Twins are serving God as ministers

The Harbison twins, Micah, left, and Seth, serve First Baptist Church as ministers. In addition to working together, they hunt, conduct youth camps, and sometimes do what they did together while growing up, groom other people’s yards. During the holidays, they combined their skills to build a set for a church event.

Sherry Kughn

As youngsters, neither Micah nor Seth Harbison ever intended to preach, in spite of having generations of preachers dating back to 1890 when great-great-grandfather to the twins, John Hill, was ordained. They graduated from Glencoe High School in 2001 and went their own ways until, after divergent paths, began to work side by side at First Baptist Church of Piedmont.

Micah is the music and education minister, and Seth is the youth and college minister. Their parents, Paul and Cindy, live in Gadsden. Paul is a minister who once served at First Baptist as music and youth minister from 1976-82 and, again, as interim minister in 1997. Cindy is a retired teacher who substitutes in education. Together, both sides of the known family have 155 years of combined service as ministers.

Both twins are former students at Jacksonville State University who struggled with the decision to become a minister before each felt God call him.

“I had planned to pursue a law degree and play football,” Micah said.

“I had planned to pursue a horticultural career,” Seth said.

Micah’s path: He attended JSU in 2001 and then get engaged to his wife, Brandi, in 2002. His years of serving churches on a part-time basis eventually led him to change his career decisions, and he began to pursue the ministry. He moved to Graceful, Fla., where he attended The Baptist College of Florida, a school his mother’s father had attended back in the 1960s before he became a minister. Micah married and then moved to a church in Tallassee where he served as music and youth minister. While on a wedding anniversary trip in 2012, he received an email asking him to serve at the Piedmont church for a year as interim music minister. That decision led to his becoming a fulltime minister in 2013.

Seth’s path: He, too, attended JSU and then he and an older brother, Jared, lived together in Birmingham where both were in college. Seth worked in landscaping on the weekends in Gadsden. Jared studied acting at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. One fateful day in 2005, Jared, who had had heart surgery as a child, died in his sleep. The trauma of losing his brother forced Seth to re-think his career.

“I surrendered to the call to become a minister in 2006,” he said. “I wanted to live a life that invested in people rather than making yards look pretty.”

Seth fell in love with his future wife, Brittany; moved to Mobile, and worked at the First Baptist Church of Bayou La Batre. While there, he studied theology at the University of Mobile. In 2008, a monumental year, he graduated, married, and returned to Northeast Alabama to work at a church in Hokes Bluff. A few years later, First Baptist of Piedmont contacted him and invited him to speak to the young people. That event led to an invitation to serve as interim, and then he was asked to become a fulltime minister six months after his brother.

Pulpit minister Michael Ingram said the Harbisons are a positive addition to First Baptist. They bring unique styles to the ministry,” he said, “and they bring a rich family history of ministry together. They take their differences and work through them. That makes some really nice things happen in the ministries of our church.”

Micah said their personalities are melded together. He is the older twin, by one minute, and said the two disagree every once in a while.

“At the end of the day, we’re still brothers.”

“He is weak where I am strong,” Seth said, “and I am weak where he is strong. It’s been a cool experience doing life and serving God together.”

Micah is the father of a daughter named Dannie Rae, and Seth has a son, Jay Reid.

“He is red-haired like Jared,” Seth said, “and he is named after him.”

Email Sherry at sherrykug@hotmail.com.