Senior Pastor Rusty Tate
With tears rolling down her face, she said to me, “I have been praying for someone to say the things you said in this church for a long time. Thank you for sharing them.” Then she turned and walked away.
I was amazed. Where did that come from? Wow!
After she spoke and turned away, God started the talking. “This is what I am calling you to do. I am calling you into the Methodist Church to offer My living water in a dry and thirsty land. There are other people who are just as dry and thirsting for what I am sending you to present to them.”
It was clear. Spoken in the first person. God was calling me to a lifelong calling to offer living water in a dry and thirsty land.
Since then, when I hit bottom in serving Jesus and ministry is difficult, this is where I bottom out. I remember God’s call upon my life – offer living water to people in a dry and thirsty land.
People everywhere need Jesus. We live in a day and time that’s dry, and people are thirsty. So, I continue to offer Jesus to others and trust God’s Spirit to draw people to Him. It’s a high privilege. I’m honored to serve Him.
God’s call was over forty years ago. I was a sophomore, Christian Ministries major at Asbury College (now Asbury University) in Wilmore, KY. I have never forgotten God's call on my life. That call still drives me.
On that day, I was visiting a United Methodist Church in northern Ohio. I was waiting with the rest of the Sunday School class, among rows of chairs, with a podium standing in front. A young man walked to the podium and announced he wasn’t prepared to teach and asked someone else to share.
Dead silence. Then my friend started laughing and volunteered to the class that I would say something. Laughing too, I couldn’t pass up that opportunity. I told them what Jesus spoke to my heart through the pages of the Bible that morning before church. It seemed to be a Holy Spirit moment.
When I finished, the teacher says, “Wow, that was great. Thanks for sharing. That was better than anything I would have shared.”
It was after that talk; after Sunday School; standing out in the hall with people milling about, that it happened. The young lady walked up to me crying and spoke those words that God used to call me to be a pastor in the United Methodist Church.
So, that’s who I am. That’s what I do. That's why I do it.
I graduated from what is now Asbury University and later from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY.
I believe in the authority of God’s Word as God’s Spirit makes it come alive and fresh. I love teaching and helping people live into all that God designed them to be. My prayer is to help others live into what Jesus said, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus said, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him, so He calls us to take His kingdom authority and make disciples (fully surrendered followers of Jesus) in His behalf (Matthew 28:18-20).
If you would love to continue to journey with Jesus or start your journey, I and the people of Helena UMC would be honored to help.
I am married to a wonderful wife, Phyllis. We met at Asbury College (University).
We have four grown children and seven grandchildren.
I have served United Methodist Churches in Kentucky and Alabama and glad to be serving Jesus at Helena.
Psalm 63:1 (ESV)
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
John 7:38 (ESV)
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’