Inspiring Visit to CIU

Posted on February 6, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

It is always an inspiring and uplifting experience when we travel periodically to South Carolina for a board meeting at Columbia International University or to confer with staff and attend other significant events. Being individuals that are rather one-dimensional and focused on our mission calling, we have found CIU to be a quality educational institution focused uniquely on biblical inerrancy, world evangelization and victorious Christian living. A large proportion of its 17,000 graduates have gone out as missionaries with alumni currently serving in 150 countries around the world.

Under the leadership of Dr. Bill Jones, president, CIU has reflected growth, reaching its second highest enrollment in its 90-year history this year. Facilities have expanded and been improved, an intercollegiate athletic program been initiated and new academic programs added while maintaining a commitment to the core values and its motto–“knowing Christ and making Him known.” CIU is not only devoted to training missionaries and professional Christian ministers but Christian professionals in the marketplace from a biblical worldview.

Bobbye enjoying fellowship with board wives

The university of more than a thousand students includes the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Counseling, College of Intercultural Studies, and the Seminary and School of Missions. Under the umbrella of CIU is Ben Lippen School, a Christian High School, two elementary school campuses and Christian radio stations in Columbia and Charlotte. It also has an affiliated branch school in Korntal, Germany training a significant international student body for evangelism and missions.

Jerry with Gov. David Beasley (former SC governor) and CIU president Dr. Bill Jones

The board has approved the addition of a major in business and organizational leadership to equip students in the field of business as well as the potential of using business as missions. We were informed that Dr. Benjamin Dean had been enlisted to lead this program; with a MBA, law degree, Ph.D. in organizational leadership and nine years of missionary service overseas with Pioneers, he represents the quality and experience reflected in a dedicated faculty.

Many thought that Bobbye and I would be moving to Columbia when it was announced that I had assumed leadership of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at CIU. However, with an excellent staff and advisory board I am able to assist in planning, strategy and marketing of programs with only occasional trips to campus. I will, however, be teaching a summer intensive on Spiritual Warfare and Missions. Many of the degree programs at CIU are accessible online, and one of the first to be completed this year will be the MA in Muslim studies in the College of Intercultural Studies. This will enable missionaries and other students around the world to sharpen their skills for understanding and relating to Muslims in what is clearly a cutting-edge challenge of contemporary mission strategies.

Our week concluded with a Development Departure retreat at Myrtle Beach with many of the faithful supporters of the University. It was a blessing to expand our realm of friendships with many throughout the country who are committed to the vision. It was a relaxing time in which each day in which our morning devotional was begun watching the sunrise over the ocean from our beachfront balcony!

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