Eric Russ is the pastor of Mack Avenue Community Church. In our time together, he talks about his journey from preaching in the suburbs of Ohio to the urban core of Detroit, how he fits deep theology into his category of ‘light reading’, and why it’s important to keep staring at the fishes.
Compelled to see gospel-transformation in the city, Eric and his wife Sara along with a dedicated team of friends moved to Detroit’s east side and founded Mack Avenue Community Church, where he serves as lead pastor and discipleship is the heartbeat of their ministry.
Eric grew up in inner city Cleveland where his parents were drug dealers and involved in organized crime. As a teenager Eric began to sell crack-cocaine himself. While excelling in school as an honor student, he also earned recognition on the street by fighting and making money through drug dealing. After almost killing a man the night of his senior prom, Eric realized his life had to change or he would end up in jail or dead.
During his freshman year at Miami University of Ohio, God put many people into Eric’s life that told him about Jesus. It wasn’t until he went to a conference sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ that he submitted his life to Christ.
After graduation, Eric passed on a job with Procter and Gamble to work full-time with Campus Crusade for Christ at Michigan State University.
Eric went on for further training at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary where he earned a Master of Divinity. While in seminary the Lord united Eric with his wife Sara and gave them an excitement for serving God together. After Seminary, Eric and Sara spent a year as missionaries in Uganda and two years serving with a church in Cincinnati. They have four children, Connor, Joel, Lauren and Eli.