Guyer sees God redirect him and bless him and his church in building project
By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector
SAVANNAH — Just three years ago Allen Guyer was serving as minister of music of Riverview Baptist Church here, a growing church plant he helped start in 2009.
Everything was going well in his life. Riverview had bought a storefront building and was beginning to fill it. One Sunday Guyer substituted for the pastor, preaching the morning sermon in addition to leading worship. That was something he had done “many, many times” over his 25 years of ministry, he said.
But he felt differently as he preached that Sunday and even when he returned home. In fact, he said something to Kristy, his wife, about it, adding that “Surely God’s not calling me to preach.” But he didn’t say anything about it to anyone else.
Several weeks later, he met Jerry Spencer, long-time evangelist and former pastor in West Tennessee who is his mentor. Spencer and Guyer were in Cookeville to lead a revival together.
“Out of the clear blue” over supper Spencer asked Guyer if he was thinking about a call to preach, recalled Guyer.
The very next day Guyer and Spencer were visiting with Mark Gaw, pastor of Washington Avenue Baptist Church, Cookeville, where they were leading the revival. Over a meal Gaw shared that he had served the church as minister of music for several years and then been called to preach. The church called Gaw as pastor.
“I just couldn’t believe it and I still hadn’t said anything to anybody,” said Guyer. “I just was overwhelmed. …
“But my heart sank,” said Guyer, as he realized that these prompts were from God. “I didn’t know if I could do that,” he thought, referring to the call to preach.
He began to pray about his calling.
Then the pastor/co-planter of Riverview Baptist, Mark LaRue, resigned to serve overseas as a missionary. Guyer still kept his possible change in calling to himself and asked Kristy not to tell anyone.
Then the leaders of Riverview Baptist asked him to serve as interim pastor, after which he told them that God has called him to preach. Guyer was named pastor in 2014.
God not only has continued to bless Guyer but also the congregation, said the pastor. In 2015 at this time, the church drew about 120 people to Sunday morning activities. This year, it draws about 150.
The storefront, which consists of about 5,200 square feet, is overflowing. In fact, Sunday School classes meet in a doctor’s office and a flower shop located nearby. Some Wednesday night activities are held in two houses located on land bought by Riverview Baptist. Recently the church paid the land off.
Then, on top of all of these blessings, Guyer recently received a phone call from Ron Davidson, director of missions, Shiloh Baptist Association, based in nearby Adamsville. Baptist Builders of Texas wanted to hold their annual church construction project in Tennessee. A possible project had fallen through.
Guyer quickly filled out the application as the deadline loomed in a few days. In a few weeks he was face-to-face with some Baptist Builders of Texas being interviewed. A few weeks later he was called with the amazing news that the Baptist Builders of Texas — about 250 from as far away as Wyoming and Guatemala — were coming June 19-25.
The Texas group only builds one church facility each year.
Projections are that the project will save Riverview about half of its projected building costs or about $300,000 based on their situation, said Guyer.
Quickly Guyer reserved all of the available hotel rooms in the Savannah area and some RV spaces. He also made arrangements to use a public school cafeteria. Then he called the mayor of Savannah, who was thrilled to hear the news. The project will be “an economic boost” to the community, added Guyer.
“We’re just overwhelmed,” said the pastor. “We’re just blessed by the Lord. It’s a God thing; there’s no doubt about it. …
“We have been praying for over a year about building,” he explained. Then the Baptist Builders project “just fell into our lap.”
“More than ever I’m keenly aware that I’m dependent upon the Lord,” stated Guyer.