New President - Evangel University be_ixf;ym_202206 d_29; ct_50

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The Fifth President of Evangel University

Dr. Mike Rakes

Dr. Mike Rakes, a graduate of Central Bible College and the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, has been unanimously selected by Evangel University’s Board of Trustees as the university’s fifth president. Dr. Rakes is a skilled educator and minister and brings to the university a depth of knowledge in higher education, long range strategic planning, community engagement, and ministry.

A Word from the Rakes


2006 – 2021: Lead pastor, Winston Salem First, Winston-Salem, NC

2009-2012: Founder, Bridges Christian College, New Orleans, LA

2000-2006: Vice President for Student Development, Southeastern University, Lakeland, FL

1993-1999: Department Chair (Practical Ministry) and Professor, Southeastern University, Lakeland, FL

1996-2003: Church planter, GreeneWay Church, Orlando, FL

2000-2006: Consultant and Curriculum Writer, The Character Company, Myrtle Beach, SC

1991-1996: Senior Pastor, Calvary Assembly, Winter Haven, FL


2021: Published second book, Surrendered & Unafraid: The Flourishing of Faith During Seasons of Suffering

2015: Published first book, Slings & Stones: How God Works in the Mind to Inspire Courage in the Heart

2013-2021: Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Oral Roberts University, Leadership Committee member

2009: Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach with Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT)

2006: Created church-based cohorts for M.A. degree in Florida and North Carolina

Their Story

The Rakes

Mike is an educator, motivator, author, pastor, and storyteller, and he and his wife, Darla, have a passion for reflecting God’s compassion and empowering others to pursue service-oriented lives. As the lead pastors of Winston-Salem First, Mike and Darla worked closely with city officials and key community leaders to address the needs of the under-resourced. They implemented the 24sixchurch concept within their congregation, moving the emphasis from Sunday morning church to meaningful and practical ministry six days a week. Mike looks forward to beginning his work at EU by listening to and meeting with faculty, students, staff, and alumni.

Affirmations for Dr. Mike Rakes

Rev. Doug Clay

Assemblies of God
General Superintendent
Evangel University Trustee

“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.”

Christy Poppin

Evangel University

“I am very excited to welcome Dr. Mike Rakes and his wife, Darla, to EU.  I believe Dr. Rakes has the breadth of experience and expertise to lead Evangel in its unique purpose and calling.”

Dr. Rick Ross

EU Board of Trustees

“Mike is a dynamic and innovative leader who is extremely qualified to carry on Evangel University’s mission. He sees the big picture and looks for creative ways to lift up those around him, especially students. I am excited for Mike, his wife Darla, and the Evangel University family. I am confident he will take the university to new levels of academic excellence and success.”

Dr. George O. Wood

World AG Fellowship Chairman

“Mike has a breadth and scope of experience and vision that make him a tremendous choice as the next president of Evangel University. 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.”

Overview of Presidential Search Process

A national executive search firm assisted in the presidential search process, along with recommendations from the university’s board of trustees. Presidential search and selection committees were established to vet candidates. In-depth interviews by the leadership committee of the board of trustees were conducted and a final candidate was presented to the board of trustees for a final vote of approval.

Books by Dr. Mike Rakes

Slings & Stones: How God Works in the Mind to Inspire Courage in the Heart

Surrendered & Unafraid: The Flourishing of Faith During Seasons of Suffering