Professor recognized for decades of mission work

brantin@thestate.com (803) 771-8306August 25, 2013 

Jerry Rankin

— Columbia International University professor Jerry Rankin is being honored for his decades of work in Christian missions.

Rankin, director of the university’s Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies, will receive the 2013 Lifetime of Service award from Mission Nexus during the group’s annual conference Sept. 19-21 in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Mission Nexus seeks to unify mission agencies in their fulfillment of “The Great Commission” of Jesus Christ to spread the Christian faith around the world. Organization leaders say the Lifetime of Service Award “affirms the value of finishing well” and “celebrates the faithfulness of God as evidenced in a life of service to the cause of global mission.”

Rankin served for 23 years on the mission field and then for 17 years as president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention until his retirement in 2010. He has since been in his current position at Columbia International University. Rankin also serves on the university’s board of trustees.

The Zwemer Center offers in-depth courses on Islam and fosters dialogue and research on topics related to Islam.

Rankin said he was overwhelmed by his recent selection, noting “God’s providence” during his 40 years with the International Mission Board.

“We experienced unprecedented growth and global impact during my 17 years as president,” Rankin said. “We were able to lead in a restructuring of organization and strategy in order to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world. It is obvious that God simply allowed me to hold a leadership role when He chose to move in radical ways to fulfill His mission.”

Rankin is the second person associated with Columbia International University to receive the award. University president emeritus Robertson McQuilkin received the honor in 2010.

“I believe, more than a personal recognition, receiving the Lifetime of Service Award honors CIU due to my continuing relationship and involvement with its Great Commission vision,” Rankin said. “How significant that CIU would be connected with two of the recipients.”

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