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Russell Johnson

Pastor Russell Johnson is the eldest son born to Richard and Dorothy Johnson in Grand Haven, Michigan on August 1, 1964.  He has fond memories of being read to by his Mom and Dad from a children’s Bible, as well as a nightly ritual of “Now I lay me down to sleep...” and a loud, boisterous, and slightly off-key version of “Onward Christian Soldiers” sung by his Dad.  He was brought to the baptismal font on August 23rd, 1964 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Grand Haven, Mi, and by the grace of God was made His child.  He graduated from Jenison High School in 1982 and went on to GRCC and GVSU earning a degree in Hospitality Management.  He met his future bride (Christie) at one of his Whitehall, Michigan cousin’s weddings and fell in love. After a 3-year courtship they were married on August 19, 1989, and have been blessed with 32 years of marriage, four children (and now 2 grandchildren)

After 20 years in the hospitality industry,  he felt a strong call into the pastoral ministry and searched out his pastor (Pastor Brooks for counsel) after receiving good counsel from Pastor Brooks and struggling with The Lord in regards to his own shortcomings and providing for his family,  Russ relented.  With the blessing of Christie and the kids and the strong support from the congregation at St.James, they sold their home in New Era, MI, and moved to Fort Wayne to begin his seminary training.  Russ did his vicarage at Trinity Lutheran Church and Trinity-St. John Lutheran School in Nashville, IL in 2007-2008.  After completing his Master of Divinity academic work at CTSFW in 2009,  he was called back to Trinity Lutheran Church and TSJ as Associate Pastor and Principal.

After Rev. Timothy Scharr,  the Senior Pastor was called to be the Southern IL District President, Pastor Johnson was called to serve as Senior Pastor for the congregation in 2011.  Christie graduated from GVSU with a BA in Mathematics and was blessed to be able to stay home with the children up until the time Russ began his seminary training. Christie worked as a preschool teacher, and substitute teacher, and served as an admissions coordinator at St. Anne Home during their years at CTSFW.

Pastor Johnson served at Trinity until accepting a call as Senior Pastor to St.Luke Lutheran Church and School where he served from August of 2014-March of 2020. Pastor Johnson accepted a call to Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in March of 2020 and has been blessed with a wonderful congregation and being back home in West Michigan.