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Dr. Mike Rakes is Evangel University's Fifth President

Dr. Mike Rakes

Dr. Mike Rakes is now serving as Evangel University’s fifth president. Rakes transitioned to EU from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he and his wife, Darla, served as lead pastors of Winston-Salem First (WSF), a thriving Assemblies of God church, since 2006.

“I am so impressed with the academic organizations and programs at Evangel that demonstrate innovation and thought leadership,” said Rakes. “I look forward to connecting with the Evangel family and working with outstanding students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors to create a purposeful and strong future for Evangel.”

About Dr. Mike Rakes

Dr. Mike and Darla Rakes

Rakes, an ordained Assemblies of God minister, has led the diverse congregation of Winston Salem First as its visionary and relationally focused leader for the past 15 years. The church has cemented itself as a community partner through its “Do Good” initiative, focused on providing compassionate care and resources to those in need through a variety of outreach and service-focused opportunities.

In addition to his pastoral experience, Rakes is a proven leader in higher education. He served as the vice president for student development at Southeastern University, an Assemblies of God institution, in Lakeland, FL from 2000-2006 and as chair of its Practical Ministry Department from 1993-1999.

He has also been a church planter, pastor, consultant, and curriculum writer in Florida, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

“Mike has a breadth and scope of experience and vision that make him a tremendous choice as the next president of Evangel University,” said Dr. Wood. “He is a strategic leader with unparalleled integrity and wisdom. Mike makes things happen and will bring a positive “can do” attitude to the presidency. I look forward to watching Evangel’s future unfold under his leadership.”

Rakes is a graduate of Central Bible College and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministries and a master’s degree in Biblical Literature. He also holds a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Biola University with additional doctoral studies in management.

Rakes has previously served as chair of the board of trustees at Oral Roberts University, and is a member of the global ministry resource organization Empowered21, where he serves as liaison to Spirit-empowered scholars.

He is also a writer and published author. His latest book, “Surrendered and Unafraid: The Flourishing of Faith During Seasons of Suffering” is set to release this fall through the FEDD Agency. Charisma House published his first book titled “Slings and Stones” in 2015.

“Dr. Rakes’ life and ministry are a testament to his commitment to helping others fulfill their God-given callings. His investment in the lives of students at Evangel University will help build a brighter future,” said Rev. Doug Clay, Evangel University trustee and general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

Rakes and his wife, Darla, have a daughter, Whitney, who served as worship pastor at WSF until her passing in 2019 at the age of 27 after a courageous battle with cancer. They also have a son, Brayden, who is married to Heather, with one grandchild, Blake, and another grandchild, Beau, on the way.

“Evangel is a lead institution for our movement,” said Rakes. “The distinction and impact EU graduates have around the world is far-reaching. My wife and I are very enthusiastic and honored to now have the opportunity to serve at the place of our educational roots.”

To learn more about Dr. Mike Rakes, visit


About Evangel University

Evangel University, with the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), is a comprehensive Christian university committed to excellence in educating and equipping students to serve the Church and society globally. Evangel and AGTS serve more than 2,200 students from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries, offering 70 undergraduate majors and 19 master and doctoral degrees.