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Ruth Harbor Ministries Executive Director Transition Plan

NOTE: If you have not read the announcement concerning the Executive Director transition plan, it is available here
Actually, he’s not. While retiring from the role of Executive Director, Mark looks forward to shifting his time and energy into his own “sweet spot” on behalf of RHM. As part-time Development Director, he will be establishing and growing relationships on behalf of the young women we serve. This is a growing need that he cannot address with the current responsibilities of Executive Director. This arrangement also provides some additional time Mark has earmarked for his wife, Deb, 5 grandchildren, and mentoring younger leaders, locally and nationally.
God directed RHM and Chris to this new relationship. Chris and Mark were among 5 individuals who were appointed by the RHM board to serve on a search committee for a new Executive Director. As the search process began to gather momentum and the job description reviewed and finalized, the search committee asked Chris to consider applying. After prayer and personal discernment, Chris resigned from the search committee and formally applied. After due process of application, resumes, and interviewing, Chris was extended an offer by the board. A key part of Chris’ discernment process was the reality that when God has moved Chris in his ministry career, it has been at God’s initiation; Chris did not initially pursue the position.
To ensure continuity and confidence. Chris has leadership experience and a great working knowledge of RHM from his seat on the board. However, we wish him to have the same level of experience and confidence in the day-to-day operations of the ministry (staffing, programming, admissions, home administration, office administration, state licensing and compliance, special events, partnership relations, physical plant, and finances to name several). Introducing Chris to other leaders (locally and nationally) for future collaborating will also be important. Ultimately, this will provide strong continuity for our staff and for the residents we are serving.
Chris has served much of his career at two churches in Central Iowa: Grace Church in Des Moines from 1991-2010, and First Family Church in Ankeny, from 2010-2019. Chris joined the Baptist Convention of Iowa in August 2019 as Associate Executive Director. In his ministry, Chris describes himself as a Monday-Saturday pastor, someone who’s primary responsibilities did not involve preaching or leading Sunday services. His area of expertise is in communications and administration primarily, and adult education secondarily. In these roles, Chris brings a wealth of experience in strategic planning, financial management, communications and marketing, and human resources. Chris describes his leadership style as a shepherd-leader.
Early in the search process, the board determined the culture of Ruth Harbor is both healthy and affirming and understood the importance of bringing in a leader who would embrace this culture rather than seek to change it. Chris was chosen as the future Executive Director because of his desire to maintain and execute the mission and vision of RHM, including a culture of grace, community, and excellence. All that Ruth Harbor stands for today will be unchanged. In fact, it will be honored and strengthened through this move. For example, in 2021, Chris led a committee to refine and hone RHM’s purpose, mission, vision, and core values
Ministries like Ruth Harbor are living organisms that reflect the body of Christ. Just as we grow and mature as human beings, so ministries grow and mature as the Holy Spirit continues to mold and shape an organization to accomplish His mission. While no program changes are on the horizon, we are sensitive to where the Holy Spirit is leading us as a board, staff, and community. Our mission does not change, but our strategies are often adapted to better serve the community.
Questions and dialog are welcomed. You may contact Mark, Chris or any member of our Board of Directors (515-979-4511).
The RHM leadership team, staff, and prayer team have been praying for this transition for some time. We now ask that you join us in:
  • Celebrating God’s provision and answer to prayer.
  • Praying (see below).
  • Encouraging Chris and Mark with a note of support or commitment to pray.
No. In the last two years the board has also added 5 members to maintain and prepare for greater continuity through the transition of the Executive Director role as well as the coming retirement of two long-term board members after serving the maximum allowed of 15 years.

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Download this printable fact sheet about Ruth Harbor Ministries.


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Mark McDougal’s Walk for Life interview with "Max & Amy in the Morning" Newsradio 1040 WHO on 5/4/22


Ruth Harbor alumna Molly & Mark McDougal’s Walk for Life” interview with “Faith Works Live” on 4/23/2022

Fit My Video Tag

Ruth Harbor alumna Lilia & Mark McDougal’s interview with “Faith On Trial” on 4/14/2022


Ruth Harbor alumna Molly & Mark McDougal interview with RaJan at Pulse 101.7 on 4-9-2022

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Homes where God’s love transforms lives.

Ruth Harbor Ministries
534 42nd Street
Des Moines, IA 50312
Phone: 515-279-4661
Fax: 515-633-2157
M-F 8:30 AM-5 PM
info@ruthharbor.org