John Hill is the new minister at Flint Hill UMC. | Alison James
John Hill is the new minister at Flint Hill UMC. | Alison James

Archived Story

New minister joins Flint Hill United Methodist Church

Published 11:47am Friday, June 21, 2013

Ministry at Flint Hill United Methodist Church opened a new chapter Sunday with the arrival of John Hill and his family.

Hill comes to Alexander City from Chelsea. He is originally from Pearl, Miss., and he went to Samford University and earned degrees in biology and history. A career in sales preceded his foray into ministry.

Hill said he enjoyed sales – and did well at it – but something was missing.

“I would spend a little bit of time – a year or two – at a job and would excel at that job, but then I would find myself bored. Empty,” Hill said.

Hill said he tried to fill the empty places with possessions.

“I would find myself searching for something – for meaning, for happiness,” Hill said. “I had everything that I believe the world was telling me I needed to be successful, and yet I felt like an utter failure.”

One night Hill said he prayed to God for guidance. Then he went and bought a Bible.

A stint in education at a Christian school led him to a youth ministry director job.

“I had first felt the call to ministry back when I was 17,” Hill said. “I told God, ‘You’re wrong.’”

But ministry was where Hill found himself. So from a youth director position at Avondale United Methodist Church in Birmingham, through being assigned to his first congregation and working at different congregations throughout the state – including starting a church in Huntsville – and finally being ordained in 2010, Hill has found his way to Flint Hill.

Hill said Flint Hill UMC is a larger congregation than those where he has been in the past, and he has been impressed by some of the attributes he’s found: the mission-mindedness, the children’s program, the tutoring program and the way the group has embraced technology in ministry.

“Flint Hill honors its past, but it lives in the present and looks to the future,” Hill said. “That’s vital in the health of the church. Too many churches live in the past. The church is a living organism. It changes. Anything that’s alive changes.”

Alexander City is entirely new territory for Hill, his wife Jill and their five children ages 3-18 – including twins. The first time Hill ever visited was the day, about two months ago, that he found out he had been assigned to Flint Hill UMC.

“My wife and I hopped in the car, and we came and drove through the community a little bit,” Hill said. “I love it. I’m really excited about being here. I like the community – it’s got a small town feel to it. It’s very similar to what I grew up in. And I think we’re really going to enjoy being this close to the lake.”