66-Year-Old Pastor Forrest Ivy Dumps Retirement Because ‘The World Needs the Gospel’

Forrest Ivy is a traveling preacher, driving from West Paducah, Ky., to Wingo where he serves as pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church. He doesn’t allow age or health issues to stop the Gospel.
Photo by Roger Alford/Kentucky Today

With his walking cane firmly in hand, pastor Forrest Ivy strides intentionally into his church, a new knee still tender from replacement surgery.

A few aches and pains won’t keep this 66-year-old from preaching the Gospel.

At a stage in life when most people are settling into retirement, Ivy is launching out on a whole new career as a Kentucky Baptist pastor.

“This world needs the Gospel, and I’m not going to allow my age to stop me from sharing it,” Ivy said. “I’d hope no one would ever use age as an excuse for not serving Jesus. The need for pastors has never been greater than now, so, instead of quitting at Social Security age, we need to be doubling down.”

Ivy had spent his life as a long-haul trucker, crisscrossing the U.S. in an 18-wheeler, a job that allowed him ample time with his radio listening to sermons and Bible studies and sharing the Gospel one-on-one in truck stops from Virginia to California.

During all that time, Ivy said the Lord seemed to be directing his steps toward pastoral ministry. He weighed all his excuses for not doing so — a bad knee, a pacemaker, high blood pressure, diabetes, his age. Then he weighed all the reasons for doing so — multitudes of lost and hurting people who need the hope of Christ. His excuses looked altogether puny in light of the great need.

Last fall, Ivy was ordained by his home congregation, Holly Hill Baptist Church in Marshall County, and he was called as pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Wingo.

Glynn Copeland, director of missions in the Graves County Baptist Association, said Ivy brought great enthusiasm into his new role.

“It’s a time of life when a lot of folks are thinking about retirement, but Forrest may be like me and make a lifetime of ministry,” said Copeland, who is 80. “I think he’s going to do Fellowship a good job.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press; Kentucky Today, Roger Alford