Ivan Parker: About
The first time Ivan Parker stepped on stage to sing was in a Pentecostal church in Sanford, North Carolina. One Sunday night his father, the pastor, asked, “Does anyone have a song to sing?” Immediately, 2-year-old Ivan jumped off his mom’s lap, ran to the microphone and started singing, “On the wings of a snow white dove, He sends His pure, sweet love.”
“That was my first solo,” Ivan said. “I just kept singing until my dad finally said, OK, I think that’s enough.” Today when Ivan steps to the microphone, whether it’s in a church or in an arena packed with thousands of admirers, he will never hear anyone say, “OK, Ivan, that’s enough.”
With the same enthusiasm and passion that sprang forth from that 2-year-old’s heart, Ivan continues to sing gospel music. After recording over thirty projects, the song goes on.
Ivan was saved at age 9 in his daddy’s church in Sanford, when an evangelist preached a fiery sermon on the rapture of the church and heaven. “I remember that night well,”he said. “I was sitting on the back row with all my friends. When the invitation was given, I couldn’t get to the altar fast enough. My mom and dad had always told me that whenever it came to salvation, I couldn’t get to heaven on their experience – I had to have my own.”
This decision that Ivan made at age 9 stayed in the forefront of his mind, even though he admits that he made a lot of mistakes along the way. “But I knew Jesus loved me and had His hand on me. I didn’t know what God had planned for my life; I just knew I wanted to sing.”
Ivan Parker’s all-time favorite song is “Midnight Cry.” He remembers the incredible feeling he had the first time he heard the song. “I just could not get away from the message in the song. It meant a lot to me, because it was the message that tugged at my heart the night I gave my heart to the Lord. This message is repeated in so many songs.” Several years ago, Ivan was asked to sing for the Church of God General Assembly in San Antonio, Texas. As he was placing his luggage in the car, he had a muscle spasm in his back. “The pain was so intense, I thought I was having a heart attack. I could hardly move. My wife asked, “Do we need to cancel and take you to the hospital? No, I said. We’re going to San Antonio. The Lord will help me.”
When they arrived in San Antonio late that afternoon he was still in a lot of pain. But a group of people started praying and Ivan went on to the service. As they introduced him, he was still hurting. But when he took the very first step to walk on stage, he didn’t feel any pain. “When I began singing ’Midnight Cry,’ the wave of the Holy Spirit started on one side and moved across that arena. The whole time I was singing, I felt no pain. When I came back offstage I felt the pain again, although not as bad as it had been. I think the Lord blessed me because He saw how determined I was to minister and put His Word before the people.”
Ivan has won over thirty Singing News Fan Awards, including Favorite Lead Vocalist (six times), Favorite Male Vocalist (eleven times), and Favorite Soloist (thirteen times).
Ivan and his wife, Teresa, have two sons – Ryan and Josh. Ryan is happily married to Sandy Hagee and they are the proud parents of two daughters. Josh tours with Ivan, playing electric guitar. The Parkers attend River of Life in Nashville, TN.
The two people who have had the greatest influence on Ivan’s life are his mom and dad. “My mom, Katie Parker, is a real prayer warrior. She has always prayed for God to use her children in the ministry. Reflecting back to my dad’s life, I see a lot of what I’m doing and the way God is using me as a fulfillment of his ministry. My dad was a singer and a musician, but when he was called to preach, he put his music on the back burner. It’s almost like he passed the mantle to me, and I’m fulfilling the musical side of his ministry.”
Like most Christians, Ivan has known some “ups and downs,” but he has lived with his favorite passage of scripture, Psalm 23. “I believe God does His greatest works in us when we are in the valley. It is there that we are more open to what He has in store for us.” When Ivan was asked if he had any unfulfilled dreams, he said, “You never stop dreaming about where your ministry is going. I just pray that God will take what I am presently doing and increase it. I am living my dream…but the dream is not completed yet.” The song will go on!