Woodbridge Campus Pastor Craig Rush is going to let you in on a few secrets as he prepares for the grand opening of his campus’ new location. Dedicated to the Murphy/Wylie/Sachse community, he is excited for the opening of Woodbridge Campus’ new location in Sachse, TX.
Before our grand opening, here are the top ten things you should know about Woodbridge Campus Pastor Craig Rush.
1. Growing Up a Pastor’s Kid
Growing up in Alabama, Craig and his family moved around a lot as his father pastored small Southern Baptist churches throughout the state. Before his fifth-grade year, his family had moved six times. Finally, during his middle school and high school years, Craig’s family settled in Opelika, Alabama, where he calls home.
We all hear stories of pastor’s kids getting in trouble from time to time. According to Craig, he was a “typical preacher’s kid and kind of a rebel.” One night, he got himself into trouble when he was busted for partying on city property by a deacon in his father’s church. Although it was not comical at the time, Craig can find the humor in his “rebel” days.
2. Looking Up to Doctor Farmer
When we are young, we all have some dream job we would love to have. For our Woodbridge Campus Pastor, he wanted to be an orthodontist, just like Dr. Farmer. As a young child, Craig had bucked teeth, which was worrisome for an avid basketball player. At a very young age, he would undergo dental procedures and get braces. Because he wanted to be like Dr. Farmer, he had aspirations of being an orthodontist, definitely not a pastor.
3. Finding His Faith
Blessed to have grown up in a Christ-centered home, Craig accepted Christ at the tender age of six. Craig had a good foundation in Christ as a child that would later help him find a path into ministry. Although he had a relationship with God for most of his life, Craig would try to live life his own way from the time he was a teen until he was a young adult.
In November 2009, a turning point in his life happened when a friend invited him to a men’s group at a local church. Despite never attending this church before, God used the small group to transform his life and faith. Attending the men’s group allowed Craig to experience authentic community for the first time. He openly talked about his guilt and shame. And the men in the group challenged him to live differently in a loving way.
4. Understanding the Value of Money
Most of us remember our first jobs whether it was mowing lawns, waiting tables, or sacking groceries. But Craig Rush had an experience that was different from the typical first job. At 14 years old, Craig began working at Pepper’s Heating and Air.
Specializing in mobile homes, Craig’s job was to run copper and conduit from the outside unit to the inside furnace. He had to crawl underneath the mobile home, cut a hole in the insulation, and shove the conduit up to Mr. Peppers inside. The worst part was running into snakes and armadillos underneath the mobile homes!
With all his hard work and little pay, Craig remembers the most important lesson he learned from his first job. “Sounds cliché but it helped me understand the value of money,” Craig recalls, “I was making $6 an hour and those could be hard hours! Made me think twice about how I spent it.”
5. Meeting the Love of His Life
When Craig was starting college at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, his parents moved to Natchitoches, Louisiana. While visiting his father for Father’s Day in 2005, a beautiful blonde caught his eye in his father’s church, First Baptist Church Natchitoches.
Craig remembers sneaking into church late (as usual) and sitting in the balcony. During the sermon, he noticed the beautiful blonde in the second row. During the sermon, he concocted a plan where he could talk to her. When he “ran” into her, he introduced himself and invited her to a young adult event at the church later in the evening.
Craig admits he had no interest in attending the event before meeting this beautiful blonde. But he knew the event would allow him to spend more time with her. His plan paid off. Eventually, he came to call this beautiful blonde Bethany. After asking her out on a date, he never looked back.
Craig never returned to Birmingham. He transferred to Louisiana Tech in Ruston. One year later, Craig and Bethany married and started the adventure of their life together.
6. Becoming a Pastor
“Being the kid of a pastor, I always said the one thing I’d never do is be a pastor, but God’s obviously got a sense of humor,” Craig jokes as he talks about his journey of becoming a pastor.
After moving to Ruston, Louisiana, Craig and Bethany started attending Christ Community Church (now known as The Bridge Community Church). Shortly after Craig opened up his life to God in a new way, he talked with Pastor Len Wood about what steps he could take to serve in the church.
As a result, Craig and Bethany started leading a small group for college students. The small group quickly grew and became a ministry, prompting the church to ask Craig to consider being a part of their staff. Although he never thought he would become a pastor, Craig responded to God’s calling and embarked on the path to pursue full-time ministry.
In 2012, Craig joined the Chase Oaks staff as the Young Adult Intern while attending Dallas Theological Seminary full-time. In 2014, he was hired as a Groups Pastor. Two years later, Craig moved to our Sloan Creek Campus as the Adult Ministries Pastor. The plan was for Craig to train with Sloan Creek Campus Pastor Dan Martin for a few years so that he could launch another Chase Oaks campus in the future.
After working at the Sloan Creek Campus for two months, Former Campus Pastor Jason Williams announced he was moving to California to take a job at Saddleback Church. This, of course, changed Craig’s plans once again. He became the new Woodbridge Campus Pastor.
7. Being a Father
Craig and Bethany are parents to three amazing children: Elliott, 7 years; Evelyn, 5 years; and Everett, 3 years. Just like becoming a pastor, becoming a father transformed his life.
“Being a dad has taught me so much more about God’s love for me. Having children that look like you and act like you in many ways is a remarkable thing and taught me so much more about unconditional love,” Craig describes as he discusses the most important lessons he has learned as a father.
8. Facing His Biggest Fear
On a trip to Six Flags with Bethany and some friends, Craig rode the Titan to face his biggest fear: the fear of heights. Rather than conquering his fear, Craig felt sick the whole way home.
Today, Craig tries to stay away from planes, glass elevators, high bridges, or amusement parks. Of course, if you sit next to him on a plane or on a roller coaster, he might try to have a rough exterior. But just know he is probably secretly screaming inside.
9. Admiring His Grandfather
When asked about the person that influenced him the most, Craig recalls his memories of his paternal grandfather whom he refers to as “granddaddy.” He remembers his grandfather holding the family together when Craig and his father did not always see eye-to-eye. Craig loved his stories and sense of humor. But most of all, Craig admired his love for Jesus and for his family.
As Vice President of the Zeigler Meat Company, he would spend some of his time with well-known people. Despite his success, Craig recalls, “Whether he was playing golf with Bear Bryant or talking to the person checking out his groceries, he treated everyone the same. He acted the same around everyone, too…I always respected him for that.”
10. Finding Comfort in His Favorites
As an Alabama native, Craig roots for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Craig loves college football season because it unites his family and friends. During football season, you might catch him talking to his dad a lot.
Craig also finds comfort in casseroles. You might find him chowing down on a sweet potato or squash casserole. But you will definitely find him staying away from cauliflower—even if it is in a casserole!
Where You Will Find Him Today
Growing up in different towns throughout Alabama, Craig is really excited about putting his roots down in the Murphy/Wylie/Sachse community. He is excited about the grand opening of the Woodbridge Campus in this community.
Describing the surrounding community, he says, “It’s a very special place! For the most part, people are pretty down to earth and for each other…. I also like the fact it’s growing and there’s an opportunity to impact lives as people move in from all around the world.”
This Easter, come join us at the grand opening of our Woodbridge Campus in Sachse, TX. It will be a fun celebration for the whole family. For more information, check out our Facebook page. We hope to see you there!