Russell Evans is the Senior Pastor of Planetshakers Church, alongside his wife Sam and children, Jonathan and Aimee. As one of the leading international communicators of this generation, Russell’s passion and hunger for encountering the Presence of God inspires all to exercise new levels of faith and take hold of the promises of God’s Word.
As Founder, Director and Visionary of Planetshakers, Russell has an uncompromising desire to see every person achieve their full potential in every area of life. His faith is infectious and his message simple: “Everything begins with an encounter with God!”
Russell Andrew Evans was born in Wewak, Papua New Guinea in 1967 to then missionary parents, Andrew and Lorraine Evans. Blessed with a multi-generational heritage of faith and ministry, he is the younger of two sons and brother to Ashley.
The Evans family returned to Australia in 1970 where Russell’s father accepted the ministry position of Senior Pastor of Klemzig Assembly of God Church: a church founded in 1907 by British evangelist Smith Wigglesworth. The church grew rapidly under his leadership and relocated in 1982 to the Adelaide suburb of Paradise, where it was renamed Paradise Assembly of God.
Russell served faithfully in this church under the leadership of his father and then later, his brother Ashley when his father retired after 30 years of service in the year 2000. After retiring, Russell’s father helped found the Family First political party and was elected into the Legislative Council in 2002; a position he occupied until his secondary retirement in 2008.
Russell began his journey towards worldwide influence, by overseeing the teenage ministry and then later, the young adults ministry of his home church in Adelaide. His innate passion for encountering the Presence of God created such hunger in those who he led, that signs, wonders, miracles, salvations and exponential growth became the norm. He also served as leader of Australia’s Youth Alive movement as well as later holding positions on State Executive for the Australian Assemblies of God.
In 1992, Russell married his sweetheart, Sam, who ministered faithfully alongside him building the teenage and young adult ministries to record numbers. As word spread of what God was doing amongst the youth, demand for Russell’s ministry grew rapidly and he began to travel extensively to spread his simple but powerful message that the key to revival was encountering God.
In 1997, the Planetshakers Ministry was founded with the mandate to “empower generations to win generations”. The first external ministry expression of Planetshakers was hosting the inaugural conference in Adelaide, South Australia, where 300 delegates attended. It would not be long before conferences were being held in multiple cities across Australia, attracting over 20,000 delegates and spreading revival fire wherever there was agreement and hunger for God’s Presence.
In 2002 Russell felt the call to leave his home city of Adelaide and plant a bible-based, Spirit-lead, passionate church in the neighbouring city of Melbourne, Australia. After submitting this to his then leaders, father Andrew and brother Ashley, both agreed that this was God’s will and he was released with their blessing. He and Sam then spent the next two years developing leaders and consolidating their ministries so that there would be no interruption in momentum when it was time for them to leave in late 2003.
On February 8, 2004, Planetshakers Church was launched in Melbourne, Australia. To date, every service has included a salvation alter call resulting in over 25,000, first-time decisions and counting! The scripture found in Acts 1:8 – “ You shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth” – was grafted on the hearts of the people and would inspire them to commit wholeheartedly to serving the vision of the church to see the city of Melbourne impacted for Christ.
In 2008 on instruction from God, Russell felt to change the conference format. He consolidated it to one event in Melbourne and launched a fresh vision by extending the breadth of the conference to include ministry for children, university-aged young adults and mature- aged believers (in addition to youth). Years later, now fondly and prophetically known as Awakening, this annual event draws people from all over the globe to experience the passionate praise and worship that has become synonymous with the Planetshakers name, and encounter the supernatural power of God in their lives. Planetshakers Awakening conferences are now also held annually in the USA, Philippines, Malaysia and Hong Kong, with plans to extend into more countries in the future.
As a result of the growing demand for Planetshakers music, the Planetshakers band now tours the world extensively to demonstrate the power of praise and worship and lead others into their own powerful encounter with God. The resulting impact and influence has lead to great favour with churches on every continent as well as privileged opportunities to stand on significant and influential world stages (recently with over 200,000 people attending one stadium event).
Despite his extensive travel itinerary, Russell loves nothing more than being at home with his wife and children, enjoying the simple pleasures of quality time spent with family and indulging himself in his favourite pastimes of watching Australian Rules football and playing basketball with his kids. He is also an accomplished musician and loves to jam with the Planetshakers band. It is his free, fun-loving and quirky manner, coupled with a heart that is soft and sensitive to the things of God and to the plight of people, that has established him as the much-loved Pastor, Leader and Spiritual Father of Planetshakers.
Russell’s new book “The Honor Key” captures the essence of who Russell is by outlining the core values on which he has built his life, family and ministry. He enjoys close relationship with many of the world’s leading Christian ministers and is well known for his sensitive, relational and collaborative approach to building the Kingdom alongside other ministries. He credits this to his revelation of honour, which has become one of his signature messages. He is often asked to preach on this subject and has countless real-life stories and experiences to share, particularly relating to the supernatural establishment and growth of Planetshakers Church (over 10,000 members within 10 years).
Russell has the rare capacity to relate equally to both younger and older generations of people. This is due to his rich ministry heritage and experience, coupled with a passion for fresh music and the empowerment and release of emerging leaders into all facets of Kingdom expression. It is his capacity to honour every person and the unique call of God on their life that has afforded him great influence both at home and internationally.
Despite being highly accomplished in his ministry and widely recognized for the powerful anointing at work through his life, Russell remains deeply grateful and dependent on the Holy Spirit. It is his humility and constant desire to bring God glory in all of his endeavours, that have positioned him for enormous impact and influence on the planet, in his generation and beyond.