Join us in welcoming our new Lead Pastor
Rev. Russell (Rusty) Allanson
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
Galatians 2:20 is my Life Verse. Being raised WAY outside the church as a hardcore atheist and a persecutor of Christians, and then giving my life to Jesus Christ at the age of 24, the verse “fits” me well. I was one person and then, after a real life modern Damascus Road Experience, I was someone completely different and new. (True story!) Read these words again carefully: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. That is my story and the essence of who and whose I am.
I’m certain you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hear my story because it is an incredible story, not of me, but of God’s love and power. (You’ll also find out why I adore strawberry-rhubarb pie!) Let it suffice to say for now that I was an atheist, overwhelmed by unconditional love then saved by grace, commissioned as a missionary of The United Methodist Church, and am an evangelist for Jesus Christ. My name is Rusty Allanson, and I cannot wait to be with you in person to help dream together God’s next big dream for Old Bethel!
Any information about my present life begins with my awesome wife, Paulette. She is the most spiritually in-tune person I know, and a HUGE reason I became a pastor. She reminded me that our life together began, as it continues, to be rooted in the understanding that if God says it, we do it, period. We both know personally what it means to be saved by grace, and she is a walking billboard for the very presence of God. She currently works as a hospital director for St. Vincent in Carmel. She is busy, brilliant, busy, talented, busy, and one of the nicest persons you will ever meet. There really are not enough words to fully describe her, but once you meet her, you will know why I am so in love with her.
We have four children, two boys, two girls: boy, girl, boy, girl. Yep, I know. Too perfect, right? Welcome to my life. The youngest is 22, and we also are incredibly blessed with the world’s most perfect daughter-in-law. We have one grandson, Nicholas Russell Allanson, who is 6 and an awesome bundle of energy, humor and youthful wisdom. (And yes, I hope they read this little letter. My birthday is coming up.)
My friends, it is an incredible and truly humbling honor to be sent as one of your pastors. Stepping into the rich on-going history and honored reputation of Old Bethel would give any pastor pause. But I am convinced God is putting us together for a purpose… His purpose. And won’t it be exciting to discover this purpose together? As you will learn, I LOVE roller coasters! The more thrilling the better. And I just have “that” feeling, we’d all better strap in. It’s going to be a marvelous ride!
I’ll leave you with the personal mantra for Paulette and Rusty Allanson that truly guides absolutely every decision we make and everything we do. It is this: Love Jesus. Live Simply.
Together In Christ,