IBC Staff

Rev. J. Russell Reaves, Pastor

September 11, 2005 - August 31, 2017


Pastor Russ began serving as Immanuel's pastor on September 11, 2005. He is a native of Winston-Salem. He is married to Donia Newton Reaves, also of Winston-Salem. They have two children. Russ was an atheist as a teenager, and he came to faith in Christ when Christian friends invited him to a student camp at Fort Caswell where he was challenged to spend time each day reading the Bible. Pastor Russ points to 1 Samuel 3:7 as a verse that the Holy Spirit used to awaken his awareness of God's existence and His work to draw him to salvation. On July 31, 1992, Russ gave his life to Jesus and has been growing in his faith ever since. Pastor Russ was preparing for a career as a High School History teacher at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte when he felt the Lord calling Him into ministry. He graduated from North Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem, NC; Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute (Hendersonville, NC) with an Associate Degree in Religion and Church Ministry in 1997; Lancaster Bible College (Lancaster, PA) with a Bachelor of Science in Bible in 2000; and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (Wake Forest, NC) with a Master of Divinity concentrated in Christian Apologetics and Biblical Languages in 2005. Prior to serving as Immanuel's pastor, Russ served as pastor of Conowingo Baptist Church (Conowingo, MD) and Hillcrest Baptist Church (Kernersville, NC).

Pastor Russ is committed to the task of expository preaching, addressing the congregation each Sunday from the biblical text verse-by-verse through books of the Bible. Since being at Immanuel, Pastor Russ has preached through Philippians, the Gospel According to Mark, Ephesians, 1 Peter, Jonah, the Gospel According to John, Habakkuk, and began a series on the Essential 100 passages of the Bible. In addition to his pulpit ministry, Pastor Russ is committed to leading the church to make a strategic missional impact in the community and among the unreached peoples of the world. Aside from these priorities, he provides pastoral care to the congregation in times of need and organizational administration within the church. Since coming to Immanuel, Pastor Russ has led the church to establish a website (www.ibcgso.org), to incorporate, to revise its governing documents and implement new policies, to renovate the worship space by providing accessibility to those with mobility challenges, and to launch a strategic mission team which seeks to lead Immanuel's members into meaningful missions engagement locally and internationally. Among his goals for Immanuel are to revitalize community outreach, including developing a significant college ministry, and to develop an ongoing partnership with missions personnel in reaching a specific people group in the world which has had little or no access to the Gospel.

In addition to Pastor Russ's ministry within the church, he also teaches in several academic settings. He has taught courses in Church Administration, Church Planting, Evangelism, Apologetics, New Testament, Old Testament, World Religions, Pastoral Ministries, Church History, Expository Preaching, and Biblical Interpretation. Pastor Russ has also served as a volunteer chaplain to the Triad's professional hockey teams under the ministry of Hockey Ministries International (www.hockeyministries.org). His weekly sermons are available for download on this site and on iTunes as a podcast. Pastor Russ also writes regularly on his blog at http://russreaves.blogspot.com. Pastor Russ is the author of Jonah: An Expository Commentary and We Hear the Christmas Angels which can be purchased online at Amazon.com or through the church office.

Russ welcomes inquiries for speaking in revivals, conferences, and seminars.

Pastor Russ resigned as Pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church, effective August 31, 2017, and preached his final sermon as pastor on August 6, 2017. The church commissioned him and his family as missionaries to serve in his new assignment of Strategy Coordinator for the Triad with the North Carolina Baptist State Convention.

Dr. Jack Benzenhafer, Assistant Pastor for Senior Adult Ministry

Jack and his wife Pat joined the Immanuel Church family in October of 2011 after retiring to the Triad after many years of fruitful ministry. In March of 2012, he was called to join our staff as Assistant Pastor for Senior Adult Ministry. In addition to assisting the Pastor and the church in other areas of ministry, he gives oversight to the monthly Senior Adult luncheon and provides pastoral care to Immanuel's homebound and members in care facilities. Jack holds the Bachelor of Science degree in Bible with a minor in Christian Education from Philadelphia Biblical University, a Master of Arts in New Testament from Wheaton College, and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Western Seminary, with additional studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has served as Pastor of First Baptist Church, Fosterburg, Illinois and Jackson Baptist Church in Jackson, New Jersey, and Interim Pastor at a number of churches. He and Pat served as missionaries to Philippines, where Jack also served as President of Koinonia Theological Seminary. He has served on the faculty of Carolina Evangelical Divinity School, Carolina Christian College, Westminster Christian Academy, Koinonia Theological Seminary (Philippines), Bethel Seminary of the East, Philadelphia Biblical University, Northeastern Bible College, and Charlotte Christian High School. In addition, Jack has coached basketball and soccer at Wheaton College, Northeastern Bible College, Faith Academy (Philippines), Westminster Christian Academy, and Charlotte Christian High School.


Mrs. Karen Clark, Administrative Assistant

Karen began working with us in October, 2015. She and her husband Drew are members at Life Community Church, and are the proud parents of Ethan and Jesse, who are both attending college presently.