Billy Russell is our Director of Student Ministries. Originally from Pennsylvania, his family settled in Montgomery, Alabama after his father’s service in the Army. He has lived there most of his life and has been doing ministry as a staff person or volunteer for roughly fifteen years, with the last ten years serving as the Jr. High Student Minister at Frazer Memorial UMC in Montgomery. Billy began his ministry at Niceville UMC in February 2007.
He met the Lord at the age of nineteen after some very difficult challenges in his life. Billy describes life before and sometimes after meeting the Lord as "the school of hard knocks!" A few years into his journey of faith, God called him out to go on a short term mission trip to Durango, Mexico, which became a defining moment in his life. It was then that he knew God was calling him to serve God by serving others. Billy decided that he wanted his life to count for something and that he wanted to be a person that would challenge teenagers to make positive choices by first and foremost choosing to be a fully devoted follower of Christ. First he had to be willing to trust God in a way that he never had before that time. Proverbs 3:5-6 came alive to him during that mission experience, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." As is the case for so many of us, God had to get Billy out of his comfort zone in order to get his attention.
Billy has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Auburn University Montgomery. He has also taken coursework towards a Master of Divinity in Professional Counseling from Southern Christian University. He would like to one day complete coursework to be dual licensed in Professional Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy. When asked what he would do with that degree he simply states, "whatever the Lord asks as I serve teenagers and their families."
Billy has been married to his wife Christina for almost twelve years and they have two busy little boys. Caleb is seven and Brennan is four. The Russell's also have a yellow lab named Tonka. (What else would two little boys name their yellow lab?) Billy loves to spend his free time with his family doing almost anything. If he is by himself with free time (rare) you will probably see him with a cup of coffee and a book. Some of his favorite authors are Brennan Manning, Steve Farrar, Richard Foster, Donald Miller, Anne Lamont, George Barna, and John Maxwell.
You may reach Billy via email at email@example.com or call 850-678-4411, ext. 150.