Raised in the church, Russ began working in the corporate world before feeling a call to full-time ministry. He received his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and founded Finding Purpose, a ministry to reach men with the truth of the Gospel so they may glorify God and find purpose for their life. After 13 years in the ministry, Russ received his Doctor of Ministry from SEBTS after completing his dissertation on expositional sermons in Joshua, taught at The Men’s Study. Russ lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, teaching The Men’s Study every Tuesday evening and providing other resources for men on their faith journey.
Russ’ Testimony and the Formation of Finding Purpose
My walk with Christ began at an early age. I was only 8 or 9 years of age when I asked Jesus to come into my heart (Revelation 3:20). During my teenage years, I discovered that my father was an alcoholic. It was during these years that my heavenly Father gave me the strength to place all my cares and burdens on Him. The Holy Spirit became my Shield protecting me.
During my college years, I drifted away from the Lord. Although my fellowship with the Father was broken, I was still his son and He watched over me. After graduating from college, I married a beautiful, young Christian woman named Creecy. God brought us together and gave me a partner and soul mate to walk with me through life. The Lord was at the center of our marriage and we established a goal to follow His Word and be obedient to it.
I believe God placed a special call on my life the moment I was saved. However, I had a lot of maturing to do. Upon graduating from college, I did not consult God regarding my future career because my fellowship with Him was still broken. I simply chose to be a stockbroker because it seemed exciting and interesting. I worked in the brokerage industry for about 20 years and experienced much worldly success in this. However, God began to work on my heart. He began to show me the importance of building up treasures in heaven rather than on earth.
It was through Bible Study Fellowship that I really began to study God’s Word. My faith grew. I came to understand that walking with God involves sacrifice. Jesus said in Matthew 11:38, “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
I let my business partner know that one day I was going to turn my portion of the business over to him and go into full-time ministry. I was simply waiting for God to open the door. It wasn’t long before I felt God leading me to enroll in seminary to further prepare for full-time ministry. So I enrolled in Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and said goodbye to the financial industry. Studying God’s Word with fellow believers under the teaching of godly men was an oasis in this troubled world. As my time at Southeastern drew to a close I began to really wonder and pray about God’s plan for my future.
With only one year left at Southeastern, early in the morning I was praying and specifically petitioning God to show me what he had in mind. My reading for the day was Revelation 3. When I got to verse 8, it seemed to leap off the page. It states, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut! I know that you have little strength yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” In essence, the Lord communicated to me from His Word that He had prepared an open door that He would lead me to.
After graduating from seminary I was seriously considering joining another ministry. However I was unsure of God’s leading. My wife and I had been discussing the idea of beginning a new ministry geared toward men. I opened up to II Samuel 7 which is where I had left off the prior day. Verse 3 leapt off the page. It states, “Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it for the Lord is with you.” Finding Purpose, although we did not have the name yet, was born at that moment. Looking back, I can now say, “Finding Purpose was God-breathed by His Word.”
Finding Purpose is all about helping men find their purpose in life. Augustine said it well, “O God, You made us for Yourself, and man’s heart is restless until it rests in Thee!” It is only in Christ, that is, in a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, that we can have peace, joy and contentment in this life and eternal life, have direction for our life and know the purpose for our existence. Thank you for choosing to walk with Finding Purpose.