When you know Christ and know that you know Him, and when you know as much of the message as you know, you are ready to witness. It would be unnatural not to witness. The book Desire of Ages, p. 347, tells us that our confession of God’s faithfulness is Heaven’s chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world. We are to acknowledge His grace as made known through the holy men of old; but, that which will be most effectual is the testimony of our own experience.
Every individual has a life distinct from all others, and an experience differing essentially from theirs. God desires that our praise shall ascend to Him, marked by our own individuality.
This year has been an extraordinary opportunity to revisit our own personal testimonies. Firstly, we talk about our lives before we found Christ. In many cases, we were lonely, insecure, guilt-ridden, and aimless. Then we’re ushered into sharing how we found Christ. This often came through evangelistic meetings, Bible studies, friendships, or maybe even tragedy. The most riveting dimension of our personal testimony is often what our lives are like since we found Christ. We can share the change that has come over us, the joys of our journey, and the blessings. What a great segue in sharing our faith to speak of the peace, hope for the future, and assurances in knowing that God controls my life and the world!
I am most proud to announce that your faithfulness in evangelism has increased our Union-wide membership to almost 302,000 as of the end of the second quarter. To God be the glory! I’m sincerely appreciative for the efforts of every member, employee, pastor, teacher, principal, departmental director, officer, and conference president. God is using you mightily this year. Keep up the great ministry you’ve received in the Lord.
Speaking of presidents, I am most honored to announce a transition of presidential leadership within the Georgia-Cumberland Conference. After 14 years of the phenomenal leadership of Elder Ed Wright, D.Min., Elder Gary Rustad has been elected as the new president. The current executive committee and the previous nominating committee from the 2017 constituency session met conjointly on August 28, 2019. As a result of that process, punctuated by much prayer and faith in God, Gary Rustad was elected as the new president. President Rustad has worked in the Conference office since 2015. He most recently served as vice-president for administration/secretariat and general vice-president, where he worked with human resources, membership, and church organization. He also managed numerous church ministries departments, served as liaison for the Cohutta Springs Conference Center, coordinated Camp Meetings, and has overseen Adventist Community Services and Disaster Response.
Gary comes from a family of pastors. His father and grandfather both worked for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He’s married to Denise, and they have three beautiful children, Ava, Elayna, and Heath.
He is a graduate of Southern Adventist University with a degree in theology, and Andrews University Theological Seminary with a master of divinity degree.
His academic credentials, coupled with his rich pastoral experience and his deep-seated love for the people of God, positioned him to be the new leader of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference.
It is with pride and privilege that I present Gary Rustad, president of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, to the Southern Union family.
Southern Union | November 2019