and passing our love for Jesus Christ to future generations.
Our prayers ultimately narrowed down to one word and two questions. The word? Leverage, because it was just the two of us … we had to find ways of helping people without building a big organization.
That led us to the two questions:
· How could we leverage the content we’ve created?
How can we leverage who we are—our experience, wisdom, gifts, and dreams?
Birth of a new strategic direction and a new channel for executing it
Our journey resulted in two years of praying, dreaming, getting counsel from trusted friends, planning and carefully taking an inventory of all that we’ve created over the years. And it’s a lot—we estimate close to 50 million words or spoken and written content all based upon the timeless truth of Scripture. The following is a high level look:
Two 365-day devotionals for couples from two books that sold over a million copies … a daily devo for couples available free if you wish to subscribe. And after you finish that one, we’ll give you another one to finish in the following year.
Over 6,250 radio programs, that biblically address hundreds of subjects around life, marriage and family.
Hundreds of articles on marriage and family issues that we have written individually and as a couple.
35 books and Bible studies that we authored or co-authored.
A number of videos and video series on marriage, parenting and manhood issues.
Barbara has created a website called EverThineHome.com where she offers help to parents and grandparents about walking with Christ and making Him known in their homes. She writes a weekly blog with over 40,000 subscribers and has over 900 blog posts that you can access at: www.everthinehome.com
And we want to continue writing, podcasting, and doing videos on line.
TheRaineys.org is a biblically-based, resource-rich platform that will digitally deliver and leverage the content you need in the way you wish to receive it … text, audio, or video. It’s all designed to grow your courage and your faith to face the issues that this culture is throwing at you, your marriage, and your children and grandchildren.
Welcome to TheRaineys.org. We want to be your “go-to” trusted website for your life and your most important relationships. We’ve loaded this website with some of the very best, nutritious morsels for your spiritual pallet to enjoy … with more to follow. As you explore our modest website, we wanted you to be aware that we’ve got a lot more content to put up!
Stay tuned and keep in touch … you will find that we have several innovative surprises for you!
Lace-up your hiking boots, and enjoy the great adventure that God has custom-designed for you, your spouse, and your children and grandchildren,
Dennis and Barbara