There’s a new pastor at Ivor Baptist ChurchPublished 9:44am Friday, November 15, 2013
IVOR—Donald “Don” Roberts Jr., the new pastor at Ivor Baptist Church, said he once had a mentor who said “when you feel the calling to go into the ministry, run in the opposite direction as fast as you can.
“Only when you are exhausted will you know if you are ready to be used by Him,” Roberts said.
“I had that feeling,” the young pastor admitted. “And the feeling did not go away, it just grew stronger. In fact, I was still arguing with God even in seminary.
“But I was finally convinced that this is what God wanted for me. I surrendered, and I have not been sorry.”
Roberts, 47, a native of Indiana, said he entered the U.S. Navy directly out of high school. Stationed in the Norfolk area, he attended Tidewater Community College, then Regent University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 2006.
He then attended the Regent School of Divinity, earning his master’s degree in 2010.
The long-time sailor, who just six years ago retired as a Senior Chief Petty Officer from the Navy after more than 22 years, said the first time he preached was at Farnham Baptist Church, in Farnham.
He considered his first trial sermon to be at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Suffolk, however, and from then on, he preached wherever he was needed.
“My first pastorate was Colerain Baptist Church in Colerain, N.C., in 2007,” he said. “I was there for 5 and a half years before getting the call to Ivor Baptist.
“I came to Ivor on April 1, or April Fool’s Day,” he revealed with a grin. He adds that there were no pranks, however, “the congregation accepted me readily.”
A bi-vocational pastor, Roberts and his family live near Suffolk. He and his wife, Brenda, have two children, Donald III, who is in the Army, and Becca, a student at Regent University.
Even though he does not live in Ivor, he feels so at home there, he added.
“This is a close-knit church,” he said. “The members are like one big happy family, always willing to help the community, as well as each other.”
Roberts is excited to be at the church and looking forward to expanding some of the programs.
“I would like for us to focus on outreach and the local community, to see the church grow.
“I want the world outside our church to see what we have here and to convey to them that they are welcome.
“I also want to build our youth ministry. In fact, I met with a group of ministers in the area this morning who agree that we need to get our youth more involved in the church.
“We’re trying to come up with an interdenominational program for the youth in the area.
“Many of our youth think that church is boring. Not so! With God, everything is good, exciting and wonderful. Christ is the answer!”