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Called to Serve: Russell Flynt '97

Called to Serve: Russell Flynt '97

When Russell Flynt ’97 and his family moved to Atlanta shortly before the start of his ninth-grade year, he didn’t know what to expect in the Upper School at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School. The Upper School itself was still fairly new after the first class of seniors graduated in 1995 but he found classmates to be friendly and welcoming. 

He got involved in a variety of activities, including basketball, baseball, Honor Council, Student Council, peer counseling and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He remembered that Chaplain Mike Wallens provided a great amount of support to the students.  

When the time came to select a college, Mr. Flynt enrolled at Ole Miss, where he earned a B.A. in business administration. He went to work for Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) and was assigned to the University of Florida, where he primarily supported the men’s fraternities. He met his wife, Molliann, in Gainesville. They are the proud parents of Ella Rae, 10, Rosiah, 8, Rita Kate, 7, and Tommy, 5.

“It was a little tricky going to the Florida-Ole Miss games,” he said. “I saw a lot of SEC traditions in action.” 

After seven years with Cru, he decided to pursue a Master’s degree and enrolled in seminary at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. “I felt that God was directing me to work in the church,” he said. 

Their first child was born in Chicago and, with a desire to live closer to family, Mr. Flynt found a church in Birmingham, Ala., that needed a pastor. From 2013 to 2021, he served as associate pastor of Redstone Church, a partner of North Point Ministries. 

In his time there, he realized the significant role of counseling in Christians’ lives and entered a program to earn a certification in Biblical Counseling from the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF). He now works with Heart Song Counseling, based in Birmingham. He supports people coping with trauma, loss, abuse, depression and anxiety, in addition to marriage counseling. 

“I’ve had struggles and I have had mentors invest in me. I like helping people,” he said. “Everyone has purpose, everyone matters and everyone needs people to talk to. God made each person unique and special.” 

The past few years brought many people’s struggles to light as they coped with the fear and isolation of Covid-related protocols. The addition of virtual counseling sessions allowed many to find support through difficult days. 

“Kids are more resilient than we realized but so many kids also struggle with mental health,” Mr. Flynt said. “It’s okay not to be okay but it’s not okay to stay that way. It takes a lot of courage to reach out and ask for help, and there’s nothing wrong with doing that.” 

He often draws on lessons learned during his days at HIES “It was a really important time in my life and the school is amazing,” he said. “The school was so united, we cheered for all our teams together and people were made to feel welcome.” 

He has remained close with former classmates and teammates. “I played varsity sports and took AP classes but that’s not what I really remember about high school,” he said. “I got a love for people and built friendships. There were so many teachers who cared about me and that made me care about others.”