VETERAN PASTOR TAKES HELM OF COVE'S CALVARY BAPTIST
By Dave Stave
Observer Staff Writer
For David Allen, the decision to go into the ministry came easy. It was almost a no-brainer. While growing up, Allen had watched his father as a pastor and liked what he saw.
In 1964, Allen graduated from high school in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, where his father, Stan Allen, was minister at Bethel Baptist Church.
Allen went on to enroll at Vancouver (British Columbia) Bible College to train for the ministry.
"I knew I should be in the ministry," said Allen, who with his wife, Becky, and their family recently moved from Coeur d'Alene to Cove, where Allen has became pastor of Calvary Baptist Church.
After completing his Bible training, Allen said he did not wish to become a pastor. He was involved in a ministry to singles and in youth work and sang in musical groups, he said.
One thing held him back from pursuing a church: He felt he should be married.
"I had to trust God to provide me with the right person to be in full-time ministry," he said.
Allen moved to Alaska in 1971, where he taught at Arctic Bible Institute in Palmer. He went to work for Caterpillar, was employed in civil service on a military base and eventually owned 10 apartment units.
It was not until 1982 that he met Becky, who had come to Alaska to work for the Bible institute.
Both had made a pledge to God before they met.
"Both of us had committed to stay single if that is what God had for us," Allen said.
He and Becky, whose father was also in the ministry, were married in 1983.
The marriage vows meant that Allen, then 36, could feel free to pursue a pastorate. And that didn't take long. The Allens' first church was at Valley Baptist Church in Springfield.
In 1989, Allen became pastor of a Baptist church in Wausaukee, Wisc., where the family stayed for nine years. That was followed by a brief stint at Gateway Baptist Church in Helena, Mont.
What followed then was a three-year period in which Allen was trying to determine what his next ministry should be. He was open to following God's direction.
"God taught me certain things during this three-year period," Allen said.
Â‘I learned I had to be willing to depend on God, and see how he wants to do things."
Allen explained that people often seek to run their lives on their own terms.
"We get our own agenda on things, and go out and ask God to bless us."
Allen said he has learned to yield the control of his life to God. He added that God wants to say, "Don't worry about it. I'll take care of things."
Meanwhile, Allen let his name be circulated among Conservative Baptist churches that were looking for a pastor. He interviewed with the Calvary Baptist board and accepted the invitation to become the church's pastor.
Allen said he has become the leader of a church in which 40 to 50 people attend regularly.
A Sunday school for children was virtually non-existent, but families with children are beginning to attend.
Allen said his focus at Calvary Baptist will not be on growing the church numerically. A small community like Cove likely will not produce a large church.
His goal, instead, is to "grow people's lives spiritually."
"The joy and thrill of knowing God is infectious," he said.
Allen said he will not be trying to start any home Bible studies within the congregation, but that could come later.
His emphasis will be on encouraging people to get together at the church for potlucks and other fellowship activities.
"Over a period of time we'll have a mix of both (home Bible studies and activities in the church), he said.
The Allens are settling into life in the Calvary Baptist parsonage. Their children, Heidi, 18, Matt, 16, Amy, 14, and Phil, 8, are home-schooled.
In the past, Becky has written scripts and some of the music for children's Christmas and Easter programs. Theirs is a musical family; Allen plays the guitar and his wife sings and plays the accordion and guitar.
Sunday school is at 9:30 a.m., followed by worship at 10:45 a.m. Allen leads a discussion at 6 p.m.
The pastor, who enjoys woodworking and restoring classic Chevrolets, said he wants to continue Calvary Baptist's ministry to migrant workers during the summer cherry harvest.
A festival, games and services for migrants became a church tradition under former pastor Don Camp.
"I'm looking forward to it. We both had two years of Spanish," Allen said of himself and Becky.
"We want to be faithful to carry on what the church has started."