ST. MARYS (BRN) – As a child, Barry Moyer had very little time for church, with the exception of the occasional wedding or funeral, most of Moyer’s time was spent working on his family’s farm.
“It wasn’t until the spring of 1978, I met Karen, my wife, and we cared a lot about each other really very quickly. She came when I was planting soybeans because I was working for Ryder Truck at the time, plus also working on the farm, [and] she brought me lunch.
[When] we got finished with our lunch, she looked at me and said, ‘You know, I really care a lot about you and I would like to continue this relationship, but I don’t know if I can continue this relationship,’” shared, now, Elk Baptist Church Pastor Barry Moyer.
Moyer’s wife – girlfriend at the time – went on to reveal to him that she was unsure of their relationship because of where he stood with Christ. During this time of his life, Moyer did not have a relationship with Jesus nor the security of eternal life.
“I kind of shook inside and really kind of thought about what she said. So, I started going to church and asking questions and listening and, eventually, because of the Holy Spirit continually working, he led me to realize I was lost and needed Christ,” said Moyer.
After Moyer accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he and Karen tied the knot. They were married for almost 10-years when Karen realized that she was not saved and expressed a lack of security in her faith.
“She had the head knowledge, but she had never surrendered her heart to the Lord. At that time, I wasn’t a pastor, but the church we were attending [she] talked to the pastor and when she came in the door I could see that she had trusted Christ,” shared Moyer.
He continued: “Why I want to share that is because many people have the head knowledge, they go to church, they have all the background but really don’t know and understand what it means to know Christ.
So, it was really exciting to me to see that happen in her life…and to see her baptized and just the growth that God has really given her in her life.”
Little did Moyer know, at the time, that his wife would be the first of many people whom he would walk alongside and lead to a deeper relationship with Jesus.
“I was a very shy person, didn’t speak in front of people – never – [and] it was about a 10-year process of God just continually growing me, but also preparing me, which I didn’t really see or know.
But I found myself in services, you know, as the pastor was preaching that God was leading me to share more than what he [the pastor] was sharing,” said Moyer.
Initially, Moyer dismissed this nudge to share more and thought his role as a Christ follower was no more than to be a “good Christian,” raise his family and be a “witness and a light to people around” him.
But God kept stirring a deeper desire within Moyer, something he eventually shared with his wife.
“We were down in New Jersey camping with our two children [and] we kind of just sat and talked…it was just kind of dreaming and thinking, you know, that we would sell everything we had and just go and help churches.
[We’d] either be someone that could help them grow or just do whatever we could construction wise, because God was using me to learn some construction and things.”
A year later, the Moyers contacted the, then, Pennsylvania/South Jersey Baptist Convention (the BRN) to share their thoughts and offer their willing hands.
Immediately they were put to work at a church in Meadville, Pennsylvania that needed help completing their building.
“We spent about a week there – we took our dog and our two kids – and we enjoyed it so much that we wanted to try to do that the following year,” said Moyer.
The next year, Moyer and his family were sent to a church closer to home in Emporium, Pennsylvania. There they continued to serve through manual labor by patching up the parsonage and helping pour concrete for a new church site.
While serving in Emporium, Moyer and his family felt a tug on their hearts for the community.
“We just felt God calling us to this area, but we really didn’t do anything with that until we came back for the dedication of the Down County Baptist Church.”
Moyer continued: “We shared that with the pastor and kind of indicating to him that if he could mentor me, but I also would come alongside and try to help do construction work. So, we prayed about that [on] fourth of July [and] came back up to the area and looked for a house.”
After an extensive search, the Moyers finally found a new place to call home.
“The last home we looked at was kind of a home that I always dreamt I’d like to own. It was along a stream, had a fireplace [and] a little breakfast nook. You could see out to the bank and a deck area they had over the stream – just a beautiful home and we put a bid in and they accepted the bid.”
Within a week, the Moyers had purchased their new home and sold their old one. On top of that, God provided a new teaching job for Moyer’s wife and affirmed his call to ministry by providing a preaching opportunity.
“I talked with the pastor and He says, ‘I believe God’s calling you into the ministry.’ So, he offered that I’d be able to preach on a Sunday for Baptist Men’s Day. And when I preached on that Baptist Men’s Day, I knew that God was calling me into the ministry and that he was calling me to preach,” shared Moyer.
God continued to confirm Moyer’s calling through seminary courses and various preaching opportunities, despite his quiet disposition.
“My voice is not a very booming voice and [it doesn’t] carry very well, but, you know, God has overcome all that and has provided all that for us. God is good and he prepares us, and he prepares the way for us when we are yielding to him and just wanting his guidance and his leadership in that,” said Moyer.
Moyer’s faithfulness to God’s call eventually led him and his family to Elk Baptist Church in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, where he has ministered for the past 32 years.
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The “50 Stories of Transformation” series, told in honor of the Baptist Resource Network’s 50th anniversary, highlights the many ways God has moved throughout Pennsylvania, South Jersey and beyond. Your generous support of the Cooperative Program makes this ministry possible and fuels evangelism and outreach in our local churches and all over the world! Thank you!