To Know Christ & to Make Him Known
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Russell (Rusty) Grace
Originally from Warner Robins, Ga, I was raised in the First Baptist Church of Warner Robins, where many faithful people shared the love of Christ with me. I publically expressed my faith in Jesus after summer camp one year and formally joined the church, which was a source of encouragement and support in good times and bad through the years. I attended Mercer University in Macon, majoring in History and Christianity, and then attended the McAfee School of Theology of Mercer University after responding to a sense of calling into ministry. I was blessed to serve as a youth minister and as an associate pastor in three churches before returning to my roots at FBC Warner Robins, where I served as an associate pastor. After much prayer, searching the Scriptures, and reflection, my wife and I sensed the Lord leading us in a new direction. I’m grateful now to be part of ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians and to have the immense privilege of serving First Presbyterian Church of Waycross. God has been gracious, patient, and faithful time and time again in my life. It is truly a blessing to be able to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, teach from the Scriptures, and worship and labor with other believers for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
I grew up in Ohio across the creek from a Presbyterian Church, my brothers and mother and I attended every Sunday. Even though the church was very small they took very seriously the task of providing faith development, particularly to children and youth. I knew early on that Jesus loved me and I loved him. When my husband and I decided to move to Georgia, finding a new church home became a high priority for me. While I might not have been gangbusters about having to move, God’s hand was in the details of my life placing me in this congregation. He surrounded me with strong faith mentors and friends that encouraged me to study the Bible, and to become active with the circles and Sunday School – even to leading numerous classes. Becoming the church secretary was an incredible leap of faith on the part of the church and myself, 25 years later, I can say, “It’s all been good.” When I look back at the girl that I was to the woman that I am now I know that it all has been by the grace of God.
I was very blessed to have Christian parents – we were at church every time the doors were open. At age 13, I realized that I needed to pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart. A few years after that I began playing piano for various events at church and have been playing ever since.
Looking back I realize that I was called to be an accompanist as surely as preachers are called to preach. My favorite hymn sums up the way I feel about my ministry: To God Be The Glory.