Emanuel Rusu came to the United States from Ukraine as a young boy. Now he pastors a Russian speaking church near Atlanta, Georgia. But his church desires to reach the English speaking people in their community. Today he talks about the transition Living Water church has experienced as they focus more on evangelism.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:00):
Emanuel Rusu came to the United States from Ukraine as a young boy. Now he pastors a Russian speaking church near Atlanta, Georgia, but his church desires to reach the English-speaking people in their community today. He talks about the transition living water church has experienced as they focus more on evangelism.
Evangelism Podcast Host (00:22):
Jesus said go into all the world and preach the gospel. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be welcome to the evangelism podcast with Dr. Daniel King we’re Daniel interviews, full-time evangelists, pastors, missionaries, and normal everyday Christians to discover how they share their faith, their powerful testimonies and amazing stories that will inspire you to reach people with the good news. And now here’s your host missionary and evangelist Daniel King.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (00:58):
Welcome to the evangelism podcast. I’m Daniel King and I’m excited to be with my special guest pastor Emanuel Rusu from the living water church in Buford, Georgia. Thank you so much for being with me.
Emanuel Rusu (01:14):
Well, thank you. It is such a pleasure to hang out with you.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (01:19):
Yeah. So tell me about how you first came to America and then how you became a pastor,
Emanuel Rusu (01:27):
Such an amazing story. So I came as a young boy nine years old and we came as refugees from the former Soviet union. And I came with my family’s believers and we love Jesus. And we came to the United States and the Lord has opened up great opportunities, but that’s the way we came with basically nothing and started from scratch. We came to a place where we didn’t know English, so we started going to a small community language oriented church that spoke only Russian to those people who just came from the former Soviet union.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (02:15):
And how did you become a pastor? You started out first as a youth pastor and then became an assistant pastor. And now you are pastoring the church.
Emanuel Rusu (02:25):
Yeah. So it’s amazing because I never ever thought that I would be in a place in my life where I would be a senior pastor. So I was, I grew up in a family that, that went to church. That was the thing that you do on Wednesday on, on, on Sunday, on Friday. So really church oriented, but never thought I would be doing ministry. So there was a need at the church where help was needed in the youth department. So went into, became the youth pastor. There was a need in the worship department, so became the worship leader and then a associate pastor. And then the time came where became the senior pastor of the church. So it’s quite quite, quite, quite, quite an exciting journey.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (03:18):
That’s wonderful. Your, your story is a lot like the story of Obed-Edom. You told me that you’re preaching on him next week. And I wrote a book about Obed-Edom, and he starts out as a gatekeeper. Then he becomes a musician and the temple worship group. Then he becomes a leader in the house of God. And then you see his entire family as serving God. And so God seems to have promoted you as you have been faithful to serve him. So that’s, that’s wonderful as this story of Obed-Edom, and that’s really the story of every great servant of God. They, they don’t start in an amazing place, but as they’re faithful to serve, God begins to promote them. And so God has promoted you. And as you have transitioned into being the pastor of the church, you have changed a little bit of the flavor of the church and you showed me a picture. You showed me a picture of how the church used to be. It used to be with pews and it looked very formal. It was beautiful, but it was formal. And when I preach this morning at the church, it was more of a contemporary setting. You’ve got bright lights, you’ve got the sanctuary darken, so everyone can, can focus on what God is doing in there. What brought you to this place where you thought it was a good idea to transition in the flavor?
Emanuel Rusu (04:39):
Yeah. So throughout throughout just going back to what we were talking about just recently throughout ministering, you know, being faithful in the little things, I just began to notice that the church is not only a place where we come to pray, but it’s so much more, it needs to be so much more. And so as throughout the years, as I noticed that I, it became, became evident that if we don’t have the young generation in the church, then it’ll just become a club of older saints, which has awesome. But we’re you know, one of the things that we’re all about is for the generations. And so we’re thinking ahead, we’re praying ahead. We’re, we’re, we’re planning ahead three to four generations ahead. So our thing is we want to, whatever we do today, it’s to make an impact for the third to the fourth generation ahead and how awesome it is that when, when my great grandchildren are talking, talking to their sons and daughters, if, if the Lord tarries and doesn’t come back soon, they would be talking about their, their great, great grandfather did great-grand great mother that really made an, they were building something that, that, that a foundation was so great that that effected them so far.
Emanuel Rusu (06:06):
I had. So, so we’re, we’re about building something that would affect them. And so the question is, what is it that would affect them so far ahead? What is it that would interest the current generation would interest their, their children. And so we understood that, that that church has to be more than just a place where we learn stories of the past. It has to touch them today. And so we’re about, you know, making it impactful and interesting through media through. And it’s interesting how, when, when, when we started doing what we have with the more modern setting, so many of the kids said, sign me up for the immediate team. I want to be a part of, of music want to be a part. And we record music videos, you know iMusic is a big thing of our, our DNA.
Emanuel Rusu (07:00):
And so it, it really sparked a desire interest in the young generation. And because the young kids are excited, their parents are excited to bring them. And so it just caused this chain effect of, and now the kids tugging at their parents let’s go. We want to be a part. The issue with that we used to have before the remodel and before kind of the new direction was to the members and to the commerce, please help us out. We need help at the church. We need someone to volunteer, you know, do it for the Lord, please, please, please. And now the issue that we have is being creative because so many, there’s so many volunteers that said, sign us up. We want to do something. And so we have to be creative of new ideas, how to bring people, put people in different places of, of, of the ministry so that they would be active. So it’s a great new problem to have, but that, that that’s really at the center focus is, is how do we effect, how do we impact the the generations to come? And so the things that we purchase, the things that we are part of really have that thought pattern, you know, it’s not, how can we have fun today? Which, which is great, but also how can we impact the future generations
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (08:30):
And another transition? Sorry. That’s wonderful. Another transition that you’re you’re thinking about right now is reaching out to a new language group. So your church historically has been primarily Russian speaking people. You translate all your services into Russian in the churches full of people from Russia, from Ukraine, from Moldova, what other countries are represented?
Emanuel Rusu (09:02):
Well, the mass amount of people is from the former Soviet union. The country that you mentioned was Becca, Stan, Kazakh, Stan. But we understood that the Lord has placed us in this country, in this community, not just for us to be comfortable in a certain culture that we came from or a certain language that is near and dear to us. But we ought to open the doors to, and really come out of the four walls because sometimes the four walls they limit us and, but to come out of, to build beyond the walls. And so we understood if that is our mission, we can’t hold onto a language, right, because the gospel is for, for, for everyone. And so we understood that. And when we said, Hey, we’re for the community, the local community, we we’re, we’re now seeing people that are from, from different backgrounds, whether it’s south America, Asia, the United States Latin, you know, people from, from you know, from that background, Spanish speaking people, American people.
Emanuel Rusu (10:22):
And so we said, okay. So if we continue with, you know preaching in English with a Russian translation, we’re going to hit a certain ceiling. And so we said, okay, so we have to structure ourselves in such a way that we’re still a blessing to the Russian speaking community, but we’re reaching our immediate community that is speaking in English. And so we just had to make some steps that might’ve not been comfortable to us in the beginning, but as, as much as we’re talking about it and making those steps, we’re saying, Lord, this is the right thing. This is your heart. This is what we are have been planted here for, is to, is to preach the gospel to this community that’s around us and also not forgetting the roots. And so we said, okay, we can do both things. We can have a service in Russian. We can have a service in, in English, and we can also have a service in any of the language because we want to make sure that that building is operating to its full capacity. Man, I can be there 24 7. It doesn’t matter, but I want to see the name of Jesus lifted up. I want to see souls being saved. I want to see people being on fire. And so, however God will use us for that. We’re ready.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (11:40):
And so you have a motto that you are going after people’s families and generations. So we’ve kind of talked about generations and we’ve talked about different peoples talk to me about families, how are you reaching?
Emanuel Rusu (11:53):
So we have different things that we’re a part of. Like we have couples ministry, we have youth ministry just, kick-started a middle school ministry. We have kids choir. We’re about to do go big into different arts for our, our, our young children. And so we really care about the marriage unit where biblical biblical principles in, in, in the family. And so I feel like so many people, it’s a breath of fresh air when they really, really hear someone speaking about the family unit, someone talking about, you know having a strong marriage. And so much of that seeming is lost because, you know the movies and the shows and what we hear on the radio really will have us, you know, believe something else. And so when we begin to talk about, well, what does the word of God says, you know speaking life into family, speaking life, into their marriage, people really begin to respond to that.
Emanuel Rusu (13:02):
And so, and so they, they, they go to a place where they were there, they come alive where they, they, they hear what God has to say about them, what God has to say about their family. And so we see great results in that. And so we’re, we’re basically pouring our time, treasure talent into kids, into marriages, into families because we believe if they’re healthy, if they’re, if they’re you know, coming alive, others around the community, people at work or at, at the grocery store will see something different. Is that is that Eli chef or remembered that that woman saw Elijah walking back and forth and she said, this man is different. And so we, we just, we just want to bring, bring that, that, that life back into the families live back into young people. So on and so forth,
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (14:00):
You invited me here to the church to impart a spirit of evangelism to talk about evangelism. So last night we did a master class talking about different ways of leading people to Jesus. And then this morning, I really focused on being an outreach oriented church instead of inward focus. How do you feel that the, the message was received by your church and how did it speak to where you are at this time?
Emanuel Rusu (14:28):
So some of the things we were talking about before it was, Hey, we can’t live for ourselves. And one thing that you said this morning, which was really powerful about we can be closed off a group of people. We can form a circle and our backs will be facing the world. We be fishermen that never get to fish. And now that that’ll bring frustration inside the church. And so I feel like this is such an important message for every church to be able to to hear. And, and to remember that this is a major calling for the church. You know, you mentioned something this morning that we can have all night prayers. We can pray until we’re blue in the face. We can, you know, we can, we can worship, we can do it, have all of these programs, but if we’re not about souls winning souls, we’re really leaving out a major thing that Jesus spoke to us to do the great commission.
Emanuel Rusu (15:33):
And so I feel like we’re in a part of a, of, of a season where the church needs to turn back to to, to soul winning. I think we it’s really easy to start, really start focusing on yourself again, you know, the different programs, this and that. But if we’re not about winning souls, if we’re not about evangelism, something’s going to be missing and we’re going to be arguing over, like you said, the carpet, the color of the carpet, you know the, the, how loud the music is or whatnot. And, and it, it’s all about soul winning. It’s all about, that’s what Jesus is calling us to do.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (16:14):
You are in the middle of a building project right now. You’ve bought a beautiful building. It’s absolutely gorgeous, has got lots of room and you’re in a process of, of remodeling it. How do you hope that this building will help you to reach this community?
Emanuel Rusu (16:31):
Uh well the projection of the different organizations that this area that we’re moving into is going to have continual growth for the next, at least 10 years. And so it’s, it’s really strategic for us. Even today, as we were evangelizing at the park, a lot of the people that we prayed over met and spoke to just move from a different part of the country. And and so it’s very strategic for us to be in this place, because even though this is a major area in the Atlanta Metro region, but there’s not that many church churches in this area that are really doing a lot of things to reach other people. So we, we really feel like this has a, a great strategic place for us. And so we’re excited about doing the, the building in, in, in really a great way of building it up, having great visuals and, and, and a beautiful area, but the whole purpose why we are doing that is to bring people into a place where they can see their grow, where they can see themselves grow, where they can see their teenagers and young adults being being able to grow into a individual that they’re, they’re doing the, the purposes and things of God.
Emanuel Rusu (18:07):
So, so just, just I think, I think it bolds down to everything that we do. We want to see people saved, and we want to see people grow into their purpose in the Lord.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (18:21):
I thought the outreach that your church did tonight was really tremendous. We went to a park right near where your new location is on one side there’s basketball courts. On the other side, there are volleyball courts and it was beautiful weather. So, oh, all the courts were full of people. And so we set up a little sound system, did worship led by Phillip Renner. It was really powerful. And then appreciate a little message. And the many members from the church came out, we were giving away hot dogs and water to people and praying with them. And I think this was just really a tremendous way to involve the church in evangelism. And, and so what are some ideas that you have for reaching out to
Emanuel Rusu (19:08):
The community? Well, the, the park thing is really awesome. We also did things like we went to major and other major park in the Atlanta region where there’s a lot of foot traffic and did something similar as well. So I think it’s very effective. And I can tell you that in, in the very beginning, it feels very scary. So to say, right, you’re unsure, this is something new. I mean, even for me, I’m used to speaking with people, but this, this was a new experience. And it took me like two, three times, and now it’s, it’s so enjoyable. I so want to talk to people because it, it’s amazing to be able to hear their story and say, Hey, I want to pray for you. And the amazing part is they’re really hoping someone, they would meet someone that cares for them that will lead them into you know, prayer or, or it’s, it’s a beautiful thing. When you get to meet people who are willing to pray for you to willing to tell you about Jesus and I, and I think it makes their day. I think it’s such a beautiful thing that the church needs to do more of.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (20:25):
Amen. Well, pastor is such a privileged privilege to be here with you at your church. I believe that in the years to come, your church is going to grow by leaps and bounds. I pray that God will give you a great harvest of souls here in Georgia and even to other parts of the world. So thank you for being on the evangelism podcast. Thank
Emanuel Rusu (20:47):
You so much for leading that masterclass and preaching such a powerful message, which brings us back into the great commission and what the Lord has sent us to do.
Evangelism Coach Daniel King (20:58):
Thank You, pastor. God bless you. God bless you. Thank you. Thanks for listening to the evangelism podcast today. I want to ask you to partner with me to help lead people to Jesus. For as little as a dollar a month, you can be responsible for helping us lead at least one person to Jesus every single month. Over our 20 years of ministry, we’ve found that it costs an average of about $1 for every person that we’re able to reach. And so if you could just go to king ministries.com and partner with us for at least $1, just $1 partner with us to help us lead people to Jesus. Imagine for a dollar, you can be responsible for starting a party in heaven every single month. And would you do me a favor go to apple iTunes and leave this podcast a review. Your positive review will help other people who are excited about evangelism to find this show. Thanks so much. And God bless you
Evangelism Podcast Host (22:04):
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