Longtime minister of education Bill J. Reed died Aug. 27 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer and lymphoma. He was 86.
Alabama Baptists knew Reed from his time on the church staffs of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Birmingham and Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, where he retired after 45 years in full-time ministry. Along with the Birmingham-area churches, he served First Baptist Church West Monroe, Louisiana, and River Oaks Baptist Church in Houston.
“I had the privilege of being a single adult Sunday School teacher under Bill Reed’s leadership in 1981 to 1983 at Shades and then to be his pastor and ‘boss’ from 1997 to 2005 as he served as minister of education and later as assistant pastor/minister of senior adults,” said Danny Wood, pastor emeritus of Shades Mountain Baptist. “Bill had a great passion for people to know Christ and to grow in Christ. As an education minister, he would think outside the box to find new and better ways and methods and not be a slave to ‘we have always done it this way before.’
“Bill’s philosophy of ministry was: Make sure the basics are covered, be innovative and empower your leadership. He was outgoing, caring, funny, loving and just a joy to hang around. If you ever got him talking about cowboys, horses and his Baylor Bears, then sit back, watch him light up and enjoy the ride! I am indebted to Bill and his investments into my life and ministry and he will be greatly missed.”
Reed also was well known across the denomination and served a stint as president of the Metro Ministers of Education Association of the Southern Baptist Convention. He led conferences at Glorieta and Ridgecrest and workshops on church growth.
A Texas native, Reed surrendered to the ministry as a teenager at First Baptist Church Kerens, Texas, and attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. During his time at Baylor, he served First Baptist Church Clifton, Texas.
In 2005 following his retirement, Reed and his wife, Marlene, returned to Texas, where he served at the Gospel Café for 15 years. In 2012, he became pastor of the Protestant Church at Providence Ascension Retirement Center and remained there until his death. He was an active member of First Woodway Baptist Church where he served on the personnel committee for several years.
Reed is survived by his wife, two children and five grandchildren.
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