Our Pastor: Phillip Risby
Phillip Risby was born to Earline and the late James Risby Jr. in Akron, Ohio on March 25, 1957; the third of six children. He was educated in the Akron Public School Systems graduating June 1975 from South High School. After graduation, he entered the apprenticeship program of the Ohio Carpenters under Local 639. He completed the four year program in May 1979 and received his Journeyman’s Certification as a carpenter. He was able to participate in the construction of such notable sites as the Cleveland Indians Progressive Field, the Cleveland Browns Stadium, Y-Bridge, Firestone Country Clubhouse, and other landmarks/structures in the Cleveland/Akron area.
Phillip was raised in the Church of God Militant Pillar and Ground of the Truth Inc. He accepted the Lord as his personal savior in 1974 under the pastorate of the late Mother Alma Walker. Phillip was a faithful member until 1981 when he transferred his membership to a sister church in Cleveland, Ohio. In Cleveland, under the pastorate of Bishop Albert Cooper, Phillip became Usher Board President, a Deacon, was a member of the choir, and was a Willing Worker. While attending services in Cleveland, Ohio, the congregation moved from St. Clair Avenue to a brand new building now located at 1901 East 66th Street in Cleveland, Ohio. Phillip was instrumental in helping to physically build the new sanctuary by dedicating much time and effort into the new building. His financial contribution to the church was augmented by the fact that he even took time off of his job to work on the church building.
After the completion of the new sanctuary in Cleveland, Phillip returned back to his home church located at 200 Cole Avenue in Akron, Ohio in 1987 where God called him into the ministry. Under the pastorate of the late Bishop Ronald Henry, Minister Phillip Risby continued to be faithful. Not content waiting on an opportunity to preach to those that were saved, oftentimes, he would venture out alone in various neighborhoods witnessing and inviting people to come to church.
After many years of faithful service in the Church of God M.P.G.T., the Lord began to speak to Minister Risby’s heart about beginning a new work. The work would be a lighthouse to the lost, a hospital for the faint, and a refuge for the saints of God. The work was to be called Liberty Tabernacle. In December 1991, Minister Phillip Risby stepped out on the vision he had received of the Lord and established Liberty Tabernacle as a non-denominational church. The first service was held May 3, 1992 in a small building on Copley Rd. with a total of seventeen members (7 adults and 10 children). After a few months, the services were moved to the Pastor’s home.
In the Pastor’s home, the church began to grow physically and financially. Within two years, a new building was needed. A search for a building ensued and eventually a site was established at 555 Corice Street in Akron, Ohio. The first service was held in that building on May 1, 1994 with a total of thirty-five members (16 adults and 19 children).
Liberty Tabernacle continued to grow and again began looking for a new place of worship. During this time, Pastor Risby continued to work to support his family and himself through his occupation because he did not want to be a burden to the ministry. Furthermore, Pastor Risby worked so that the Gospel would not suffer. As he worked, God granted him favor with his employer. Pastor Risby began to receive donations that could be used in a new building (i.e., sinks, doors, lights, desks, etc.). At the same time, a suitable existing site could not be found. On August 27, 2002, the church was able to purchase land in Barberton, Ohio to build a new edifice. This new building would be built by the members of Liberty Tabernacle. In 2005 a ground breaking service was held. On April 1, 2006 the Lord blessed Pastor Risby to retire from his occupation as a carpenter which allowed him to devote all of his time to building the new sanctuary.
Pastor Risby and his wife reside in New Franklin, Ohio where they continue to minister to God’s people while reaching out to those in the community through the ministries established in Liberty Tabernacle. Pastor Risby has been married since March 1979 to Cynthia. They have two adult children, Phillip James and Angel Nicole, who support them in the ministry.
Pastor Risby loves the Lord with all of his heart, mind, soul, and strength. His greatest desire is to win souls for Jesus Christ and get the church ready to meet the Lord.