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.

Evangel University selects new president

After conducting a nationwide search for its next president, the Evangel University Board of Trustees has announced the unanimous selection of Dr. Mike Rakes as the institution’s fifth president.

World-renowned evangelist Marilyn Hickey awarded AGTS Pillar of Faith

 Dr. Marilyn Hickey

SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) recently awarded Dr. Marilyn Hickey, teacher, televangelist and Assemblies of God (AG) minister, a Pillar of Faith in recognition of her global impact on the Church through biblical teaching and ongoing healing ministry.

“Marilyn has led an amazing life,” said Dr. George O. Wood, Evangel University (EU) interim president. “Here in the United States and around the world, Marilyn has a sterling reputation in ministry. We are grateful for her support of students who are preparing to make an impact in their future careers.”

Vice President and Dean of AGTS Dr. Tim Hager traveled to Hickey’s home in Colorado to present her with this prestigious award and to interview her about her life in ministry.

“Pillar of Faith Awards serve to highlight the great effectiveness of some of our fellowship’s top ministry leaders,” said Hager. “Marilyn is most deserving of this award.”

The video interview, which includes congratulatory messages from a number of ministry partners, including AG General Superintendent Rev. Doug Clay and Dr. George O. Wood, will premier this Saturday, March 20, at 6 p.m. on the AGTS Facebook page.

Foundation in ministry

Marilyn Hickey is the founder and president of Marilyn Hickey Ministries, a non-profit organization focused on international preaching and teaching, humanitarian outreach, and a daily motivational television broadcast.

Hickey and her late husband, Wallace, were actively involved in local church ministry, serving in a variety of pastoral roles in Texas and Colorado. A hallmark of their leadership was an emphasis on the Holy Spirit and biblical literacy.

 Dr. Hickey leads conferences around the world.

Local pastorates paved the way for Hickey to build a network of in-home Bible studies that led to a fully syndicated daily radio show and eventually a dynamic television ministry that includes a daily Bible teaching program with a potential reach of 2.5 billion people across a host of international tv networks.

“At the age of 42, God spoke so clearly to me about my calling in life,” said Hickey. “He said, “I want you to cover the earth with the Word.” His words brought me peace and direction.”

Global impact 

Hickey’s ministry has expanded to include speaking and teaching opportunities and Bible distribution events in over 138 countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Ethiopia, Sudan, Russia, India, and China. These visits included private meetings and prayer with high-ranking Muslim and Hindu government officials.

Her lectures on healing and the Bible have broken records for the largest public meeting ever held in Cairo, Egypt and Pakistan.

A ministry trip to northern Ethiopia in 2009 found Marilyn’s daughter, Sarah, holding newborn twins left abandoned in a field, and prompted the development of Hickey’s Saving Moses humanitarian initiative. This effort assists children ages five and under with basic food, water, shelter, and medical needs.

“For over 40 years, Marilyn’s life and ministry has been expanding the kingdom of God, not only here in the United States, but around the world.” said Clay. “The Assemblies of God family congratulates Marilyn and expresses our appreciation for her ministry among us.”

Well-deserved recognition

 Dr. Hickey preaches to a crowd in Pakistan.

Hickey has received commendation from the First Lady of Cambodia on her humanitarian efforts in the country, and was granted a private audience with then Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis to speak about her ministry work.

In 2008, Hickey was awarded a gift of recognition by the country of Egypt, an honor usually reserved for presidents and dignitaries.

In 2015, she was awarded a prestigious Lifetime Global Achievement on behalf of Oral Roberts University.

Pillars of Faith

The Pillars of Faith, awarded by AGTS, recognize men and women who have dedicated their lives to ministry and who have done so with commitment and excellence. Honorees hold an established endowment at the university that provides scholarship opportunities to students pursuing full-time ministry careers.

To support the Marilyn Hickey Pillar of Faith Endowed Scholarship, visit

To view the full video, click here.


About AGTS and Evangel University

AGTS serves the larger Pentecostal and Evangelical traditions with 21st century leadership for the Church and its mission. AGTS is accredited by The Association of Theological Schools and the Higher Learning Commission. AGTS is the embedded seminary of Evangel University, the national school of the Assemblies of God.