Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2018

Reaching a community

New Assembly of God pastor finds calling in MP
Aug 03, 2018
Photo by: Grace King Don Brown became the pastor of Assembly of God Church in Mt. Pleasant in October 2017 after a 30-year search for his calling.

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News

 

For 30 years, the pastor at Assembly of God Church in Mt. Pleasant has been chasing a call to ministry.

It’s been a long road for Pastor Don Brown, who was voted the pastor of Assembly of God in October 2017. Since he became a Christian when he was a 13-year-old kid in Albany, Ill., Brown has walked away from his faith, come back, questioned God and has faced “spiritual warfare,” he said.

Now, he knows he is exactly where God wants him to be. Packing up his family and moving them from Bettendorf to Mt. Pleasant less than a year ago, the town already feels like home to him and his wife Kathy, who both grew up in small farming communities in Illinois.

Brown describes his church in particular as a very loving group of people. “They are so hospitable, so overwhelming, so loving, it was what has made it easy to serve here and why we felt so drawn,” Brown said.

The church was founded about 30 years ago. A small congregation of 25 to 30 regular attendees, they have a head start on a lifelong bond with each other; they’ve done life together, Brown said.

That’s why his role isn’t to step in and shake it up. Instead, Brown is more of a coach to the congregation, encouraging them in what God has already called them to do and lending help where it is needed.

“He’s very people-oriented,” said Sheri Bresnahan, a longtime Assembly of God attendee. “He likes to be a friend, and he goes right alongside our small congregation. He’s got hopes like we do that our community will be reached, and we can be seed planters and that our church will grow and become a part of a bigger family.”

A passionate and self-motivated congregation is exactly what the new pastor needs. Brown is also a car salesperson at Shottenkirk, a vocation he has been in since 1990.

Before joining the Assembly of God denomination, Brown was a part of the Foursquare denomination and moved to California in 1986 to attend Life Bible College.

“I got hit with confusion. I was very innocent about spiritual warfare. It pushed me off that path,” Brown said. He stopped attending college and decided there was no reason to stay in California. He and his wife packed up their bags and moved back to the Midwest.

“We came back and were really discouraged, despondent,” Brown said. “We had to walk through all that, but we kept serving and doing what we could in church ministry.”

Around that time, Brown was looking through the newspaper for job openings when the desire to sell cars came into his heart.

His long career as a car salesperson is what taught him the tremendous people skills it takes to be a pastor. Although he may not have known it all those years ago, the Lord was teaching him the skills to manage expectations, communicate well and efficiently and handle conflict.

Brown’s daughter, Treanna, now 19-years-old, is what drew the family to the Assembly of God denomination.

Although regular attendees of a Foursquare church in Moline, which is right across the river of where the Brown’s lived in Bettendorf, Treanna wanted to connect with more of the students she went to school with who attended the Assembly of God Church in Bettendorf.

“She was feeling kind of isolated and alone,” Brown said. “We just wanted her to have more of a connection with the kids she went to school with.”

That was four years ago. When the Browns switched churches, the Holy Spirit also renewed Brown’s call to ministry. And this time, there was a clear path: the Assembly of God’s Global School of Ministry.

Brown has finished the first step of online classes through the School of Ministry, which is to become a certified minister, like a drivers permit, Brown said.

Brown is currently working toward the second step — getting his license to preach — having completed the classes and awaiting the interview process. In two years’ time, Brown will be able to complete his ordination level.

For now, Brown welcomes the slower pace of living in Mt. Pleasant. Here, he feels like he can finally take a breath and rest a little bit despite his grueling schedule of pastoral ministries and selling cars four nights a week.

Over at Assembly of God, Brown, along with his dedicated congregants, are following a simple vision: Go and make disciples of all people, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded. And love each other as I have loved you.

“It’s putting shoe leather to that,” Brown said. “Love requires action, just like faith does … That’s what Jesus did. He looked for the forgotten people, the leftbehind people, and went out of his way to find those.”

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