May 14, 2024


Pastor establishes church in Moscow, “We’re going to try”

Pastor John Brown called to revive church services in the building formerly known as the United Methodist Church
By Jacob Lane , Advocate Editor

“There is no guarantee of success,” says Pastor John Brown, “but we know this, if we don’t try, we’ll never succeed, So, we’re going to try and see where God takes this,”

Brown has been the pastor of Fruitland Baptist Church for over 20 years in Muscatine; however, he’s been called to expand that ministry into Moscow, Iowa. Specifically, the building that was formerly the United Methodist Church up until a couple years ago. It’s now owned through a 501c3 entitled Moscow Church Preservation. Pastor Brown has divine designs for the near future.

“It will have no affiliation with anyone, it’s just a Bible believing group that we hope to organize into an established church,” he says.

The name is Moscow Bible Fellowship right now, though that’s subject to change. It also has a Board of Directors. Brown and his crew are currently working on the building to get it up to par by Resurrection Sunday, March 31, when the pastor hopes to hold a Bible Story and Fellowship Time.

“The building is essentially sound, but it needs some repairs, that will be an ongoing thing,” he says. “We’ve been doing the basics, like painting and cleaning.”

Pastor John Brown and his wife of 45 years, Kim, are in for the long haul. The couple have four children, while Brown also has roots stretching back to 1851 in the Wilton area. He was a businessman and a farmer, but says when he turned 40 God called him into vocational ministry, of which he has around 24 years of experience now.

God brought him to a point where he realized that business wasn’t his purpose. So, he went into the ministry after getting polished up in school.

Currently the Pastor of Fruitland Baptist Church, he feels led to help plant a church in Moscow, a field that is ripe for the harvest.

He learned of the church’s closing from its former pastor, Sandra Berryman, when they were having lunch.

“When I learned that United Methodist Church was going to close, I became interested, because Moscow still needs to have a church,” he says.

“It doesn’t really have a full name yet because it’s a church plant,” he explains. “This is an independent thing that Kim and I have been led to try.”

Pastor Brown received a degree in Pastoral Studies and Counseling from Faith Baptist Bible College and Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa. He spent a few years pastoring in Corwith, Iowa, before coming to the Muscatine area. While he says he’s at retirement age, he still has a hunger to spread the Word.

“I’m a Bible believing Christian and I believe the Bible is sufficient for all things that man needs, it’s an instruction book and love letter to mankind,” says Pastor Brown. That will be the basis of the church in Moscow, it’s not tied to any one person or denomination, it all depends on what God wants to do with the church.

His wife Kim has a background with children, so she’ll lead the children’s ministry in the basement of the building, while Pastor Brown will begin with Bible studies for adults above.

So why Moscow?

“Why not?” he answers. “There’s a need to have new churches reborn. We live in an era when churches are closing, this is not the trend, this is the exception,” he says of the church plant. However, the building itself is not the focal point.

“The church is not a building,” he explains, “Moscow is an identity point for people to gather, we want to do this for the people.”

Pastor Brown intends to continue as the pastor of Fruitland Baptist Church. He’ll meet in Moscow from 8-8:45 a.m., then drive to Fuiltland to pastor there.

While he still plans to do some farming, his priority is on what God has called him to do. Right now, that’s helping establish, or reestablish, a church in Moscow.

“We don’t need anything from the community except for people who are interested in the Lord to come,” he says. “As they get involved it will become an organized church.”

He’s asking for prayer in the endeavor, stating that many people have had a bad experience with the church, people who need a fresh start. He’s also not asking for people’s money either, only if they feel the need to give. Their entire operation is faith based and holy grounded.

So how can people get involved?

“Well, I am around, and I am available, and I just want to talk with people, ” he says, “I also intend to maintain a certain time out at the church, though I don’t know what that will be yet. But if they want to get involved, they can attend,” he adds. “From there that’s up to them and that’s up to God.”