Meet our new Pastor of Outreach

Dr. Isaiah Nengean preaching at his home church in Nigeria

Last month Fourth received its newest pastor, Dr. Isaiah Nengean, the first to serve in the newly created position of Pastor of Outreach. Isaiah has a passion for missions and education and now leads Fourth’s Mission DMV and global missions ministries, working alongside Director of Missions Janie Randell. When you meet Isaiah, if you haven’t already, you’ll notice he’s full of the stuff that a Pastor of Outreach needs most: compassion. Yet even for him, compassion isn’t so much a natural gift as it is cultivated through years of building relationships.

“Compassion…is not something I acquired automatically but came as a result of my previous experience serving people who are needy,” Isaiah says. “Needy physically and needy spiritually. Without compassion you cannot see those needs or be willing to serve.”

Isaiah has spent the last six years as Senior Pastor of Monocacy Valley Church in Ijamsville, Maryland. In addition to preaching and teaching, he served as a volunteer hospice and hospital chaplain in Frederick and led in establishing a faith-based preschool and daycare. Isaiah previously served as Teaching Pastor and Director of Outreach Ministries at Meredith Drive Reformed Church in Des Moines, Iowa, where he founded a downtown Urban Ministry center focused on evangelism, outreach, and discipleship.

Seeing a Mission Field

But it was prior to that, while earning a doctorate from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where Isaiah learned he had a heart for the unreached. 

He volunteered at Philadelphia House, a Christian home for international students and scholars of all faiths, ministering to those who stayed there.

“Many were rich, but were spiritually needy,” Isaiah says. “I was born in a Christian family, grew up in a Christian family, went to a Christian school. It was just shocking to me that someone would say that they’ve never heard the name Jesus. That changed me. It was a humbling experience. That required me to build relationship with them and try to imagine myself in their shoes. And that cemented my desire to reach the lost.”

Isaiah, who hails from Nigeria, took care to get to know and minister to the diverse students he served, often finding just the right church fit for those coming from unfamiliar parts of the world. He also introduced them to the Amish and Mennonite communities nearby.

“When you work closely with people…it shifts our way of looking at the world,” he says. “You see the diversity that God created in the world. And all for God’s glory reflected in each person!”

Arriving at Fourth

When Isaiah met Fourth’s Senior Pastor Todd Smedley, it was “like we were brothers,” Isaiah says. “When I looked at the [Pastor of Outreach] position, there were just opportunities to serve and that drew me to Fourth. In Mission DMV, there are many areas where I can put my talents and gifts to use. Fourth has the intention to reach out to broken people; Missions and Mission DMV have devoted the resources to that endeavor. Another thing that drew me to Fourth is the sound biblical teaching and the opportunity to be part of this community where I can grow and where my family can grow and serve.”

Last month Isaiah participated in Mission DMV’s “Serve the Mission Day” at Central Union Mission in D.C., where Fourth sent a large contingent of volunteers.

“It was full,” Isaiah says, impressed with the volunteer turnout. “In some places you wouldn’t have people who want to give up their weekend.”

Isaiah met his wife, Salome, while he was a student at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. They have two young children, Micah and Rebekah, and are currently commuting to Fourth from Frederick, with plans to move nearby once the school year is over. 

“We have been warmly welcomed here which makes it an easier transition process,” Isaiah says. “Many people have told me they’re praying for me and my family and that has lessened the tension; we have felt the power of those prayers. We enjoyed our first Fourth Night in February; my kids enjoyed it so much they asked when can they do that again! In this short time, our children are reciting the catechism with accompanying sign language, participating in Memory Zone, meeting and making friends, and are immersed in God’s word. That brings us joy.

Growing the Ministry

Isaiah is excited to dive into our local mission field. “With Mission DMV and global missions there is room for growth and I look forward to growing these ministries,” he says. “I ask God for the grace to help me support Fourth and reach its vision to love God and love our neighbors. My goals are to proclaim the lordship of Christ as we serve; to touch the lives of people.”

“I want to be reminded: The goal is not to serve for the sake of serving but to glorify God. The Gospel, the Gospel, the Gospel. That Gospel is rooted in the DNA of Fourth and for 196 years it has been proclaiming the gospel of Christ. We can grow further and expand our mission… I look forward to where the Lord leads us.”