By LAUREN VINCENT
• Daily Leader
The past seven years have been filled with uncertainty but with growth at the South Church of God. One constant, through it all, has been the leadership of Pastor Rusty Callahan. Beginning in November, however, that will change as South Church has received Callahan’s letter of resignation.
His declared reason for leaving is God’s calling. He sees that his particular skill set has been used to its extent and has felt God leading him in another direction.
“I believe God calls us to do His work and that I have faithfully completed the work God has sent me here to do,” he said.
His hopes are that another pastor, equipped with a different set of skills, will fill his shoes and take the church to another level of ministry.
“I pray and hope that this church would continue on with the vision God has given them,” he said. “I would love to see this church grow so that when I come back for a visit, I will have a hard time finding a place to sit!”
Callahan came to the South Church of God as an interim pastor in March of 2003 and was asked to step into full time ministry as senior pastor on Sept. 7 that same year.
“So, September was seven years for me,” he said. “There are so many memorable experiences in my time here. I will always remember baptizing Don Scott at the age of 79, at his home, in his bathtub. That was a first for me and it was great. We also planted the first Church of God Hispanic church in the State of Kansas, which has now gone on to plant three more churches in the surrounding area.”
Callahan and his wife, Lynne, are planning to move to Hugoton where she works at the nursing home.
“God has opened up some new opportunities for me to work outside of ministry for a time,” he said, “And I believe God has pulpits for me to fill as well. Lynne is planning on staying at Pioneer Manor where she has worked for two-and-a-half years. Once again, God has opened the door for a new direction in my life.”
His last official Sunday at the South Church of God will be Oct. 31. Yet the congregation, and many in the community whom he has ministered to in the last seven years, will call him “Pastor Rusty” far beyond that date.
“I will always miss the love that comes from the people and the community here in Liberal,” he said.
South Church of God will be hosting a reception for Pastor Rusty this Sunday. They encourage anyone who has been blessed by the ministry of Rusty and Lynne to drop by and express their appreciation. The community come-and-go reception will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the South Church of God located at 635 S. Washington Ave.