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Reaching beyond the walls of love
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Born in Paducah, Ky., Riley Dean Nelson has served as the minister of the Richmond Hill Church of Christ for 16 years and has been preaching full time for 20 years.
Prior to arriving in Richmond Hill, Nelson was in north Mississippi at Central Academy.
“The brethren here were looking for someone to work with the congregation and asked my family to come and work with them,” Nelson said.
Richmond Hill Church of Christ was established in March 1991.
“We have grown some recently and average around 85 on Sunday morning. We have about 50 households,” Nelson said.
 Members work at evangelizing in the local area and support works in north Georgia, Indonesia and India.  The church also supports two students at the Memphis School of Preaching.  
“Our vision is to evangelize as many as possible in our area and around the world. We have and desire to maintain a congregation that stands for what God’s word teaches,” Nelson said.
There are military members and three are currently deployed.
“We send them boxes of goodies, and this holiday season we will be sending them cards. Members of the church try and support their families while they are away by helping out where we can,” Nelson said.
“I love people and want as many as will to go to heaven. People need to see the love God has for them, and then the love that the Christians here have for them,” he said. “Knowing the Bible tells us that lost people need the gospel and it is our responsibility to take it to them, motivates me to work diligently to see this is done.”
Richmond Hill Church of Church also has a visitation program whereby members visit the sick and visitors to the church.
“We have a nursing home work where we hold a service once a month at the local nursing home. A youth program is in place to keep our young people involved in the work of the church,” Nelson said. “We have an annual lectureship to edify the church, as well as two gospel meeting each year.”
According to Nelson, the church strives to promote Bible study through its educational department, and has activities for all ages during the year.
“In fact, we have one or two activities each month,” he said.
Nelson is a graduate of the Memphis School of Preaching, with the equivalent of a masters’ degree in biblical studies.
“I also have worked through Regions University,” he said.  
Additionally, Nelson has performed mission work on the Island of Grenada, New Zealand, and Australia.
He advises ministers to spend time with the Bible, looking at what it says, not at what they already believe.
“Remember your family is as important as anyone else’s. The greatest challenge I see is trying to find enough time to spend with study, visitation, the work that we do as a congregation, counseling, and then to have time with my family. One of my greatest moments in the ministry was having the opportunity to baptize my two boys.”
When he has time, Nelson enjoys model building and fishing.
“I do not find as much time as I would like for either,” he said.
Nelson has served as cub master for Pack 527 in Richmond Hill, committee chairman for Troop 527, and scoutmaster for Troop 127 at the church.
Nelson has been married for 28 years to the former Susie Ann Montgomery of New Albany, Miss. She serves as a department manager at Wal-Mart. They have two boys (Andrew Christopher Nelson and Mark Edward Nelson). Andrew is a minister in Homerville and Mark is a student at Savannah Tech and is employed by Brady Electric.
The Nelsons live in Richmond Hill.
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