Leadership Profile: Mark Russell, Russell Media, USA

Q. Tell us about your family.

A. My wife, Laurie, and I have been married for over ten years. We met as missionaries in Russia and have served as a couple in Chile and Germany. Our son, Noah, was born in 2001 in Santiago, Chile. Our daughter, Anastasia, was born in 2003 in Munich, Germany.

Q. Give us a brief overview of your work and ministry.

A. My ministry has almost always focused on the marketplace and entrepreneurship. I've lived and worked in numerous countries and for various mission and microfinance organizations. My primary task at hand is growing our media company, Russell Media, whose mission is to rally the Church around global, transformational causes.


Q. What is your favorite quote?

A. “The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next. The difference between the two is the difference between living fully and just existing.” – Michael E. Gerber, author of The E-Myth Revisited

Q. Who has been the most influential person in your life/ministry, and why?

A. My wife has influenced me and challenged me in more ways than I ever imagined. She is a wise person with a unique perspective on all matters of life. I never do anything of significance without getting her input.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Evangelism. On Point.

Q. Describe a time in which you shared
your faith in Christ with someone who didn’t
know him, and then saw God clearly work in
that situation.

A. Not long ago someone mentioned to me
that he was really working at knowing God.
When I asked some questions, I realized he
was trying to do more good deeds than bad
so that he could get to heaven. I had him read
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have
been saved, through faith—and this not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works,
so that no one can boast.” At first, he argued
this could not be true and was contradictory to
everything he'd ever heard. Slowly, as I talked
to him about the person and purpose of Christ,
I could tell it sank in that this was something
he'd missed the entire time. He needed more
time to think about it before responding in faith,
but I could tell that God was at work.

A. Listen. I am convinced that we can learn something from every other person in the world. There is something they know that we don't or something they understand better than we do. Listening enables us to learn more and understand deeper. When we talk, we cannot learn because we are saying what we already know. 

Q. What one issue do you believe is the greatest barrier or opportunity to evangelism, and why?

A. The most significant barrier to evangelism is behavioral. It's not a lack of proof or understanding; it's that people don't want to change their behaviors to align with a sovereign God's expectations. The greatest opportunity is finding common ground with the world on causes (such as clean water, human trafficking, and world peace) and getting them outside of themselves (so they aren't focused on the behaviors) and come to see Christ and his followers as lovers of good and others.

Q. What book do you most often recommend, and why?

A. The book of James. It's powerful, challenging, and real. It grabs me every single time.

Q. What websites, bloggers, and tweeters do you regularly follow?

A. My favorite website is www.biblegateway.com. My favorite blogger is Michael Hyatt of Thomas Nelson Publishing House (www.michaelhyatt.com). My favorite tweeter is Scott Harrison of charity: water (@scottharrison)

Q. What would you like to be doing in ten years?

Books by Mark Russell

Russell, Mark, ed. 2009. Our Souls at Work: How
      Great Leaders Live Their Faith in the Global

_________. 2010. The Missional Entrepreneur:
      Principles and Practices for Business as Mission

Russell, Mark, Allen Yeh, Dwight Friesen,
      Michelle Sanchez, and Chelle Stearns.
      Forthcoming 2010. Routes & Radishes: And
      Other Things to Talk about at the Evangelical

A. Writing books and developing documentaries that help people be transformed and become agents of transformation. To be transformed means to be radically changed in every aspect of life. To love others differently, to view live through an others-focused spiritual lens and to manage our various responsibilities with wisdom and sensitivity. Being transformed means we live our faith consistently on a continual basis, which sets us on a journey of knowing God better, loving others more, and growing in Christlikeness. Becoming an agent of transformation means we are influential and instrumental in helping others become transformed. This relates to people with whom we are in close relationship as well as those with whom we have minimal contact. Influential agents of transformation enable social and spiritual change by helping many other people be transformed.

Q. How can people be praying for you?

A. That I live in such a way that the people who are closest to me, feel loved, cherished, and respected.