Clearfield church welcomes new pastor

Jan. 26—CLEARFIELD — Josh Johnson has brought his Midwest upbringing and his experiences across the country and other parts of the globe as the new pastor of Area Bible Fellowship Church.

How he learned of the opportunity at Clearfield is connected to a church member. A church member's daughter attended Calvary University and met a college person who also knew Johnson. The church was looking for a new pastor and Johnson eventually answered the call.

From Kearney, Missouri, Johnson grew up in the church as his father also did pastoral work.

"We were familiar with northern Missouri through high school sports, but we never crossed the border into Iowa," he said about his familiarity with southern Iowa. Johnson would cross other borders as the family was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Woodstock, Ontario, Canada.

Johnson, 44, graduated from William Jennings Bryan College, formally known as Bryan College, based in Dayton, Tennessee.

"Since then I have continued my studies," he said as he plans to acquire a divinity degree later this year. Although he has assisted at other places, Clearfield is his first head pastor position.

From 2016 to 2019, Johnson was at an international school in Jerusalem. His wife's sister moved to Israel for missionary work. That influenced Josh to move there.

"Lots of Christians visit Israel or Jerusalem. Once you go, it is so dynamic," he said. The area is deep and rich in spiritual history as Jerusalem has the beginnings of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths. But as he was there, Johnson said he respected and appreciated learning the history of the area, but didn't forget that is not the only place were faith works.

"We are living on God's earth. Creston, Lenox, and other places are just as sovereign. We can draw near to God in Creston or Clearfield as we can in Jerusalem," he said.

Johnson said he was intrigued by the learning and observing the cross cultural experiences in the area. His home was close to an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. "They are still people to respect. So you try and understand them."

His work at the school focused on students whose parents worked at the embassy buildings.

His wife, Kellie, has also done mission work in Afghanistan including health care and needs for women.

Johnson said the name of the church is a great fit as he is used to church names including the name of the town it is located.

"They were right," Johnson said about the founders of the church not using Clearfield in the church's name and wanting to be open to all. "This church has a wonderful sense of community."

"How can we all live well," he asked. Sunday services are at 10 a.m.