Pastor’s Corner: Rusty and Leisa Nelson


Pastor’s Corner: Rusty and Leisa Nelson


The Rock Family Worship Center

Tell us about yourself:

My wife Leisa and I are both pastors’ kids, and we grew up in North Alabama—she in Florence and I in Courtland and Double Springs. We were married on August 4, 1984, and five months later, we moved to Lakeland, Florida, to attend and work for Southeastern University. Following graduation, we became worship leaders and youth pastors at a local church in Lakeland. In 1992, after recording a worship album called Take the City for Integrity Music, we traveled extensively in full-time ministry. In 1995, we moved to Jacksonville, Florida, to become associate pastors in a church that ultimately launched us to Huntsville to plant The Rock Family Worship Center in 1999. The past sixteen years have been the greatest adventure of our lives as we have watched the Lord do a work that only He could do. From getting our start in an old downtown Hilton Hotel building to launching five campuses around the region, along with the Huntsville Dream Center, which covers Manna House; PAR (Prepare And Respond); and many other community outreaches, God has taken us on an overwhelming journey. However, our greatest adventure has been our four children and three grandchildren!

What motivates you to do what you do?

We get up every morning with an assignment of God on our lives. It’s an assignment that came out of prayer, which we believe He shared with us as a vision of His heart for this city and region. This is the vision God gave us: to love the Father Jesus lived for (this is reflected in our personal, intimate relationship with Him); to love the Church Jesus paid for (this is reflected in our love and equipping of His people); and to love the world Jesus died for (this is reflected in our pursuit of those who do not know Him). That’s what motivates us to do what we do in order to fulfill our “post on the wall” in this region.

What is God speaking to you right now?

We truly believe that these are days that require our undivided attention to God’s purpose for our personal lives, our families, and His Church. We must be prepared for the challenging days that are ahead. If we get distracted in dark moments, we will forget that we are the light of the world, called to bear HIS hope and love to a desperate world. We must be pursuers of His presence so we can fulfill His purpose with a very strategic plan. These are incredible days to be reflections of grace and truth.

What does unity in our city mean to you?

Unity means a lot to us. We have always believed that we can do more together than we could ever do apart. There are specific assignments that God has given each individual pastor and congregation to fulfill in their own unique way, yet there are cooperative moments when we are to shine together for the purpose of unified effort in making greater impacts throughout our community…truly “serving our city as one.”

We realize that unity is not conformity. It has nothing to do with conforming to one another in methodology, but it has everything to do with coming together under the banner of Jesus and His work on the cross. This kind of unity establishes the atmosphere in which Holy Spirit opens His floodgates and pours Himself out through the different reflections of His Body, while uniting His face of grace throughout the community. This can become a Psalm 133 moment in which God pours out His blessing on a city and region through His Church, where salvation, life, hope, healing and wholeness are released.

Prayer for our city:

Father, I thank You for the City of Huntsville and the surrounding region. Thank You for allowing us all to live in this place and in this moment. We thank You that You have brought us from different backgrounds, different colors, and different creeds for the purpose of being a reflection of Your grace, Your mercy, and Your love. In that heart of gratitude, we pray that this community would be a place where heaven kisses earth–where the work of the cross of Jesus would be worked in our lives to such a degree that Your presence would be experienced in such a tangible way! Give us another Great Awakening…a great revival that will impact every household, every pastor, every church, every school, and every government official! We are desperate for You! Let our lives bring You honor and glory for the fame of Your Name! We ask it all in Jesus’ Name. Amen.



  1. Connie Oakley August 11, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Appreciate you, Pastor Rusty and Leisa, and all you do for the Kingdom in our city.

  2. J Rick Cagle August 12, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I live in Rusty’s old home of Jacksonville, Florida but was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. I don’t visit Huntsville but once a year to visit my family. So when I do, one of my greatest pleasures is getting to visit The Rock and hear a great message of God’s word from Rusty. Love this man as well as his great love and admiration of our Lord Father and the Savior Jesus Christ. The Rock is solid!!!


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