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Lead Pastor
Rusty L Russell
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Rusty became the Lead Pastor of New Day Christian Church in July of 2010. For the previous fourteen years he was an associate minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where he served in several capacities, his last three years as the Campus Pastor of Southeast’s first regional campus in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He has coauthored several books with his father, Bob Russell, including When God Answers Prayer and When God Builds a Church. He has a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Cincinnati Christian University and a Masters of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rusty and his wife Kellie have been married since 1991 and have four children and one daughter-in-law.
 
 
Executive Pastor
Dwight Wilkins
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Dwight Wilkins joined the staff of New Day Christian Church in September 2011. Dwight graduated from Bethel College in St. Paul MN, 300 years ago, with a degree in Biblical and Theological Studies. After serving for several years as a Youth Minister he stepped out of full time ministry into the business world. During his years in business he learned many good business practices while working in several businesses. During this time he remained active as a volunteer in church, serving as a teacher, Elder, and any place God wanted to use him. In 1998 he resigned his position as CEO of a small company in Georgia and stepped back into full time ministry as the Minister of Administration at Christ’s Church @ Whitewater in Fayetteville GA. In 1983 Dwight and his family moved to Marquette MI where he took the position of Minister of Administration at Lake Superior Christian Church. God has brought him here to be a member of the team at New Day Christian Church. Dwight is married Gigi and has two “twenty something” children Michael and Rachel. He loves to spend time with his family, work in the yard, and golf.
 
 
Discipleship Pastor
Mike Shellabarger
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Mike joined the New Day staff as Discipleship Pastor in November of 2013 after spending more than 30 years as a teacher, coach, high school principal, and school district administrator. He attended Bible College at Johnson University Tennessee where he also served as a teaching assistant and coach. He holds degrees in education and administration from Miami University and The University of Dayton. Mike also served as the Director of Field Services for the Christian Church Foundation for the Handicapped, now known as the Christian Churches Disability Ministry, where he spoke in churches and camps about God's all-encompassing love and grace. Mike has filled many leadership roles in the local church, including serving as an Elder at Troy Christian Church in Ohio before moving to SW Florida. He and his wife, Tammy, have been blessed with 2 daughters, Aubrey and Whitney, along with the joy of 4 grandchildren; Elle, Graham, Greyson and Mac. Mike loves living near the beach, hiking in the mountains, and is a college football and basketball fan. He feels humbled and blessed to serve at New Day where lives are being changed through Jesus. Mike holds on to the words of the apostle Paul found in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me ...."
 
 
Worship Pastor
Jared Hunter
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Jared Hunter grew up in Saint Augustine, Florida where he met, and in 2010 married, his wife Karle. Jared graduated from Johnson University Florida in the same year and began his work in full-time ministry after graduation. He joined the staff at New Day Christian Church in Port Charlotte, Florida in 2012 as the Worship Pastor and continues to serve there today. In 2016, Jared began his graduate work with Liberty University majoring in worship studies. His prayer is to use this education and the experiences God has blessed him with to prepare the next generation of worship leaders to be used by God in the local church. Jared and his wife Karle are expecting their first child in August of this year.
 
 
Care Pastor
Chris Heiss
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Chris joined the staff at New Day as our Care Pastor in February of 2017. His background includes 25 years of Pastoral Ministry in the area of Youth, Discipleship and Preaching. He has served churches in Oklahoma, Missouri and Ohio. Previous to coming to Port Charlotte, Chris worked at a funeral home in Ohio serving in the areas of planning and Aftercare as a Licensed Funeral Director. Chris graduated from Ozark Christian College with a Bachelor of Biblical Literature. He has four children: his son Chris is married to Megan and they live in Piqua, Ohio where Chris is in Agricultural Research; his daughter Moriah lives in Dayton, Ohio after having served in the United States Marine Corps; his son Kyle is married to Lexington and he serves as the Worship Leader at the Gateway Church in Austin, Texas on their South campus; and his son Philip lives in Dayton, Ohio where he attends the School for Advertising Art. Chris is a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, having grown up in St. Louis and is also a fan of The Ohio State Buckeyes, having raised his family in the state of Ohio! His passion is investing into and growing people. Chris serves in the areas of pastoral care, missions, adult discipleship, Primetimers, counseling and benevolence. One of his favorite verses is Philippians 1:6 which encourages, “I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
 
 
Student Pastor
Robbie Rutherford
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Robbie Rutherford grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida and in 2013 graduated from Johnson University Florida with a BA in Christian Ministry/Preaching. Robbie is married to Brittany Rutherford and they have two kids Leilani and Trey. Robbie enjoys spending time with his family, hanging out with students, and watching the Jacksonville Jaguars.
 
 
Children's Ministry Director/Community Connections
Gigi A Wilkins
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Gigi was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. She attended Cincinnati Bible College, studying Elementary Education and Journalism. After college, she worked in sales for a national biochemical company. In 1992 Gigi was hired as the Director of Children's Ministry at Christ's Church@Whitewater in the suburban Atlanta, Georgia area. She served there for 10 years before following God's leading to Marquette, Michigan where her husband, Dwight, served the Lake Superior Christian Church. Gigi is a die hard Kentucky Basketball fan... She loves chick flics and movie popcorn. Gigi's favorite bible verse is Ephesians 2:10: "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Gigi is mother to 2 awesome children, Michael, and Rachel. Gigi says she is "blessed beyond measure!"
 
 
Communications Director
Jessica L Fincannon
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Family Ministries Assistant
Kelly Kile
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Office Manager
April Greene
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April was raised in FL. The beach has always been her favorite place to be. April married her high school sweetheart, Jeremy Greene, in 1996. They have 2 adult daughters. For leisure, April enjoys sewing, sunshine and spending time with family. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." This reminds her that even when life is not going according to her plan, HIS plan is always better.
 
 
Technical Director
Christian Requena
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Christian grew up here in Port Charlotte and has attended New Day all his life. He enjoys all things sports and tech related. After graduating from Port Charlotte High School in 2013, He attended Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale for 2 years. He was studying to become an Athletic Trainer before realizing that his true calling was to be a Church Technical Director. In the fall of 2015 he transferred schools to Full Sail University. Christian graduated from Full Sail with a Bachelors of Science in Show Production in the spring of 2017 and quickly found his way back home here at New Day. "God is doing some incredible things here and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to be apart of them!" He is referred to as the oldest/newest staff member here at New Day.
 
 
Bookkeeper
Sharon Francis
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Elders
Al Hoffman
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George Hotchkiss
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Charles Jerry
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Bart Marx
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Wayne Rose
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Tom Thrasher
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Lead Pastor
Rusty L Russell
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Rusty became the Lead Pastor of New Day Christian Church in July of 2010. For the previous fourteen years he was an associate minister at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, where he served in several capacities, his last three years as the Campus Pastor of Southeast’s first regional campus in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He has coauthored several books with his father, Bob Russell, including When God Answers Prayer and When God Builds a Church. He has a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Cincinnati Christian University and a Masters of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rusty and his wife Kellie have been married since 1991 and have four children and one daughter-in-law.
 
 
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