GALVESTON — A natty dresser, and still a young man by some standards, the Rev. Nathaniel Brown, 62, the founding pastor of Galveston’s Gospel Missionary Baptist Church, can be considered senior when viewed in other ways.
For instance, he observed his 30th year the ministry Friday, and he’s now the second-longest-serving member of the local Baptist minister’s alliance.
He followed his father, the late Rev. Willie B. Brown, former pastor of the Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, into ministry — but not without a fight.
“The calling came to me before Hurricane Alicia (1983); however, I didn’t accept the call until after the storm,” Brown said. “Sometimes God has to shake us up to get our attention. I had made God a promise, and I failed to deliver at first. My father was my mentor. He encouraged me to be faithful to that call and my ministry.”
As a leader of pastors here and regionally, what advice does he offer other busy clergy?
“I would tell any pastor, don’t let a bad yesterday ruin a good today,” he said. “God gives each person what he wants them to have. Know what God called you to do. Feed your flock. Care for them. Don’t try to change your identity to please people. Be satisfied with who God made you to be. It’s much easier to be yourself than to be something you’re not.”
He also offered a suggestion for those in the pews each Sunday.
“Follow your leadership,” he said. “Encourage your pastor and pray for him and please don’t forget to pray for his family.”
At 101 and still counting, Annie Mae Charles considers Brown a “young man” whom she admires.
“He’s a good preacher and nice to me,” she said. “The community likes him, too, because he will help anybody and he has the church going along all right.”
Charles is one of many Brown fans on the island. Another is Galveston’s own chief of police, Henry Porretto. He sees Brown as a community leader who supports strong values.
“Pastor Brown has been one of the pastors who has helped me bridge the gap between the police and the community,” he said. “We have open and honest dialogue. I think he cares about our county and he’s easy to work with. I find him to be a straight-up, man-to-man person, even though he’s a man of the cloth. It’s been very helpful to have him.”
Gospel MBC began in 1995. It is at 3818 Ave H.