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Maureen Girkins isn't just the newest face in Christian book publishing—her appointment as president and CEO of Zondervan also exemplifies the new face of Christian publishing. As the industry looks to emerging media and nontraditional markets, Girkins comes not from inside Christian publishing but from the communications technology world. Meanwhile, the former Dell, Motorola, and Bell Laboratories executive has been demonstrating a commitment to Christian intellectual life at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where she is enrolled in the M.Div. program. Classmate Collin Hansen, a Christianity Today editor at large, asked Girkins about what lies ahead for Christian publishing.

How did you end up with me in Greek exegesis class at Trinity?

Throughout my career, I have felt a tug to serve the kingdom more directly. But each time I stepped out, it became clear that I was designed to be working in the corporate world.

When Hurricane Katrina hit, I volunteered to lead a group from 16 churches in Chicago's western suburbs to go to New Orleans. That got me a lot more involved with the entire Christian community, and it also made clear to me how active God really is. I always believed he was active, but I would see multiple miracles a day in Mississippi. It was the first time in my life when I knew God was so clearly directing me and the people I was with. We'd start out building a church and the resources would show up. If we headed down a path and nothing showed up, then we said, "Okay, this wasn't meant to be."

When that effort started to slow down, I realized how much more there was to learn about the Bible and churches, so I entered the M.Div. program. I really like to learn intensively with brilliant people. I have three ...

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April 2008

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