Pastor on a big mission with Little Bethel

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 28, 2002

The Rev. David R. Allen is a man with a clear vision.

And while this is the first official day of his tenure as pastor of Little Bethel Baptist Church in the quaint village of Chuckatuck, he has already put several wheels in motion to accomplish his mission. Allen, 38, will be installed during a special service at 4 p.m. today in the Nansemond River High School auditorium.

Celebratory services in September have been featuring renowned speakers throughout the state.

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On Saturday, Little Bethel Baptist Church – established in 1861 – hosted a breakfast at the Suffolk Holiday Inn bridging together various segments of the community.

Among those present at the affair include: Del. S. Chris Jones, of Virginia’s 76th district; Suffolk Mayor E. Dana Dickens; Suffolk Schools Superintendent Dr. Milton Liverman; School Board Chairman Lorraine B. Skeeter; and Suffolk NAACP President Charles Christian.

A Newport News resident, Allen is looking forward to facilitating more community involvement through the church.

&uot;We plan on affecting the city of Suffolk in a positive way by building relations that develop the whole person,&uot; explained Allen. &uot;Those relationships are not just in the spiritual realm, but socially, professionally, personally, family, and marriage.&uot;

A native of Alexandria, La., Allen earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Grambling State University in 1987, and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Divinity from Virginia Union University, School of Theology in 2000. He is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry at Regent University. Allen is employed in Submarine Engineering Design, designing submarines for Northrop Grumman in Newport News.

Beginning in 1989, Rev. Allen joined First Baptist Church East End in Newport News where, he says, he matured spiritually under the leadership of his former pastor, the Rev. Woodrow Martin Brown Jr. He worked diligently with the Sunday School and Bible Study. In 1994, he was ordained a deacon and in 1996 he accepted the call form God to preach the Gospel.

For five years during the illness and absence of his pastor, Allen continued to preach for both the 8 and 11 a.m. services. Three months ago, he accepted the offer to lead the congregation of 150 at Little Bethel.

&uot;God sent me here,&uot; said. Allen. He added that his teaching and experience under the leadership of his former pastor played a major role in preparing him to spiritually guide another church.

&uot;Most ministers jump right into it without getting some experience from sitting under a seasoned pastor,&uot; said Allen. &uot;I thank God for the opportunity to sit under a great leader.&uot;

As for his new role at Little Bethel, one of Allen’s visions is &uot;to build Christian character,&uot; he said. He went on to explain that his core value system, in part, entails a church that is &uot;high on the word and a church that honors God’s word.&uot;

Allen added, &uot;Being Christ-like is a daily thing. It’s not just a frame of mind on Sunday, but it’s a lifestyle. I don’t want people to cut off after Sunday. I want to first define what a Christ-like character is and start working toward this character in our own lives.

&uot;We do this through ministry, mentoring and mission. I want the members to reflect what a Christian looks like and I want others to see Jesus in us from that outreach into the community.&uot;

Allen describes his leadership style as &uot;directional,&uot; adhering to the &uot;voice of God,&uot; he said.

&uot;I look to bring the best out of people. I like challenges. I believe in taking what God’s gives me and producing the best. I will flow with whatever way God is flowing and try not to stifle growth.&uot;

Allen is married to Carolyn and they have three children.

One of the pastor’s favorite Biblical passages comes from 1 Timothy 4:12 &uot;Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, and in purity.&uot;

That goes great lengths to sum of Allen’s mission for the Little Bethel Baptist Church.