Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, who was admitted to the country as a refugee in 2016, bought bomb material and blocked escape routes for the church.
Alowemer also shared marked satellite maps of the area around the building and a multipoint plan for the attack he had hand-written with an FBI informant and undercover agent, the complaint states.
Alowemer is one of a handful of refugees prosecuted in the US on allegations of ISIS, according to Seamus Hughes, a researcher with the George Washington University extremism program, who is tracking down terror cases.
Two Iraqi refugees were arrested on charges of IS in 201
According to the complaint, Alowemer was motivated to detonate a device in the church "to support the cause of IS and to inspire other IS sympathizers in the United States to unite and commit similar acts."
Alowemer also said he wanted the church, which he described as Christian and Nigerian, to aim to "avenge himself on our (ISIS) brothers in Nigeria," according to the complaint.
Earlier this month, Alowemer bought batteries, nails, and other household supplies
The FBI began tracking an Alowemer social media account in April 2018. According to the complaint, he was a prolific consumer of online propaganda for ISIS and communicated with another person who had pledged support for ISIS and is known to distribute bomb-making instructions online.
Alowemer also exchanged messages with a covert FBI agent whom he believed was an ISIS supporter, asking for a "silenced weapon" and sharing a video featuring the ISIS leader Had sworn loyalty.
Alowemer is due in federal court for his first appearance on Friday. He had not immediately listed a lawyer.