Sarah Davis, the CEO of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries has stepped down from her position to start her a new apologetics organization, called “Encounter.”
Davis led RZIM following the death of her father, Ravi Zacharias, who was under investigation for sexual abuse. She also took charge during the downsizing of the global apologetics ministry. Prior to joining RZIM in 2001, she worked as an advancement officer at Pepperdine University and a marketing assistant at CNN.
The sexual abuse allegations against Zacharias claimed that he abused massage therapists while his family members and ministry members failed to hold him accountable for his actions. A 12 page report was released in February by RZIM, confirming that Zacharias abused women at day spas that he owned in Atlanta, Georgia. It also uncovered five other victims in the U.S., along with evidence of sexual abuse in Thailand, India, and Malaysia,
According to Christianity Today, Zacharias used thousands of dollars of ministry funds dedicated to “humanitarian effort” to pay for massage therapists, giving them housing, schooling, and monthly support.
One of the therapists told investigators, “after he arranged for the ministry to provide her with financial support, he required sex from her.”
In a video, Davis acknowledged her father’s sexual abuse and said she hadn’t intended to be involved with ministry.
“It was really the last thing I wanted to do,” she said. “In many ways, my life as the daughter of an evangelist hasn’t been what I would have hoped.”
According to incorporation papers filed in Georgia, the purpose of Encounter is to “[carry] the Gospel invitation to individuals and engaging in their questions so that they may encounter the love of Christ and enter relationship with Him.”
Davis’ new ministry is expected to share office space with the old RZIM five-story building in Alpharetta, Georgia. According to people familiar with the plans of Encounter, Davis will have junior speakers from RZIM which employed nearly 100 apologists in over a dozen offices around the world.
The staff of Encounter will also include Alycia Wood, who studied criminal justice and social justice and has been with RZIM for about seven years, Alexandra “Xandra” Carroll, who joined RZIM about a year ago and specializes in faith and science, and Louis Phillips, who previously worked for a purity ring ministry and has spoken frequently about sexual ethics.