By Melissa McCutchan
CIU Student Writer
Some of Christianity’s top missiologists, mission administrators and teachers gathered at Columbia International University for the annual Southeast regional meeting of the Evangelical Missiological Society (EMS) March 8-9.
The keynote address was given by Dr. Jerry Rankin, the director of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies at Columbia International University. His address titled “The Family: An Asset to Fulfilling God’s Mission,” pulled from personal experience and the experience of other missionary families. Rankin and his wife Bobbye served for 23 years in Asia as missionaries in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world.
“God has established certain institutions,” Rankin said. “Why indeed do we exist as a family structure? To fulfill God’s mission in the world.”
Rankin continued saying, that while the family contributes to God’s mission, the mission field also contributes to the missionary family.
“There’s something much more valuable to be gained,” Rankin said. “[Missionary children] don’t just hear the Bible stories. They live them.”
Rankin also emphasized ministering to the needs of the missionary, including counseling and adequate social care. He says that while the family is an asset in accomplishing the mission of God, it must also be nurtured.
“The opportunity to nurture a [child’s] walk with God is unique to the mission field, not only for the lack of distractions but for the chance to teach our children why we would take them to a place of spiritual darkness,” Rankin said.
The weekend featured other professors from CIU’s College of Intercultural Studies, including David Cashin, Chris Little, Ed Smither and Trevor Castor; and College of Counseling professors Harvey Payne and Leah Herod.