By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – East Heights Baptist Church has been without a pastor for the past 18 months, but church members have found their new leader in Dr. Tim Brown.
Brown comes from his most recent assignment at Countryside Baptist Church in Clearwater, Fla., where he pastored the past six years.
He said he felt Tupelo was a perfect fit for his wife and three children. His two sons are pursuing degrees from St. Petersburg College in Florida, while his daughter is completing her senior year at Mooreville High School.
“My first time in Tupelo felt like home,” Brown said, “I felt like God gave me absolute peace.”
Before moving to Clearwater, Brown held the pulpit of First Baptist Church in small-town Maud, Texas. In his 10-year period there, Brown focused on outreach and organized a door-to-door evangelist effort.
“The community came to look forward to us coming to their home,” he said. “We talked about the issue of faith in a very non-combative way.”
His methods were massively successful. Brown reports witnessing hundreds of people coming to Christ under baptism, a huge percentage in a town of only 1,000 residents.
Brown carried this trend to Florida, where his church experienced steady, consistent growth. For members of East Heights Baptist church, Brown’s is a long-awaited coming.
“Everyone is looking forward to his leadership and the stability it will bring,” said Gary Townsend, Pastor of Worship at East Heights.
“He has a history of bringing churches out of stagnation and making them excited again,” Townsend said.
For the time being, Brown plans to spend some time getting to know the church, its people, and its staff.
“I’m going to see how things are before I try to decide what needs to be done,” Brown said.
Since Senior Pastor Jason Moreland left East Heights to go into the foreign mission field, the church held out, patiently waiting for that magic fit. In the meantime, Townsend, interim pastor Tim Williams and other members of the East Heights staff have held down the fort, making hospital visits and leading Bible studies.
The church assembled a “search team” to wade through over 500 applications and resumes, eventually settling on Brown. Townsend said everyone felt comfortable with him right off the bat.
“He’s very genuine,” Townsend said, “He’s a family man with a heart for God and a passion for getting the gospel out there.”