Ministry Today | Serving and empowering church leaders

Dr. Turnaround

Dr. Mark Rutland clearly knows how to save struggling organizations. But equally as impressive as his turnaround record is his passion to empower leaders like you for growth.f-Strang-DrTurnaround

Anyone can lead when things are going great. Just show up and act like a leader! But when things are going down or there’s crisis, that’s when you find out who are the true leaders.

Dr. Mark Rutland is a true leader. He led a major turnaround in the 1990s at Calvary Assembly in Winter Park, Fla.—the church where Charisma started and where I served on staff for five years. He did it again at Southeastern College (now University) in Lakeland, Fla., where my dad was a professor when I was a teen. Now he’s doing it again at Oral Roberts University (ORU).

Calvary Assembly went through a painful scandal in 1981. And though the church survived, it went from 5,000 attendees to 1,800 within a nine-year period while taking on huge debt to build a 5,500-seat sanctuary. Rutland was able to stave off bankruptcy, heal a hurting congregation and build up attendance to 3,600 before he left.

At Southeastern he took a slowly dying institution with a run-down campus and within 10 years tripled enrollment and transformed the campus into a thing of beauty. He also inspired the athletic program, which had never won a championship, to win 11 national championships in four sports. 

In the meantime, he changed Southeastern from a college to a university while garnering national spotlight by bringing in national leaders such as President George W. Bush. When he left to take the helm at ORU, Southeastern had an enrollment larger than ORU and is the largest Assemblies of God university in the nation.

John Maxwell says everything rises or falls on leadership, and I believe he’s right. Whether a church or ministry endures hardship and grows is the result of many things, including God’s grace and faith. 

But leadership is one of the main ingredients God uses, and leadership principles can be taught—a truth that’s often overlooked in charismatic/Pentecostal circles. That’s why we asked Rutland to be guest editor of this issue and share his wisdom. What I’ve seen with my own eyes at Calvary Assembly, Southeastern University and now ORU is nothing short of amazing. 

I hope you’ll pour over this issue and glean all you can. But there’s more invaluable training available to you beyond the printed page. You can become a part of Rutland’s National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL), which is co-sponsored by Ministry Today.

NICL involves four intense sessions that we advertise elsewhere in this issue. As I write this we’ve had two of the first four for this year, and they’ve been so good we have nothing but raving fans—including some high-profile ministry leaders. The sessions are small and intimate. Rutland’s teaching is practical, and he breaks down things in a way that not only makes sense, it turns big-picture concepts into relevant, applicable solutions for the real world.

I’ve personally benefited from these sessions, even though I’ve been a leader almost as long as Rutland. His concepts have been helpful as I lead Charisma Media through enormous changes in technology and the publishing industry. And the advice he’s given me on specific situations I’m grappling with has been particularly valuable.

You can receive the same personal coaching from Rutland when you sign up for the NICL. His leadership training has impacted countless pastors and ministry leaders. The next two sessions will be held Sept. 12-14 at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., and Nov. 7-9 at Strang Center in Lake Mary, Fla., located near Orlando. You can begin this fall and finish the four classes in a different order. Or plan to attend the four sessions of NICL in 2012: Feb. 6-8 (on leadership management); March 26-28 (on staff and volunteers); Sept. 10-12 (on preaching and worship); and Nov. 12-14 (on strategic leadership for growth). For more information, visit

Enjoy this issue and consider moving to the next level with participating in this live leadership training.

Steve Strang has published eight books by Mark Rutland. Visit to see a list of these and to read a chapter on loyalty from Rutland's book, Character Matters, which he says is one of his best. You can follow Steve on Facebook or Twitter @sstrang and @ministry21.

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