By Jeff Brumley
Now and then, a preacher’s kid follows a parent into the ministry. But when the moment of decision came for Leah Anderson Reed, she decided to follow both her father and mother into ordination.
Reed, 27, was ordained last month at First Baptist Church in Ahoskie, N.C., where she serves as chaplain and minister with youth. The ceremony made her the third in a three-member family to be an ordained Baptist minister, along with parents Anna and LaCount Anderson.
Reed credited the calling she sensed at age 16 and her parents’ ministries for inspiring her — even with the ups-and-downs that come with being a preacher’s kid. “My parents have been, ‘We want you to do whatever God is calling you to do,’” she said. “Both my parents always modeled a very authentic faith for me.”
‘We never sheltered her’
But Reed’s father needed some convincing now and then, she said. “When my dad found out I was going to be ordained, he asked me practically every single week, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’”
LaCount Anderson said he had always worried about the effect of his sometimes turbulent career — moves from pulpit to pulpit, being fired and the internal politics — would negatively impact his daughter’s faith.
That kind of “rocky road … is what happens sometimes,” he said. “We never sheltered her from that.”
Nor did Anna and LaCount Anderson, now serving as Cooperative Baptist field personnel in Eastern North Carolina, try to divert her from a career in ministry, he added. “We never discouraged ministry, nor encouraged it.”
But when Leah showed interest in ministry, and eventually ordination, LaCount Anderson said he didn’t want her venturing into that life without the assurance of a call. “Once I knew God was involved in her decision process … and it was not a romantic ideal, I was OK,” he said.
He said he’s been more than OK since the ceremony. “To think where we have been the last 33 years, and that our child has chosen my career, is incredible.”
‘Doors will open’
It’s been incredible for Anna Anderson, too, and in part because of how closely she and her daughter’s ordinations mirror each other. Anna Anderson had served in ministry for years without being ordained. She was the minister of youth at First Baptist Church in Scotland Neck, N.C. when pastors there began prodding her to consider ordination. She finally accepted that calling in 2007.
Ordination brought her some pastoral care responsibilities at the church, where she served until 2010. Currently she is music minister and organist at Rosemary Baptist Church in Roanoke Rapids, where she also has associate pastor duties.
Like her mother, Reed has already been involved in various ministries, including at First Baptist in Ahoskie, but also in her father’s poverty ministries through CBF.
She helps women who come to her father’s Union Mission in Roanoke Rapids and also serves as the chaplain for the expanding effort that recently became a CBF Together for Hope site.
Only recently was Reed approached by her church’s leadership to consider ordination. The timing is good, Anna Anderson said, because today there are far more opportunities for service for ordained Baptist women with ministry experience.
“For her, the doors will open,” Anna Anderson said.
Reed said she’s been able to ease into ordination by spending several years exploring different kinds of ministries. And even with the option of using “the Rev.” in front of her name, she said she isn’t sure what she’ll do in the long term.
“I’ve never really felt a pull toward a specific kind of ministry,” she said. “But I do know what I am passionate about: working with teenagers and college students. And I love preaching, too.”
And a life growing up the child of ministers exposed her to countless mission trips and other situations which have developed a heart for the poor, Reed added.
She feels grateful for the role her parents have played in her calling and also for being at her ordination.
“Just to have them pour that blessing over me was very powerful,” she said. “It was a very holy moment.”