Personality: Dr. Cheryl Ivey Green

Spotlight on new president of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Richmond and Vicinity

9/24/2016, 1:53 p.m.
Dr. Cheryl Ivey Green wears many hats. She is the senior assistant to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. She is …

Dr. Cheryl Ivey Green wears many hats. She is the senior assistant to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. She is the executive minister of ministries at First Baptist Church of South Richmond. And she now is the new president of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference of Richmond and Vicinity. Elected to the post in May, Dr. Ivey Green was installed as president in an evening ceremony last Sunday at First Baptist.

She succeeds Dr. Marlon Haskell, pastor of Chicago Avenue Baptist Church, in the two-year post. Dr. Ivey Green believes that while the core mission of the church never changes, the church changes and grows over time to meet the needs of people.

She sees her new role as one helping Richmond area pastors tailor their ministerial development “to meet the unique needs of their communities.”

“The role of the church is to meet the spiritual, physical and often emotional needs of God’s people,” says Dr. Ivey Green.

“As times change, people change, needs change — and the church changes to meet the needs of the time.”

Known for hosting its citywide revival each year, the Baptist Ministers’ Conference maintains a membership of about 75 to 100 ministers who represent churches in Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland and other surrounding counties. The organization works to foster social, political, economic, educational and religious development in the community.

Dr. Ivey Green’s passion and interest in leadership training and development, as well as her educational and field credentials, including a doctor of ministry in preaching and leadership from United Theological Seminary, earned her a vote of confidence — and selection — from the organization’s members.

She plans to use her platform as president to provide tools to clergy who hope to enact transformation in their communities. She hopes area pastors can continue to highlight the power of assembly to fight social, economic and spiritual ills.

Dr. Ivey Green is very connected to her communities. She is a member and chaplain of the Richmond Metropolitan Area Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, serves on the board of the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority and recently completed several terms on the Board of Directors of the Southside Child Development Center.

The greatest challenge facing the Baptist Ministers’ Conference, she says, is “for the church to remain relevant in this age of technology.”

Apps like SermonAudio, YouVersion and Bible Hub have increased access to sermons, and many area churches live-stream their services so anyone can watch anywhere they are.

According to the annual Pew Research Center survey on worship trends in the United States, nearly 37 percent of Americans who do not attend church regularly or at all point to an issue directly related to religion or church itself — beliefs that attending worship services is important.

“Streaming, pod-casting and other alternative worship mediums appear to diminish the need to assemble for worship,” Dr. Ivey Green says.

But the power is in getting together, she continues.

“The gathering of God’s people has always been the strength of the church and community.” Meet a leader of church leaders and this week’s Personality, Dr. Cheryl Ivey Green:

Date and place of birth: April 30 in Newport News.

Current residence: Richmond.

Alma maters: B.S., mathematical sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University; master’s of divinity, School of Theology, Virginia Union University; doctor of ministry in preaching and leadership, United Theological Seminary.

Family: I am a widow, but am so blessed to have the full support of my immediate family, my mother and my siblings.

Why I accepted this responsibility: I believe it is part of the next dimension in my call to serve. I also accepted because of the vote of confidence and the support I have received from the clergy in the community.

When BMCRV was founded and why: I’m not certain of the exact founding date of the conference. It was organized to provide fellowship, ministerial development, promote the general welfare of its members and to aid in the propagation of Christian influence in general.

How churches have changed: The church has sometimes slipped into the mode of allowing God’s word to be more about feeling than conviction. If we are not careful, church will become more of an event than a God experience, becoming lukewarm — neither hot nor cold. Given the challenges we face as a people, we need the strength and power of God’s word to sustain us.

What should role of church be during this punishing economic period: Our responsibility is not only to provide assistance to persons seeking food, clothing and shelter, but also to empower, educate and connect those we serve to resources available to aid them during these tough economic times.

Role of women in church: To continue to point God’s people to Christ The church is in the business of saving souls. That’s our bottom line. Our role, like that of men, should be to point to the way of salvation for those who are lost. Women have always been a strong source of support for churches and ministries. I am challenged with the belief that the expected role of women in the church should be different than that of men.

How has it changed: I don’t believe our role has changed. The role of women has always been the same. We have throughout history served and supported the church, and provided strong financial resources to support ministry. What has changed is the acceptance of women in roles traditionally held by men. This is something I believe we will continue to see grow as the number of women attending seminary begins to outpace the number of men enrolled.

What I’m working on now: As quiet as it is kept, I’m currently working on two books: “The Arms of Aaron: The High Calling of Leadership Support.” The second is “God’s Truck: The True Joy of Giving.” It is about living a life of generosity. 

Why I became a minister: I wish I could say I chose to become a minister, but I actually answered God’s call to ministry in 1997 and preached my initial sermon on June 28, 1998.  

A minister’s greatest reward: Is winning souls for Christ and witnessing one’s role in the spiritual growth and development of disciples.

Challenge: I believe the greatest challenge is maintaining balance in life — honoring time with God, family, friends and especially self.

Role of church in eliminating social ills: The church has to give voice to the social ills we face in our communities. Faith without works is dead. We must be willing to be the Martin Luther Kings of our time, recognizing we may not witness the mountaintop, but we can surely be counted as those who were part of the journey.  

Advice to prospective ministers: You will not learn everything in the classroom. Wait your turn. I’m speaking of active waiting, which means to work while you wait. You will catch more than you are taught as you observe. So be slow to speak and quick to listen. I would advise them to remain faithful to whatever they are assigned. Do everything as unto the Lord. God does the promoting and responds to our faithfulness.

Politics and the church are: Are not mutually exclusive.

What makes a good leader: A good leader sets the vision and a course of action, builds and supports team, builds relationships, empowers others and is a lifelong learner.

What drives me: My passion for Christ, heart for the work of the ministry and things I truly believe in. This drive is present in whatever context I’m planted for ministry.

Three words that best describe me: Loyal, committed and generous.

How I start the day: Prayer, meditation and cross fit/walking.

I place top value on: Strong relationships with God, family and friends.

Hobby: Watching and capturing pictures of sunrises and watching classic movies.

Best late-night snack: Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Ice Cream.

Perfect evening: Relaxing with family and friends and playing Scrabble.

No one knows that I: Have a burning desire to someday become a major philanthropist, and that I have yet to overcome my fear of cats. 

When people first meet me they think: I am kind, compassionate and understanding.

No. 1 pet peeve: Gossiping.

The best thing my parents ever taught me was: Work hard and you will be rewarded; to vote; it is a privilege to serve; and to always look out for my sisters and brothers and bring someone up behind you.

Person who influenced me the most: My mom, Carnetta Ivey.

Book that influenced me the most: I am an avid reader so it is difficult for me to point to one book that has influenced me. “The Leadership Challenge” by Barry Posner and James M. Kouzes, “The 360 by Degree Leader” by John Maxwell and “Leading from the Second Chair” by Mike Bonem and Roger Patterson are staples in my library. I also have been influenced and enjoy reading books by Barbara Brown Taylor, Dr. Cleophus J. LaRue and Fred Craddock.

Book I’m reading now: “Think Better” by Tim Hurson.

Next goal: To visit Paris and to fully live my best life.