By Leigh Reynolds
Coordinator of Youth and Communication Ministries
Oakland Baptist Church, Rock Hill

As a child of the church, I do not have any memories where church was not an important part of my life. I was born and reared in the Carolinas, living first in Charlotte, and later in Fort Mill.

My formative years were spent at Unity Presbyterian Church in Fort Mill. During high school I began to sense a call to youth ministry and, being a member of a Presbyterian (USA) Church, the natural choice was Presbyterian College.

While at PC, home of the mighty Blue Hose (look that mascot up, if you’re not familiar), I earned a degree in Christian Education and Philosophy. PC not only afforded me a great education, but also provided opportunities for me to explore and expand my gifts for ministry through leadership in various campus organizations and local churches.

Following graduation, I served as a Youth Director first at a church in Greenville, and then in Easley. Thanks to a blind date arranged by a mutual friend, I met and fell in love with Phillip. He lived in Rock Hill and was a member of Oakland Baptist Church, so marriage brought me back “home” and introduced me to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

For the first three years of our marriage I worked for the United Methodist Publishing House as a Community Resource Consultant. Even though I loved that job, God opened the door and my heart for a ministry position at Oakland where I currently serve as the Coordinator of Youth and Communication Ministries. For many years, I ignored and/or said no to the idea of divinity school. But finally, I said yes! And now I find myself at the half-way point of this journey.

From the Gardner-Webb School of Divinity, I am pursuing a Master of Divinity degree, with a concentration in Congregational Health through Formation. Through my studies I hope to incorporate new ideas filled with richer theology into the areas in which I already serve.

I hope to make space to allow God to work within and through me in ways I can’t currently comprehend.

For me, youth ministry is, as Frederick Buechner describes, the intersection where “deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” But even so, I look with eager anticipation to what other joys of ministry God will open my heart to embrace.

I am grateful for the staff and members of Oakland Baptist Church who have given me space to pursue this degree, while providing encouragement and prayers along the way. I am also grateful to CBFSC for partnering with me in this journey through the Marion D. Aldridge Leadership Scholarship.

Leigh is one of the students receiving aid for seminary study through the Marion D. Aldridge Scholarship Fund.

CBFSC is accepting applications through April 15 for students in masters or doctoral level ministerial study.