Livingstone graduate is student, minister extraordinaire
By Da’Tarvia Parrish
Livingstone News Service
SALISBURY — The Rev. Lloyd Nivens IV began his studies at Livingstone College in 2013. For Nivens, the past four years have been a time of rapid maturation. Now he is the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church’s youngest pastor.
Nivens decided to attend Livingstone after a visit to his barber, who has informally served as his mentor since Nivens was a child.
At Livingstone, Nivens was active in the local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter, the gospel choir, Campus Ministries and the AME Zion Student Council. One of his most memorable activities was a campus ministry program, Pray Until Something Happens (PUSH), where he led the way to demonstrate the power of prayer to Livingstone College students.
Nivens was grateful when President Jimmy Jenkins allowed him to serve as an assembly speaker at a Wednesday lyceum series.
“I heard and even saw the opportunities Dr. Jenkins gave students, but when it happened to me, it seemed surreal. Being able to share my gift with my peers and the Livingstone College family as a whole was a combination of mixed emotions. I am thankful Dr. Jenkins had confidence in me,” he said.
In addition to Nivens’ campus activities, he serves the AME Zion Church — in particularly, the youth. Since the age of 13, Nivens has been a local youth director at Wayman Chapel, chaplain for Rockingham District Youth Council, conference reporter, conference vice president and president of Varick International Christian Youth Council of the West Central North Carolina Conference.
As the current regional vice president for the Sensational Southeastern Region of ViCYC, he lends his skills to youth workshops, musical celebrations and worship services. During the 2015 West Central North Carolina Annual Conference, Senior Bishop George E. Battle Jr., chairman of Livingstone’s board of trustees, bestowed the title of Zion’s Youngest Pastor on Nivens.
When asked about this achievement, Nivens said, “I was uncertain of the pastoral journey and truly concerned about the uncertainties of becoming a pastor and a full-time student, but my mind and heart remembered the prophet Isaiah and his words, ‘Here I am. Send me!’”
Nivens is a traditional full-time undergraduate student, a full-time pastor and a connectional Christian education officer. When asked how he balances it all, Nivens credits his journey to a foundation of love.
“I am surrounded by loving people. They love God and want to see God’s ministry grow. They love Livingstone and want to see Livingstone grow. They love their church and want to see the church grow, and they love me and want to see me grow. I keep God first and find the balance,” he said.
Nivens said he thanks his family and friends for always supporting him in his endeavors and, most of all, he is appreciative of the love and provision of his congregation, Bennettsville AME Zion Church in Norward. In August, Nivens will continue his academic studies at Hood Theological Seminary.