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Ethan Stivers and family say goodbye to Warren

The Stivers family, of Warren, will be moving to Lexington, KY, at the end of the year. Featured are (from left) Misty and Ethan Stivers, as well as their children (from left) Emara, Rhenn, Lincoln and Addison Stivers.
The Stivers family, of Warren, will be moving to Lexington, KY, at the end of the year. Featured are (from left) Misty and Ethan Stivers, as well as their children (from left) Emara, Rhenn, Lincoln and Addison Stivers. Photo provided.

Warren Town Council President Ethan Stivers is resigning from his position effective Friday, Dec. 31.

Stivers is returning to his hometown of Lexington, KY, with his family to pursue a discipleship pastor position at CenterPointe Christian Church on Greendale Road in Kentucky. He learned about this opportunity from CenterPointe Senior Pastor Brian Bolton who used to minister at Stivers’ “home church” in Lexington, but left to establish CenterPointe in 2004.

Stivers says it was a “hard decision” for his family to leave Warren, but he’s excited for this “unique opportunity.”

Originally, Stivers and his wife, Misty, came to Warren from Cincinnati, OH, where Ethan went to seminary. He was preaching at a small church when they found out they were pregnant with twins.

“We needed a full time ministry position and I reached out to my home preacher, Wally Rendel, and he connected me with Gerald (Moreland),” Stivers says.

Moreland was the previous pastor of Warren Church of Christ and at the time, they were looking for a new pastor. Stivers began his ministry at Warren Church of Christ on Jan. 1, 2010, and has been with the church until now.

“This church has the best blend of ages—honestly probably—in 20 miles around us. We have all age groups represented so well,” Stivers says. “The older generations are willing to kind of sacrifice a little bit so they can have their children and grandchildren worship with them. So that is what drew me initially.”

Once he was in Warren, Stivers says that his view of small towns was challenged.

“When I got here, it was unbelievable to see that—coming from the bigger town of Lexington and Cincinnati where I went to school—you have an image in your head that all small towns are dying and that’s not too far from the truth, but Warren has just blown my mind,” Stivers says.

Stivers went on to explain that Warren has business owners who are “just good, Christian people that want to see God’s kingdom do well and not just the church they attend.”

Stivers felt this especially in 2011 when his son, Lincoln, had to have major surgery.

“So many people in the Warren and Wells County area walked alongside my family with prayers, letters, generous donations and in so many other ways. Misty and I truly knew we made the right choice to join the Warren community,” Stivers says. “I came to Warren 12 years ago expecting to minister to the people… I didn’t realize they would also minister to me.”

Since living in Warren, Stivers and his wife have had four children, Lincoln, Addison, Emara and Rhenn. Stivers has also been able to reach out past his pastoral position and be a part of many local entities, including Warren Town Council.

“A minister 10 and a half years ago applies for a vacancy for the council position. I think eight people applied for it and they knew me well enough and respected my thoughts and my position,” Stivers says. “Some places a minister would be kind of a detriment to your name, but that’s not so much around southern Huntington County.”

Stivers has been a part of the town council ever since, including holding the president position. When looking back on his time, he says, “Being a citizen and able to see the decisions that I made affecting other citizens was kind of neat. If I could save the town a few thousand dollars by a couple more thoughts and a little more determination, that was literally benefiting me. That’s a cool part of a small town governing body.”

Thinking on specific projects, Stivers says that the million-dollar project for 11th Street stuck out to him.

“We built a brand new road and I kind of had some influence on saying ‘We need to put a sidewalk on this road.’ It definitely helped me because I have a family of six and we ride bikes through town,” Stivers said. “I’ve seen so many people use that sidewalk that connects Dollar General to the rest of the town.

Just little things that I can look back on and say I had an influence on.”
Stivers also says that being a part of the council has helped him in his pastoral position.

“I’ve learned a lot of ministry with town council. About keeping your composure and showing people the love that you want to be shown,” Stivers says.

Other organizations that Stivers has been a part of during his time in Warren include the Knight Bergman Center (KBC) Board, the Love INC Board, the Redevelopment Commission, the Chamber of Commerce Board where he held multiple positions including president and vice president and the Warren Area Ministerial Association (WAMA). He also coached various sports teams for the PAL Club and KBC.

Stivers hopes to be involved in the community in Lexington as well, but he isn’t sure what that will look like yet.

“Wherever God will open doors, I’ll be happy to be used,” Stivers says. “My heart still likes to be involved in boards and politics, but the likelihood is less likely due to the size and the change in the dynamic… a conservative minister might not have the same opportunities in a big place like Lexington.”

Though Stivers is moving away from Warren, he says, “I am leaving feeling the same way the apostle Paul did when he wrote about the church in Philippi – ‘I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now’ (Philippians 1:3-5).”