In a synergistic alliance between old friends, Mark Rutland is joining the preaching team at Jentezen Franklin’s fast-growing Free Chapel church.
Both men are in a ministry transition of sorts and want to band together to build the kingdom of God. Free Chapel, a megachurch in the Atlanta area with a campus in Irvine, Calif., just opened its third location in Georgia. And Rutland will soon move on from his role as the third president of Oral Roberts University (ORU).
“We are thrilled and honored to have such a legendary leader as part of our preaching team,” says Franklin, noting that Rutland will preach at one of Free Chapel’s campuses at least twice a month. “He’s one of the most amazing leaders and communicators of the gospel in our time.”
Although he’s known as a turnaround specialist, Rutland is no stranger to the pulpit. The charismatic leader has served as pastor of Calvary Assembly of God in Orlando, Fla., and as associate pastor at Mount Paran Church of God in Atlanta. Rutland is still a popular figure in the Atlanta area.
“I used to preach at Free Chapel when it was much smaller than it is now,” Rutland recalls. “Free Chapel gives us a solid platform with a ministry I believe in and depend on. I have a lot of confidence in Jentezen Franklin. This is a good alliance.”
Rutland will also continue his work as president of Global Servants, a worldwide nonprofit missions organization he launched in 1977. Global Servants has planted churches and offered humanitarian aid in Ghana. The ministry also runs House of Grace, a rescue home in Thailand for girls in danger of being bought and sold into prostitution.
“We’ve been in high velocity turnarounds for 25 years and we’re ready to teach what we know,” says Rutland, who will be leaving ORU by June 2013. “I’m free 28 Sundays a year to work on the National Christian Institution of Leadership and take on other assignments while being anchored at a wonderful home church.”
Free Chapel is welcoming Rutland during a time of growth, and he will begin preaching there immediately. In addition to the Gainesville, Ga., and Irvine campuses—both of which host thousands each week—Free Chapel just opened a new campus in Gwinnett, Ga., which is 20 miles from Atlanta.
“We opened a 21-acre campus in Gwinnett and it’s exploding,” says Franklin. “As a church, we’re elated to have somebody the caliber and quality of Dr. Rutland pouring into our people and our congregation. We believe it’s a blessing for him and for Free Chapel.”