BUSINESS & LEADERSHIP ’03
Marcus Stern ’03 (Business & Leadership) recognized at an early age that God had given him the gift of influence. He considers himself a born leader, and he knew he wanted to make an impact on a global scale. But as a young boy growing up as a second-generation Jewish believer in Jesus, Stern never would have imagined the reach of his influence today. As the development director for Global Media Outreach, he is part of a team that brings the gospel to more than a million people a day in 24 languages.
“Never before in the history of the church have we been able to present the gospel to as many people so cost effectively,” he says. “In the past 90 days, we’ve been witness to 3.2 million decisions to follow Christ in 30 different countries, most of which are predominantly Muslim.” The goal, says Stern, is to make 12.4 billion gospel presentations giving everyone on the planet multiple opportunities to make a life-changing decision.
Stern is quite familiar with transition. When he was only 18, he was surrounded by negative influences and engaged in some highly destructive behaviors. God provided a very clear message to surrender and follow him. Not only did Stern become a believer, he also enrolled in Bible college a few months later. Since then, Stern has taken the adventurous, somewhat challenging path that led to his position at Global Media Outreach.
“It takes a lot of courage to be willing to follow Christ,” declares Stern. “Sometimes He asks you to follow Him into seasons and places of life that are difficult. I believe His goal is to make us mature and complete, shaping us and pulling out our gifts.”
Stern attended Regent primarily online during what he describes as the perfect time for his career. He was working as the director of student life at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. University leaders encouraged him to pursue his advanced degree and gave him the opportunity to apply his classroom learning in a real-world environment. During his time with Regent, he played a pivotal role in developing the leadership structure at Southeastern, and in the process, Stern discovered his passion for organizational development.
In 2005, he made the difficult decision to leave university life and branch out on his own, creating a consulting firm for small to mid-sized companies and nonprofit organizations. It was a risky move with an uncertain future, but Stern felt prepared and confident. “The only thing we can see clearly is our past — which is our greatest gift as we walk into the future,” he says.
Through this work, he cultivated his passion for fundraising, which eventually led to an offer to serve as director of North America for the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ). At the JIJ, Stern had the opportunity to work internationally, fulfilling one of his personal goals.
Later, he grew his consulting work to serve churches and nonprofits throughout the world. “Regent expanded the tent pegs of my worldview and helped me grow beyond a local leadership position into a more global vision, equipping me every step of the way.”
In 2013, Stern accepted the role at Global Media Outreach. Based in Plano, Texas, Stern spends most of his days traveling and building relationships with business owners, CEOs, foundation leaders and other individuals. His wife and two daughters are his top priorities. Along with that, he’s working in his giftedness when he’s meeting with people and creating partnerships for God’s kingdom. “I get to work with individuals of capacity who desire to spend themselves in service to fulfilling the Great Commission,” says Stern. “I couldn’t imagine a better calling.”
Stern credits his success to the abundance of wise mentors in his life. His professors at Regent challenged him and guided him to discover his strengths. Professional mentors at Southeastern University such as Mark Rutland, Ph.D.; Mike Rakes, Ph.D.; and Bill Hackett, Ph.D. gave him opportunities to sharpen his skills. “I’ve also had countless marketplace leaders come alongside and teach me the principles of kingdom entrepreneurship”, says Stern. His own father, a successful Florida businessman, led by example, becoming a believer at age 40.
These influences have helped shape Stern’s leadership style and contributed to the development of these guiding principles: 1) Bold and vulnerable leadership, 2) Seeing the future, 3) Creating new ideas, 4) Developing people, and 5) Facilitating generosity.
Stern’s focus now is on building the next generation of leaders and developing the next generation of strategies and resources to further God’s kingdom globally. By spreading the gospel through technology, tomorrow’s leaders will bring God’s Word to every corner of the planet—from the cubicles in Silicon Valley, where the technology is created, to the grass huts in third-world countries where new believers are born.