Pastor Renaldo Brown is man of vision and this makes him a man in motion.
Thinking on the love of God does this to him, and it’s these moments of thinking that move his heart for the people of Africa, a continent that has been his focus for much of the past 15 years. A heart that’s moved in the missionary call beats in a body that rarely stays still for very long. The white harvest fields draw men like this. Pastor Brown is now on a new African adventure in the country of Zimbabwe.
“God never ceases to amaze me,” Pastor Brown said in a recent message at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore.
Zimbabwe is Pastor Brown’s fourth African station. He first reached the continent in 1998 joining the Uganda team then led by Pastor Duane George. Later, after his graduation from Maryland Bible College and Seminary, he spent three years in South Africa. Since 2004, he has served in Zambia, on the southeast side of Africa. He has guided the development of the work in that nation with the help of Pastor Adam Speedy, a South African native, and Pastor Chris Arman, now in Malawi. This has resulted in the establishment of eight Greater Grace affiliate churches there.
“Engaging God is the most important thing in life,” Pastor Brown said.Spiritual fervency is necessary to live in the call of God. When you go after God, you always face people… Click To Tweet
Pastor Brown grew up in Baltimore and his family first became part of the Greater Grace ministry when he was 16 years old. He was active in youth activities and sports events for a while. His sister, Latasha, left the city and moved to Springfield, Mass., where she attended the Christian school there headed then by GGWO Missions Director Pastor Steven Scibelli.
Pastor Renaldo? “I just disappeared for about a decade,” he explained. “Went from job to job. You know, just living my life.”
After holding a series of jobs here and there around the Washington area, Pastor Brown made his way back to Baltimore and to Bible College. He committed himself to learning the Word of God and developing a vision for his life. He made his way through Bible College by working the overnight shift at Kinko’s copy center. During his freshman year, he came in contact with Pastor Scibelli and so began his connection with Africa.
“You get into one of those international faith fields and God does something unique,” Pastor Brown said. “The winter in your heart becomes spring and there are up-shoots and growth.”
Up-shoots and growth are two words that describe what has happened in Zambia over the past nine years. This nation was no stranger to the ministry of the Gospel and it has proven to be a fertile place for the message of grace and the finished work. Missionary and explorer David Livingstone of Scotland traveled down the Zambezi River to Zambia in becoming the first European to cross the central portion of Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. He discovered Victoria Falls, known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, or the “smoke that thunders,” to tribes in the region near the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. There is town named for Livingstone and his heart is buried in a monument located near the Falls.
From a base in the capital of Lusaka, the work in Zambia has steadily grown and national pastors are leading the Greater Grace churches in the nation.
Pastor Brown is now establishing a work in Zimbabwe. God has prepared the way for this missionary through a set of circumstances that have left the people seeking for answers and purpose.
Zimbabwe, once known as Africa’s bread basket for its fertile fields, has endured a decade of hyperinflation, political upheaval, and government land confiscations. Its longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe, and his political organization continue to hold power as he nears the age of 90.
“It’s the right place because of one word — God,” Pastor Brown explained.If I pursue God, He will take me where I am supposed to go, whether it is to Sunday school or to Katmandu.… Click To Tweet
One secret to success for any missionary is obvious to Pastor Brown.
“Our home connections make all the difference,” he said. “Convention — can’t live without it; can’t do what I do without it. You come back a little wobbly, a little dilapidated and you enter a warehouse of love and the gracious spirit of the Body of Christ refreshes and stirs you.”
Pastor Brown has a warning for those who casually wander through their days at the annual convention in Baltimore
“You could be ambushed,” he said. “You never know when the Spirit of God is going to get you. You like the booths. You came for the chicken and wind up with a vision for Turkey.”