Pastor honored on the 7th day for his 7th year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007

IVOR— If it’s true the number seven is lucky, then the Rev. Steve Gupton is way ahead of the game.

The 37-year-old Gupton, who just completed seven years as pastor of Ivor Baptist Church, was given a Pastor Appreciation Day reception Saturday, 7/7/07, in the church fellowship hall.

It is estimated 75 people, IBC members, family and friends attended.

“It has been a privilege to have served Ivor Baptist Church for the past seven years,” Gupton said.

“I have been blessed with a wonderful community to pursue my calling to the pastoral ministry.

“My years here have been some of the best of my life,” he added.

“The people are loving, kind and generous.

What more could a Christian minister ask?”

Gupton received as a gift on his seventh anniversary, a picture of himself standing on a ladder in the middle of the street as he assembled his congregation for a group picture in front of the church on the church’s 110th anniversary.

“I have no idea who took this picture,” he said with a smile, “but it is one of my most prized possessions.”

Signed by most of the guests, Gupton said it would hang on his den wall in the midst of his diplomas.

Ordained as a minister at Elm Street Baptist Church in Petersburg in 1991, Gupton came to Ivor after spending seven years as pastor of Purdie Baptist Church in Greenville County.

He arrived to take over the Ivor pastorate when the Ivor church had just passed its seventh year without a regular pastor.

With his wife Stephanie and three children, he moved into the parsonage on July 6, 2000,

after serving seven years to the day as pastor of Purdie Baptist, he said.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Bluefield College, which he received in 1992 and a master’s from the Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond in 2001.

He received the John and Charlotte Canning Award for Pastoral Ministry this same year.

Gupton has completed the requirements for his Doctorate of Ministry, but will not receive his degree until next year, 17 years since he was ordained as a minister.

He smiles when the number seven is mentioned, noting that it is all coincidence.

“The degrees I’ve been able to earn were not gained because I’m lucky—no indeed, I had to work for them.”

The young pastor said the awards and diplomas do not bring the joy and satisfaction brought by his work and ministry, however.

“At the center of my endeavors and achievements is a loving and caring congregation made up of incredible people.

“They care for and support me as I serve God by serving them.”