History of this Church

The ministry of Berean Baptist Church began March 1, 1962, when a Bible study met in the multi-purpose room of Pella Christian Grade School un-der the leadership of Rev. Eugene Mohr. Twenty-four people attended that first meeting. The Bible study continued through October 15, 1962 when Rev. Harold Nieman accepted the call to take the Bible study and create a local independent Baptist church. Rev. Nieman was a church planter with Hiawatha Baptist Missions (now Continental Baptist Missions). Sunday services began November 4, 1962, at the same location with a monthly charge of $100. This group closed the founding charter April 9, 1963, and the church was officially organized.
 
The First Baptist Church of Monroe, Iowa, was the mother church and gave generously to help the new church get started. The name "Berean" was chosen based on Acts 17:10-11.

On April 18, 1963, the parsonage and vacant church (formerly known as the Protestant Reformed Church) at 314 Main Street were purchased for $9,500. The church and parsonage were built in 1870 by the Methodist Church. Several improvements were made to the property. A new foyer was added in 1965. An annex was added connecting the house and church in 1971, and a baptistry was installed in the church in 1978.

A new parsonage was purchased in 1970. The church purchased two pieces of property to the south of the church. The first house and property were purchased for a cost of $4,000 and was razed to supply parking space. The second piece of property was purchased in 1986 for a sum of $44,000. That house served as classrooms and them as a residence for Fred, Betty, Ted and Amanda Kuyper, missionaries with Baptist Builders, who helped with construction of our new building, 1993-1994.

In 1988, the church began the early stages of a building program, continuing the practice of having the fourth Sunday night of each month designated as Building fund offering which had begun in the mid-1970’s. The church was outgrowing the facilities and upgrades were needed. In April 1989,building program goals were set and presented to the congregation for a vote. It was decided to move ahead with plans to raise $300,000 over a seven year period toward the construction of a new sanctuary. God blessed this effort and ground was broken for a new building November 8, 1992. The actual construction began January 20, 1993.

The first meeting held in our new facility was the Ladies Regional Meeting , April 19, 1994. Our first Sunday in the building was April 24, 1994. We began the day in the old church and all moved into the new sanctuary for the morning service. It has been a blessing to have a more modern facility to carry on the Lord’s work in Pella.

Over the years, Berean Baptist Church has conducted many ministries. In 1964, the first Vacation Bible School was conducted with an attendance of 103.

In 1982, a JOY Club children's ministry began and continued through 1989. Patch the Pirate Club children’s ministry started in October of 1995 and continues today. Other services conducted on a regular basis through the years include: Fair Haven East, Hilltop #1 & #2, Pella Regional Hospital services, and New Fair Haven.

Missions has always been an important outreach of Berean Baptist Church. In 1963, the newly formed congregation took on the support of four missionary endeavors: Rev. George Smith, Ezell Wiggins, Iowa Regular Baptist Camp, and Baptist Children’s Home.
 

The Pastors who have served the church are:

Rev. Harold Nieman: 1962-1968

Rev. Melvin Mattox: 1969-1976

Rev. Buel Liming: 1977-1981

Rev. Michael Craighead: 1982-2007

Rev. Jeff Larson: 2010 - Present

God has richly blessed Berean Baptist Church. At each of our anniversary celebrations we have been privileged to have a mortgage burning. At the five year anniversary we burned the mortgage for the original building and parsonage. At the twenty-five year anniversary the parsonage mortgage was burned. And at the 40th anniversary we burned the mortgage on this building. To God be the glory!

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