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Longtime Turlock pastor sets sights on new horizon
Pastor Russell "Rusty" Lyon

After 14 years at the helm of Calvary Baptist Church, Pastor Russell “Rusty” Lyon will deliver his final sermon on Sunday.

Lyon is moving home to his roots in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin where he will be the Senior Pastor at Faith Community Church.

“For 31 years I said I’d never go back to the Midwest,” Lyon said.  “But God had a different plan, and when He puts a plan on your life you must be open to it.”

Lyon’s brother, Dale, and his brother’s wife, Jackie, are both involved with Faith Community Church.

“We would worship there when we would go to church as a family,” Lyon said.  “I would get to sneak back there when we would visit and was always able to listen to a good message.”

Lyon was raised in Wisconsin and first came to California in 1984 to serve as the youth pastor in McFarland for two years.  He considered that his introduction to California.  He then moved to Kingsburg where he assumed the senior pastor position for the first time at First Baptist Kingsburg. 

Fourteen years later he made the move to Turlock.

Lyon started his ministry at Calvary Baptist Church in January of 2001. His approach to ministry is one that incorporates both a personal and biblical approach.

“I try to be practical and put the cookies on the lowest shelf,” Lyon said.  “Over the years I’ve tried to take the scripture and share God’s word in such a way that everyone will be able to benefit from it.”

Lyon’s time in Turlock has been devoted to the church and the community.

Over the years, he coached football at Turlock High School for four years, then coached the varsity team at Turlock Christian High School for seven years and spent the last four years on the coaching staff at Pitman High School for their freshman team.

“What I’ll miss most about Turlock is the people,” Lyon said.  “We have established so many wonderful relationships; it’s painful to say goodbye.”

The last services Lyon will lead will be held Sunday.  The contemporary worship begins at 9:30 a.m. in the sanctuary and the traditional worship begins at 11 a.m. in the chapel.

“Saying goodbye is going to be extremely difficult,” Lyon said.  “But I know there is a warm hello on the other side of the horizon and I’m anticipating this new chapter in God’s will.”