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Greater Antioch Pastor Successful During His First Year as Church Pastor

by Clarence Thomas, Jr.

Pastor Tyrese Ivey is living proof that age is truly but a number. That's because Ivey is not your typical man of the cloth, but instead, young man of the cloth.

Ivey is only twenty, but he has ten years under his ministerial belt. It all began at the tender age of eight with the "mock" church built for him by his Grandfather Eugene Pickett - who raised Ivey along with his wife Izetta Pickett. Within two years, Ivey was in the pulpit no longer pretending to preach, but delivering real messages to real people. "Church was different for me. Most kids dreaded going to church," Ivey pointed out during a recent conversation. "I loved going to church."

That love for church has served the Eastman, GA native well during the last decade of his life including his role as the leader of Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Macon. Ivey says that he has been blessed to travel and experience a host of people from all walks of life because of his chosen path. He attributes a combination of being humble and being teachable to his success, since these attributes are what afforded him to learn from some of Middle Georgia’s and Metro Atlanta’s most prolific and respected pastors.

His list of whose who that positively influenced him includes his current minister Reverend Willie M. Basby of Ward Chapel Baptist Church back home in Eastman; Macon Pastors Anthony Corbett of Lundy Chapel Baptist Church and Arthur Gordon of Greater Luke Baptist Church; Reverend David Clarke of Warner Robins' Union Grove and Dr. R.L. White of Atlanta's Mount Ephraim Baptist Church. His advice for aspiring young ministers looking to make their mark is simple. "Be willing to not have the big head and be willing to listen," Ivey said. "Realizing that I didn't know everything helped me to benefit."

The guidance that Ivey received from his mentors and his commitment to leading his own flock landed the Dodge County High School graduate in the lap of the Greater Antioch congregation last November following two previous visits as a guest pastor. As Greater Antioch prepares to celebrate Ivey's first year on the job he reflected on the successes that the church has had since his arrival. For instance, youth attendance is up 20 percent. More activities designed to attract and retain young people are close to being implemented. Ivey believes attractions like movie night, bowling, skating and recreation will incentivize the church's youth to participate at greater levels. He feels that this kind of environment will nurture the desire of young members who possess the potential to minister at an early age as well. "If you have a calling trust in God. He won't put you out there to fail," Ivey said. "Don't worry about your age when it comes to doing things you're passionate about."

While Ivey is grateful for the physical growth of Greater Antioch's congregation, he is more pleased with the strides the church has made in its attempt to be more unified and loving since his arrival. And as the church draws closer to its 144th birthday this coming March, he says his goal is to build on the legacy of Greater Antioch as a place where members and guests can always count on good preaching and singing, as he also oversees the spiritual development of the parishioners. "Our focus is not on numbers or a big church but putting God first," insists Ivey. "Whatever the will of God is I want to do it. I want to do what is right in the eyes of the public and what is right outside of the public’s eye at all times."

Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church will celebrate the one year anniversary of Ivey as the church's seventh pastor on November 25 at 2:30 p.m. at the church. Greater Antioch is located at 480 Greter Street in Macon. More information about the celebration can be obtained by calling 781-7682.

Rev. Tyrese Q. Ivey
Rev. Tyrese Q. Ivey