By Cindy Solomon

ENCORE Ministry has named John Rivas its executive director.

He succeeds Kent McNish, the ministry’s founding executive director, who will retire at the end of 2023.

Rivas previously was senior donor legacy planning advisor at The Gideons International, where he helped individuals and families navigate legacy and philanthropic decisions through their wills, trusts, and estates.

Rivas collaborated with estate planning attorneys, financial advisors, and other professionals to raise more than $20 million in current and legacy gifts for The Gideons International since 2020.

“I count it the highest honor to take the reins of leadership of ENCORE Ministry and build upon the excellent work that Kent McNish, the staff, and the board of directors have done throughout the ministry’s formative years,” Rivas said.

“I am passionate about the mission of the ministry and look forward to great days ahead. I am committed to assisting families increase multi-generational trust and communication so that assets can be maintained through the transfer of what really matters to families — their stories, mission and vision, as well as core values,” he added.

Prior to his Gideons International work, Rivas was director of development for the Center for Youth Ministry Training (CYMT) in Texas. His leadership experience also includes being executive director of New Mexico activities for the Texas Methodist Foundation, vice president of advancement for the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, and director of family philanthropy at Discipleship Ministries/The United Methodist Foundation.

Rivas has held the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation since 2001. He earned master’s degrees in philanthropy and development from LaGrange College and in religious education from Nazarene Theological Seminary after receiving a bachelor’s degree from Southern Nazarene University.

“All of us at ENCORE Ministry are excited to work with John. He brings a full range of successful career experience managing fundraising and endowment-building programs,” said Charles Hewgley, ENCORE Ministry’s board chairman. “John’s broad background with faith-based charitable foundations and his prior work with the legacy Tennessee Conference of The United Methodist Church are a great addition to ENCORE’s growing ministry that supports local United Methodist congregations’ service to older adults.”