It started as a simple invitation to church. Zula Montgomery saw Junior Hill, only 12 years old at the time, playing in a field near Hartselle, Ala. She invited him to come to church with her and God used the invitation in a mighty way.
Editor’s note: Junior Hill is to be a
featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Louisiana Baptist
Convention Nov. 13-14 at Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)– It started as a simple invitation to church.
Zula Montgomery saw Junior Hill, only 12 years old at the time, playing
in a field near Hartselle, Ala. She invited him to come to church with
her and God used the invitation in a mighty way.
Hill, whose parents were not believers, began attending church at First
Baptist Church in Hartselle where Montgomery was a member. A few years
later, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and in 1955 God called
Hill to preach. Now in his 51st year of ministry, Hill has preached
more than 1,500 revivals throughout the United States and across the
world. Through the years, thousands of people have responded to his
preaching by receiving Christ.
For more than 11 years, with degrees from Howard College and New
Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Hill pastored SBC churches in
Alabama and Mississippi. Then in 1967, God changed Hill’s direction –
leading him into a ministry of evangelism and encouragement.
Hill said he has enjoyed preaching revivals over the years, but God has
also given him a deep burden for pastors. Because of his love for
pastors, Hill often speaks at local pastors’ conferences and similar
events. “Early in my ministry I realized that God had somehow
turned my heart to loving preachers,” Hill said. “Little bit, by little
bit, the Lord broadened that opportunity. I’ve had the joy over the
years to speak at many venues where pastors were at and that’s been a
great blessing to me.”
Hill said he especially enjoys offering encouragement to small church pastors.
“One of the things God has really laid on my heart is to try to give
encouragement to those who think they are not important or are beat
down,” he said. “God doesn’t reckon success and failure like we do.”
Instead, Hill sees success in ministry as being faithful to do what God
called the minister to do. “I’m not sure when we stand before the Lord
in the judgment seat that He’s going to be overly concerned with how
big our ministry was but how faithful we were to what He had given us,”
One of the main ways Hill encourages others is through the humorous
sermon delivery he uses – all without compromising the biblical truth.
But, Hill said, he never intended to be a funny preacher.
“Jerry Clower summarized it pretty well. He said, ‘Some people tell
funny stories and others tell stories funny,’” Hill said. “I guess that
would be the case for me. I don’t necessarily set out to tell funny
At age 69, Hill still keeps a busy preaching schedule.When Hill started
in fulltime evangelism, he would commonly preach 40 or more revivals
per year, and most were extended revivals lasting from four to eight
days. Now he preaches at fewer extended revivals than he used to.
Instead, he focuses on one-day meetings that he calls “Harvest Days.”
“Surprisingly, these meetings are very fruitful,” Hill said. “As a
matter of fact I have probably seen more people saved in those one-day
events than in the four-day events.”
Sundays that Hill is not on the road preaching at a church are rare.
Counting all his conferences, seminary appearances and revivals, Hill
preaches about 100 different places each year.
A few years ago while he was reading from the Psalms, Hill said, God
gave him assurance that his last days of ministry would be fruitful.
“God gave me a wonderful promise that my last days would be my best
days,” Hill said. “You know, it is amazing, but that has certainly come
Hill said that he has more opportunities to preach than ever. He also
said that he is seeing more people saved than ever. When asked to
identify one instance when God used him in a special way, Hill told a
story of one of his early revivals. The setting was a small church with
about 80 members. A few people were saved during the event, but Hill
did not think about that revival for many years.
Twenty years later Hill returned to the same church to find it had
grown to more than 500 members. The young pastor greeted him by saying
how much he loved and appreciated Hill. He did not recognize the pastor.
“He said, ‘About 20 years ago you came to this church and had a special
children’s night. I was a little boy that somebody had invited to
church and I was saved and now I’m the pastor of this church,’” Hill
recounted with tears in his eyes.
Just as someone reached out to him when he was a child, Hill has
reached out to others. For 50 years his ministry has been about
reaching the lost with the Gospel and encouraging believers to be all
God wants them to be.