The Rev. Reginald Bachus went into the family business.
It shouldn't come as any surprise, though.
His father, the Rev. C.L. Bachus, has served as pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Kansas City, Kan., for the last 30 years. His brother, the Rev. Selwyn Bachus, is pastor of First Union Baptist Church in Richmond, Va.
Two of his uncles are pastors in Memphis, Tenn., and he has five cousins who are pastors, too.
Reginald Bachus his last name is pronounced "Back-us" has an explanation for all those relatives in the ministry.
"I think God tends to use families. You see that in the Bible. It just happens that way," Bachus, 41, says.
He is the new pastor of First Regular Missionary Baptist Church, 1646 Vt. Bachus officially was installed during a service on March 4.
More than 400 people, including members of his father's church and relatives from Memphis, attended the service.
Though a career in the clergy would seem to be in his genes, Bachus didn't take a direct route to becoming a full-time pastor. He has sold real estate and, most recently, worked in the wireless communication industry.
"I accepted a call to the ministry in 1989. I fought it, but the Lord was speaking to me. I figured I couldn't win," Bachus says. "It was a 13-year struggle. I just didn't feel worthy. My father has been extremely successful in the ministry and I wasn't sure I could live up to his accomplishments."
But eventually, he saw the light.
"I equate my experience to Paul's on the road to Damascus. My eyes were opened. I figured my arms were too short to box with God, so I gave in. And oh, how sweet my life has been since," he says.
Sense of closeness
First Regular Baptist is the first pulpit of his own that Bachus has been called to serve.
Before accepting that position, he worked for 10 years as an associate pastor with his father at Mount Zion.
Bachus is a young pastor serving an old church with deep roots here. First Regular Baptist, a traditionally African-American congregation, was established in Lawrence in 1868.
The church has moved locations twice since then. Its previous home was a building at 416 Lincoln, which now houses Unity Church of Lawrence.
First Regular Baptist is affiliated with the National Baptist Convention USA Inc. Attendance at Sunday worship services runs between 75 and 80 people, Bachus says.
The pastor before Bachus was the Rev. Terre Johnson, who has since moved to Wichita.
Before Bachus accepted the position at First Regular Baptist, the church was without a pastor for a year and a half. Visiting ministers would come in on Sundays to lead worship services, but there were times when no one would show up to preach.
Then Theo Hamilton, chairman of the church's deacon board, called Bachus last year in Kansas City, Kan., and asked him if he would preach on Sundays.
Eventually, the congregation asked Bachus if he would submit his rmor consideration as the permanent pastor, which he did.
On Dec. 16, the deacon board called Bachus to tell him they would like to have him serve as the new pastor.
"My first response was, 'Oh, Lord.' I hadn't expected this. I thought, 'Be careful what you pray for you just might get it,'" Bachus says, smiling. "It's a little bit overwhelming. But I have access to a great wealth of knowledge in my father. I always have him to seek advice from."
Bachus has been married to his wife, Detra, 43, for 19 years.
The couple has two children: Reggie, 17; and Regina, 15. Both attend Sumner Academy in Kansas City, Kan.
Detra Bachus supports her husband's new undertaking.
"She has always felt that the Lord would place me in a position as (senior) pastor somewhere. She's 100 percent behind me. I couldn't ask for a better mate," he says.
The family will continue to live in Kansas City, Kan., for now.
Reginald Bachus will commute to Lawrence to work at the church on Monday and Wednesday afternoons; from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. Saturdays; and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.
Bachus, who has a bachelor's degree in business management from Washburn University in Topeka, is working toward a master's of divinity degree at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
First Regular Baptist seems to have regained a sense of closeness that had seemed to dwindle while there was no pastor, Bachus says.
The congregation is starting to feel like a family again, and it's difficult to get people out of the church after the Sunday worship service.
They linger there, talking with each other.
"I want to see a change in people's lives. An inward change always has an outward manifestation. I can already see it," Bachus says.