RUSTY GEORGE, Lead Pastor
Real Life Church, Valencia, California
Rusty George is the Lead Pastor of Real Life Church in Valencia, California, which Outreach Magazine 2011 named one of the fastest growing churches in America.
Rusty’s story did not begin in California, however. He hails from the Midwest. Born in Oklahoma, Rusty spent his childhood in Wichita, Kansas, and after high school, Rusty attended Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri, where his Youth Pastor had gone before him. Rusty had known since age 13 that he wanted to be in ministry. He thought he’d be a youth pastor, too, but God had other plans.
A huge fan of the L.A. Lakers, Rusty spent four years of college on the Ozark basketball team, and earned a double major - a B.A. in Biblical Studies and a B.A. in Preaching. Before his junior year, Rusty met Lorrie Miller. The couple dated for two years and wed in 1994–the same month they both graduated from Ozark.
During the last two summers of Rusty’s college career, he served as an intern with Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky. Upon his graduation, Southland offered Rusty a full-time job as the College Pastor. Rusty spent the next nine years at Southland, moving from College Pastor to Young Adult Pastor and finally to Age Level Director, all while attending Cincinnati Christian Seminary. At that point, Rusty knew God was moving in his heart to do something different. He considered joining with a few friends to plant a church in an unchurched area of North Carolina.
But again, God had other plans. Instead, Rusty received a call from his colleague and friend, Kyle Idleman, who was then Lead Pastor and founder of Real Life Church in Valencia. Kyle, too, was feeling called to another church, and had recommended to RLC’s Board that Rusty take his position at Real Life. After a few meetings and trips to California, Rusty and Lorrie took the plunge, moved to California, and accepted the position of Lead Pastor of Real Life Church in 2003.
The California culture was a change for the Georges, but it quickly became home, and they began a family. Daughter Lindsey was born in 2002, and Sidney was born in 2004.
Rusty has led RLC through many changes, including the purchase of land, the construction of an eco-friendly building in the middle of town, and the incredible growth of meeting in a 285-seat movie theater at the mall, to a high school gym, to a place where more than 5,100 people attend five services every week. Through all the changes, Rusty’s vision for Real Life Church has remained the blueprint for its growth. His heart for non-churched people beats with the mission of RLC: helping people find and follow Jesus.