7 Questions with Rusty George

Name: Rusty George

Current title: Lead Pastor

Current organisation: Real Life Church in Southern California

Pastor of Real Life Church Ministries and author of After Amen: What to do while waiting on God.

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1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?

I find the balance of vocational achievement and personal spirituality to be a tricky one. Not allowing my work success or failure to define my soul is difficult.

2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I grew up in the church and found it to be my home away from home. I loved our youth ministry, I fell in love with preaching, and went to school to become a pastor. Over the last 25+ years I’ve been able to work in student ministry, adult ministry and lead pastoring. It is truly my calling.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

The first hour is for me and God. Then I try to take the next 90 minutes and focus on one of my main roles - leader, teacher, author, etc. Emails get relegated to 11am and 4pm. Meetings in the afternoon. Then, down time with family. Cooking with my daughter, walking the dogs with my wife, watching sports or reality tv with my family, reading a sports book and then bed.

4. What one book had the most profound impact on your church leadership? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

The 4 Disciplines of Execution is the best book I’ve ever read on leadership and productivity. I wish I’d read it years ago. It helps take theory and make it practical.

5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

While leading through Covid, reacting is not allowed. Firing off a tweet or shooting from the hip on opening or closing campuses can’t be done. I’ve never made a bad slow decision.

6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?

Over time. Begin with the end in mind. You won’t develop a leader that looks like a hybrid of the Apostle Paul and Colin Powell. You need to decide what matters most... then train towards that. Clear steps and clear outcomes.

7. If you had to pick just one story, what would be the most meaningful story from your time as a church leader so far?

I think it would be the story of people coming to Christ at our church, and then bringing their friends. Recently I had a conversation with a friend who I had the chance to help come to Christ and leave his life of Buddhism. He is now helping his agnostic family come to Christ. He said to me, “Who would have thought I’d be helping people find and follow Jesus?” What a joy!