Columbia International University - A God Place (part 1)

May 2011 - Cover Story
by Aïda Rogers

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May 2011 - Cover Story

Bill Jones will be honest with you. When he came to Columbia International University in 1987, he planned to get his doctorate and leave. He was bound for other lands. Missionary material, he believed.

Terri Summers will be honest with you too. When she visited CIU four years ago as a high school senior, she was not impressed. Too small, she thought. Everybody seemed to know everybody. An introvert, she preferred larger classes. “I wanted to be a number,” she admits. That’s what she was used to at Dutch Fork High School, where her graduating class numbered more than 700 students.

Because CIU is a God place, though, He had other plans for Jones and Summers. Jones got his doctorate all right, but never left. Instead, he’s now the university’s sixth president. Summers will graduate from CIU this spring, having discovered who she is, what she wants to do, and that God wanted her at CIU all along. For Jones, Summers’ self-discovery is what makes his job “the best in the world.” He smiles and leans back in his office chair, clean-cut and boyish, looking not much older than the 20-something undergrads he oversees daily.

Why did Christ die for you?

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