Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias steps down from ministry leadership after 35 years
Salt&Light // November 18, 2019, 7:05 pm
At 73, Zacharias intends to focus on the three things he loves most: Speaking, writing and spending time with family. All photos from Ravi Zacharias' Facebook page.
Christian apologist, philosopher and evangelist Ravi Zacharias announced this month that he has stepped down from leadership at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), handing the reins to Michael Ramsden as President and Sarah Davis as CEO.
“RZIM’s mission, vision and intention to serve God will not change, and we have made a change in leadership that will equip us to remain strong and secure in the coming years,” said the highly-esteemed speaker and author, whose bestsellers include Can Man Live Without God?, The Grand Weaver, and Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality.
Called from death to life
Known as one of the greatest thinkers of this generation, Zacharias received Christ at the age of 17 – after a suicide attempt during a time of helplessness and unbelief.
At 26, Zacharias began his ministry as an itinerant evangelist with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada. Through the years, his heart was always in evangelism even as he went through graduate school and was teaching.
“People had and have legitimate questions about God and faith. It is our responsibility and privilege to answer them.”
It was only after speaking at the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists led by Billy Graham in 1983 that he “clearly sensed the need for evangelism undergirded by apologetics”.
“People had and have legitimate questions about God and faith. It is our responsibility and privilege to answer them,” he said.
A year later, Zacharias founded RZIM with the aim of building a team that could “make an impact on our times”.
Today RZIM has over 90 full-time speakers and 300 staff in 15 countries. The headquarters in Atlanta in the United States is home to over a third of RZIM’s staff.
“Running on different tracks and using different means, we are proclaimers of the Gospel message,” he said.
RZIM is also engaged in apologetics training through the RZIM Academy and The Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA) and in humanitarian work under Wellspring International.
Standing on the shoulders of giants
Having led and directed RZIM since its founding 35 years ago, Zacharias will continue to be Chairman of the Board but will no longer be involved in daily operations, which will be handled by old-timers Ramsden and Davis.
According to Zacharias, Ramsden was one of the earliest members of the team and has been an apologist with RZIM for 25 years. He also helped found OCCA.
“For years, it has been on my heart for him to take this leadership role,” said Zacharias of Ramsden, who has a background in law and economics.
And Davis has been with RZIM for more than 16 years, most recently as the Global Director and CEO of Zacharias Trust. She is also Zacharias’ eldest daughter.
“When you run alone, you run a race. When you run with God, you run by grace.”
These two appointments were made with the board and affirmed by senior leadership within the ministry, said Zacharias.
“This is a new dawn for us with 35 years of memorable sunsets — and many more to come. I read on a church marquee recently: ‘When you run alone, you run a race. When you run with God, you run by grace.’ We will continue to run with Him and for Him.”
The spritely 73-year-old, who is in good health, intends to spend his days doing the three things that he loves most: Speaking, writing, and spending time with his family.
“I am not going anywhere to do anything else. RZIM was birthed in my soul. I will continue my itinerant call. It’s in my blood.”