St. John’s Baptist Church

Worship | Sundays @ 10:30am

Minister for Worship and Music Candidate

On Sunday, December 10, we will ask the congregation to approve our new Minister for Worship and Music. The Search Team is excited to unanimously recommend Russell Nelson to St. John’s as Minister for Worship and Music. Russell has been reviewed and endorsed by the Personnel Resource Team and the Diaconate.

Russell Nelson is a graduate (summa cum laude) of Anderson College, SC, where he attended with Noel Lance, and he holds a Master of Music in Choral Conducting from the Westminster Choir College of Rider University in Princeton, NJ. He has 16 years of music ministry experience with three churches in Tallahassee, Asheville, and Birmingham. He moved back to Anderson, SC, in 2018 to care for his parents, and is now ready to return to his calling in music ministry.

We were impressed with Russell’s quiet demeanor and humility. He will be more than just the choir director; he will be a minister and an integral part of the ministerial team. He connects with all ages, from young children to youth and adults. We were amazed to learn that he enjoys creating worship bulletins, a task we expect Amanda will happily turn over to him. We believe he not only has the technical skills to direct St. John’s music program, but he has the relational skills to make it the best in Charlotte, and also to help Jessica Borgnis grow the St. John’s Music Academy.

Russell brings many years of experience in music ministry, a love for meaningful and well-planned worship, and a good heart for people. In addition to world-class training in choral conducting, he is published in the field and experienced with orchestras and extended works. He is an accomplished pianist and choral director, with experience leading and directing choirs of all ages. Russell is well-loved and respected by his choirs. They describe him as calm, caring, knowledgeable, and able to give instruction lovingly.

As a leader Russell has a humble and quiet style, working in the background to support others to move forward and carry out the work of the church through worship, missions, and relationships. Russell is very spiritual and sincere and does not seek the spotlight. He pays attention to details, is dedicated to his work, and is willing to do what is needed. He is collaborative when working with others and creative in his leadership. Russell has maintained contact with Noel Lance through the years and both are looking forward to their collaboration at St. John’s.

Russell sees the music program as a ministry – music is to honor and glorify God. He creates a culture of spirituality in the choir, showing how music can take us beyond words if we are open to it.  Choir rehearsals include explanations of the music theme and spiritual significance.  Russell is comfortable using diverse types and styles of music and worship elements. He focuses on what is needed and appropriate for worship, not just what he likes. First – does it honor and glorify God? Second – does it help the congregation with the theme and focus of worship? 

Russell is a person of deep and thoughtful faith and has preached on occasion at his former churches. He will be a full minister to our congregation and has expressed a desire to be a part of pastoral care and relational opportunities with all ages and stages of our families of the church.

Russell is glad to be back home in the Carolinas and is excited to work alongside St. John’s members and staff as we embark on our second century. He is impressed with what he has learned about St. John’s and looks forward to serving with us for many years.

Many thanks to our Search Team members: James Laney, Kathy Bragg, Ken Hungate, Eric McCombs, Elizabeth Peacock, Ed Turner, Sally Young, and Dennis Foust (ex officio).