Interviewed by Dr. Bev Upton Williams
I’m delighted to introduce you to Jerri Nims Rooker, our new chief international operations officer. Jerri is responsible for Haggai International’s ministry programming. This includes the international ministry development (IMD) and equipping teams. IMD is responsible for the selection of leaders to attend the virtual or in-person Haggai Leader Experience (HLE), and oversight and support of our National Ministry seminars. Equipping encompasses leadership of the HLE, both the virtual and in-person programs, and subsequent support of the leaders after they return to their own nations.
While Jerri’s family has a long history with Haggai International, I met her on a professional basis in 2009 when she was the chief operations officer for Teach Every Nation (TEN). We would meet for lunch to “compare notes” about equipping indigenous leaders in our respective programs and to simply support and encourage each other. It is my hope this interview is a way for you to get to know the newest member of Haggai’s executive leadership team.
Dr. Bev: How did you get involved in Haggai International?
Jerri: Dr. Haggai was instrumental to my very existence! That sounds far-fetched, but it’s true. Dr. Haggai joined my grandfather and Bill Bright to marry my parents, Jerry and Jackie Nims, over 53 years ago. I have grown up in this ministry – my parents remained close personal friends of John and Christine Haggai and have always been involved in Haggai International. The Haggais even served as the godparents to my sister Jacqueline. This lifelong friendship has literally been a “God-thing”! Each time we saw Dr. Haggai, he would passionately share about the impact of Haggai International’s ministry around the world. Now many years later, it is a great privilege to officially join Haggai International’s executive team.
Jerri Nims Rooker (right) and her family with Dr. John Edmund Haggai.
B: As an attorney, how have you used your skills and experience in the nonprofit sector?
J: Attorneys and operations executives are both, at the core, problem solvers. When considering an issue, we figure out what led to the issue, define its components, and work to resolve it. The Lord has allowed me to leverage my legal training through executive-level organizational leadership in the educational, nonprofit, and ministry sectors. Before joining Haggai, I served as the COO for TEN, a global Christian training ministry. Previously, I served in leadership at the Georgia Family Council. I began my legal career helping found and lead the Center for Law, Health, and Society at Georgia State University College of Law, which was ranked second nationally by U.S. News & World Report my final year with the program.
B: Tell us what your roles and responsibilities were with TEN and how that experience will help you with your new role here?
J: As a member of the founding executive team at TEN, I collaborated on building the new ministry from the ground up, including mission- and vision-setting, strategic planning and implementation, and related organizational structure, policies, and processes. In addition, I led global operations, finance, and major giving initiatives. Substantively, both TEN and Haggai involve equipping adults to follow Christ’s Great Commission more effectively. Operationally, while Haggai is not a start-up and has a long, productive history, we are currently re-engineering various aspects of how courses are delivered. I can borrow from my prior experiences leading organizational growth to ensure Haggai continues to deliver high-quality equipping programs and increase its Gospel impact.
B: What attracted you to the mission of Haggai International and to ultimately say “yes” to God’s calling to join the team?
J: Ever since I was a small child, one of my heart’s desires has been to share our Savior’s Good News with others. My interest is centered around developing ways to share the Gospel with large numbers of those who have never heard of Christ’s saving grace. Haggai’s focus on equipping leaders to effectively present the Gospel and prepare others to do so is ideally aligned with my personal mission to obey Christ’s Great Commission.
B: Jerri, I knew God would bring just the right person to fill this important role, and we couldn’t be more grateful that He called you here. I pray that we will be as great a blessing to you as you already are to this ministry and the teams you lead. What are you excited about in your areas of responsibility of equipping and international ministry development?
J: First and foremost, I am excited to lead an incredibly high-quality team of leaders! Our international leadership team is composed of professionals who joined Haggai after decades of experience in the marketplace. Their professional backgrounds and years of experience as Haggai leaders before becoming staff are instrumental to the success of the international department and our 50+ team members around the world. Working with such a high-caliber team, Haggai’s impact is truly exponential.
B: Jerri, on a personal note, tell us about your family.
J: Yes, as you may have noticed, family is a highly valued part of my life! I am so grateful to the Lord for my 15-year marriage to Brian who is also an operations executive. Together we have our joyful 10-year-old daughter, Avalee, who is going into the fifth grade this year. We also have a spirited seven-pound Morkie, Honey Lu, who keeps us all on our toes.