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Director of CIU’s Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies to receive Lifetime of Service Award

August 22, 2013

Dr. Jerry Rankin, the director of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University (CIU), will be honored for his decades of work in Christian missions. Rankin will receive the 2013 Lifetime of Service award from Missio Nexus at the group’s annual conference in Dallas/Fort Worth, Sept. 19-21. Missio Nexus unifies mission agencies in their fulfillment of “The Great Commission” of Jesus to spread the Christian faith around the world.     

Missio Nexus 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, followed by 17 years as president of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention until his retirement in 2010. Since then he has served as the director of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at CIU. The Zwemer Center offers in-depth courses on Islam and fosters dialogue and research on topics related to Islam. Rankin also serves a member of the CIU Board of Trustees.

Rankin says he is overwhelmed at being selected for the award, noting God’s providence during his 40 years with the IMB.

“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 CIU to receive the award. CIU President Emeritus Robertson McQuilkin was honored by Missio Nexus 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!”