Reverend Billy G. Russell

pastor-russellPastor Billy G. Russell is the Retired Senior Pastor of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Minneapolis, MN since December 2001. Pastor Russell has been blessed and guided by the Holy Spirit to move the physical location of the church from a smaller location to a facility with a sanctuary which seats more than 600 congregants, multiple classrooms, larger kitchen, and multipurpose rooms, and that houses a K-6 charter school with an average of 125 students.

Pastor Russell’s vision, “winning the world for Christ, with love,” is practiced by the Greater Friendship MBC congregation. Under the leadership of Pastor Russell, Greater Friendship MBC “do church” instead of simply “going to church” by partnering with community organizations, other community ministries, student tutoring programs, and with Project Recovery and Re-Entry programs. Through Pastor Russell’s vision of community, a branch of Faith Bible Institute has been established with more than 30 graduates with a Biblical Studies diploma. A partnership has been established with Northwestern Bible Institute, which also brings Bible studies to the community.

Pastor Russell is honored to serve as president of Minnesota Baptist State Convention. He has served on the Sabathani Community Center board, Urban League as board member, Here’s Life Inner City advisory board, and Isaiah Transportation and Financial Equity Networks.

Pastor Russell hails from a large southern family of six girls and five boys. He experienced growing up in the church with his dad as pastor. At the tender age of 18, Pastor Russell gave himself to God and has walked strong upon that path ever since. As the second-born son, he succeeded at setting a standard, and was the first of the boys to graduate from college. He received a Bachelors of Science Degree in Physical Education with a minor in Earth Science from University of Southern, MS, Hattiesburg, MS; Master’s Degree in Education Administration from William Carey College, Hattiesburg, MS; Masters Degree in Christian Counselor, Faith Seminary, Tacoma, WA; and is presently completing a doctorate degree in Strategic Leadership, Tacoma, WA. Pastor Russell also attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, New Orleans, LA, and Reform Theological Seminary, Jackson, MS. He has received an honorary doctorate from St Thomas Christian University, Jacksonville, FL.

Pastor Russell has served as pastor since 1982. He also served as school administrator for more than 20 years.
Singing has always been a passion of Pastor Russell since he was 5 years old. He is a song writer and recording artist. Pastor Russell and his brothers have recorded six projects, which have reached hearts around the country. Pastor Russell has been married to his wife, Theresa, since 1977, and they are parents of four children: Nanita (deceased), Billy Charvez (Sharmaine), DeSha Shantrez and Joseph LeBernardo, eight grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren.