Pastor Ivan T. Harris
Ivan T. Harris is the pastor, teacher, and anointed leader of First Baptist Church Denbigh, "the church with a heart in the heart of Denbigh." Located in Newport News, Virginia, the church's membership now exceeds 1600 members under his leadership. Pastor Harris has been faithfully ministering to the congregation of First Baptist Church Denbigh for 29+ years, which is a momentous accomplishment. He has earned the distinction of being the longest serving pastor in the 155-year history of the church. He has served in and continues to serves in many conferences, conventions, committees, and Boards, including the Ministers' Coalition (Director of Music) and the Hampton University Minister's Conference. For many years, he has been featured on the talent program, playing his harmonica, at the Hampton Ministers' Conference. In 1995, he released his first harmonica album, entitled "Jesus Saves," and he released “He Delivered Me” in 2011. He is the Past President of the Peninsula Pastors Council. Previously, he was a board member for Mary Immaculate Bon Secours Hospital, Newport News, and is currently a board member for the Community Free Health Clinic, Newport News.
He has preached, ministered, and played throughout the United States and abroad. Pastor Harris has received numerous awards for his community services. In 2002, Dr. William R. Harvey, President of Hampton University, awarded him the Hampton University Presidential Citizenship Award in recognition of his extraordinary drive to improve the life chances of men and women in the community. In 2003, Mayor Joe Frank issued a proclamation declaring, April 4, 2003, Ivan T. Harris' Day.
Pastor Harris is a graduate of Hampton University (BS) and United Christian College in Goldsboro, North Carolina (BTH, DD). He has done further studies at Trinity Seminary Newburgh, Indiana (Master Program) and recently received a certificate of Leadership from Regent University.
Pastor Harris is a visionary with a vision toward enhancing kingdom building through community involvement and excellency in ministry. His ministry has taken him to three tours of the Holy Land (Israel) and most recently to Benin, Africa, where he has adopted a village. Through his efforts to enhance the quality of life for the villagers and his reaching out to other ministers, a well, a school, a medical clinic and a 300-seat church facility have been completed and dedicated in the village. These facilities are the first of their kind for the villagers. While his efforts abroad have been extraordinary, he has not neglected the Denbigh community. The First Baptist Church Denbigh Outreach Center, dedicated in September 2006, houses three apartments for women pursuing a degree, as well as a Bread Ministry that distributes food items on Wednesday and Thursday and a clothes closet.
Pastor Harris is the director of the Boys to Men Mentorship Program, which has been in operation for more than 10 years. It is designed to guide young men through the difficult maze of manhood by providing positive role models, encouraging education, abstinence, self-esteem, multicultural experiences, and counseling services. He also attends the Newport News School Board round table discussions.
This humble servant of God performs his community work according to I Corinthians 14:40, which says, "Let all things be done decently and in order." He is married to the former Sylvia Singleton and they have four children and three grandchildren.