Religion

SUMMER SIZZLE: Program reflects casual church

MANATEE — It’s possible that no one has more fun on a water slide, in a bounce house or at a craft table than 45-year-old pastor David “Rudy” Rudisill of WestCoast Church in Parrish.

That’s because the hard part of his life — deciding on his true calling — is behind him and Rudisill is now enjoying everything to the max.

“It’s a blast,” Rudisill said of the annual Summer Sizzle his church puts on and his life since he became leader of WestCoast.

This year’s Summer Sizzle, which includes free food, face painting, games, water slides, moon bounces, craft tents and displays by 40 local businesses, is scheduled 3-7 p.m. Aug. 7 on the church grounds at 11750 U.S. 301, Parrish.

The event, for young and old, also features music from a deejay who is a member of the church’s worship team.

The non-denominational, Bible-based Christian church is on the north side of U.S. 301, next to the Lexington subdivision.

Summer Sizzle is put on because WestCoast cares about community outreach, Rudisill said.

“It’s all about us reaching out to the community and letting them know we love them and care about them and that God has a purpose for them,” said church member Bette Ricci.

This year’s theme is “Survivor,” how we survive life’s challenges, Rudisill said.

Rudisill also decided that with the economy ailing, local business leaders needed a helping hand. So he has invited them to have booths at the event so they can show what they do.

Rudisill and his wife, Megan, and children, Moriah, 15, Lauren, 14, and Caleb, 12, moved to Parrish from Ohio in 1997 so Rudisill, who has been called “Rudy” since the third grade, could help run Petz Custom Homes.

Being pastor of a church was the farthest thing from his mind, Rudisill said.

“I remember when I was 13, my dad said to me, ‘What do you think you want to do with your life?’ ” Rudisill recalls. “I told him, ‘Dad, I know what I don’t want to do and that’s be a pastor of a church. It’s 24/7. You are never off the clock.”

Looking back, Rudisill, who was raised Baptist, realizes that sometimes the thing a person resists the most is what they are supposed to do.

When it came time to go to college, Rudisill was set to go to Eastern Kentucky University, but his dad suggested Oral Roberts University.

“Dad had picked up a brochure for Oral Roberts and I looked at it,” Rudisill said of the Christian-affiliated school where each class is started with a prayer. “I told him, ‘Dad, you’re paying for it. Where would you like me to go?’ He replied, ‘I would like you to go to Oral Roberts.’”

But the change in his life to being a minister did not happen quickly. He became an electrical engineer and his best friend invited him to Florida to be a builder and developer.

In 2005, Rudisill and his family were members of what was then Lighthouse Church and Rudisill was on the elder board when then-senior pastor John Mizell took him to lunch one day and suggested he consider becoming a pastor.

“I was shaken,” Rudisill said.

Rudisill went home and considered what Mizell had told him.

“I said, ‘God, what are you doing?’”Mizell said.

Rudisill and Megan prayed and discovered no “red lights,” Rudisill said.

“I said, ‘God, if I do this you are doing it with me,’” Rudisill said.

One of the first things Rudisill did was to change the name of the church.

“The name WestCoast reflects our desire to be a lively church that grows its ministry here on the West Coast of Florida,” Rudisill said.

WestCoast is casual, comfortable and full of warmth, Ricci said.

When people walk into WestCoast they are greeted with a smile, a handshake, water, coffee and snacks.

“We try to do anything to relieve fears and anxieties,” Rudisill said.

The church has a prayer chain where people pray for others in church and in the community that they may not even know.

At the services, which are at 10 a.m. every Sunday, the roughly 170 members listen to a praise band play contemporary music.

Rudisill often takes a Bible scripture or story and relates it to modern life.

A Bible study is offered at 7 p.m. Wednesday for six straight weeks at church followed by six weeks in small groups at member’s homes.

Mizell has stayed on as a pastor to help.

“We are in the plow together, working,” Rudisill said. “This has been an amazing journey.”

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.Rudisill and his wife, Megan, and children, Moriah, 15, Lauren, 14, and Caleb, 12, moved to Parrish from Ohio in 1997 so Rudisill, who has been called “Rudy” since the third grade, could help run Petz Custom Homes.

Being pastor of a church was the farthest thing from his mind, Rudisill said.

“I remember when I was 13, my dad said to me, ‘What do you think you want to do with your life?’ ” Rudisill recalls. “I told him, ‘Dad, I know what I don’t want to do and that’s be a pastor of a church. It’s 24/7. You are never off the clock.”

Looking back, Rudisill, who was raised Baptist, realizes that sometimes the thing a person resists the most is what they are supposed to do.

When it came time to go to college, Rudisill was set to go to Eastern Kentucky University, but his dad suggested Oral Roberts University.

“Dad had picked up a brochure for Oral Roberts and I looked at it,” Rudisell said of the Christian-affiliated school where each class is started with a prayer. “I told him, ‘Dad, you’re paying for it. Where would you like me to go?’ He replied, ‘I would like you to go to Oral Roberts.’”

But the change in his life to being a minister did not happen quickly. He became an electrical engineer and his best friend invited him to Florida to be a builder and developer.

In 2005, Rudisill and his family were members of what was then Lighthouse Church and Rudisill was on the elder board when then-senior pastor John Mizell took him to lunch one day and suggested he consider becoming a pastor.

“I was shaken,” Rudisill said.

Rudisill went home and considered what Mizell had told him.

“I said, ‘God, what are you doing?’”Mizell said.

Rudisell and Megan prayed and discovered no “red lights,” Rudisill said.

“I said, ‘God, if I do this you are doing it with me,’” Rudisill said.

One of the first things Rudisill did was to change the name of the church.

“The name WestCoast reflects our desire to be a lively church that grows its ministry here on the West Coast of Florida,” Rudisill said.

WestCoast is casual, comfortable and full of warmth, Ricci said.

When people walk into WestCoast they are greeted with a smile, a handshake, water, coffee and snacks.

“We try to do anything to relieve fears and anxieties,” Rudisell said.

The church has a prayer chain where people pray for others in church and in the community that they may not even know.

At the services, which are at 10 a.m. every Sunday, the roughly 170 members listen to a praise band play contemporary music.

Rudisell often takes a Bible scripture or story and relates it to modern life.

A Bible study is offered at 7 p.m. Wednesday for six straight weeks at church followed by six weeks in small groups at member’s homes.

Mizell has stayed on as a pastor to help.

“We are in the plow together, working,” Rudisell said. “This has been an amazing journey.”

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686.

  Comments