RUSTY GEORGE, Lead Pastor
Real Life Church, Valencia, California
Rusty George is the Lead Pastor of Real Life Church in Valencia, California, which continues to be one of the fastest growing churches in America.
Though California is where he now calls home, Rusty was originally born in Oklahoma but spent his childhood in Wichita, Kansas where he grew an affinity for the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs. Knowing from a young age that he wanted to be in ministry, Rusty had inspiration from his youth pastor that lead to a passion to study the Bible and attend Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Missouri. Being an avid Los Angeles Lakers fan already, Rusty played basketball at Ozark while earning a B.A in Biblical Studies and a B.A. in Preaching. Before his junior year, Rusty met Lorrie Miller and, after dating for two years, the couple was married in 1994–the same month they both graduated from Ozark.
Originally aspiring to be a youth pastor, Rusty gradually came to see that God was stirring something else in his heart. 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 position as the College Pastor where he would serve nine years eventually moving to Young Adult Pastor and finally to Age Level Director, all while attending Cincinnati Christian Seminary. It was at this time that Rusty knew God was stirring his heart to do something different. He considered joining with a few friends to plant a church in a non-churched area of North Carolina. Yet once again, God was up to something else in and through Rusty’s life.
Instead of planting a church in North Carolina, 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 was also 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.
Though moving to California was certainly a change for Rusty and Lorrie, as well as their new daughter, Lindsey, who was born in 2002, it quickly became home and they had another daughter, Sidney, in 2004. There is nothing that Rusty’s heart beats for more than family, and this also extends to his extended family at RLC and its vision to be a church that un-churched people find irresistible.
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 from meeting in a 285-seat movie theater at the mall, to a high school gym, and to a place where, now, more than 5,100 people gather over 5 services every week. Through all the changes, Rusty maintains a resilient mission that reflects RLC as a whole: helping people find and follow Jesus.