John Hall began as Pastor of Hilldale United Methodist Church in Lewisport 6 weeks ago. Hall has been in ministry for almost 40 years.
“This is the first appointment I’ve had that has moved me close to where I grew up,” he said. “My goal is always to show how the Bible and the message of Christ is applicable to our lives today.
The Bible speaks candidly about our life today – how to get along with friends, how to love each other, how to handle pressure, how to handle stress – all of those things. Every message, I try to add that in.
Services here are for all ages and our church welcomes anybody back to church, or if you’re coming to church for the first time at any age – no questions asked and no explanations.
No guilt – everybody’s welcome. There is no one not welcomed in our church and in our congregation. No matter what they’re going through in their life, no matter what choices they’ve made.”
Pastor Hall grew up in Breckinridge County, and his parents are James W. & the late Mary Ann Hall. His father taught at Breckinridge County High School and was a pastor at Hites Run Baptist Church. Hall took Religious Studies classes for early college in Nashville at Belmont University. He earned his degree in Intercultural Studies at Western Kentucky University and then studied and worked at Asberry Seminary. He’s now an elder with the Global Methodist Church.
“A lot of my ministry was bivocational,” he said. “I spent 22 years working with newspapers, and probably 15 years in circulation. It was only at night and didn’t interfere with anything going on at church. I worked for Ganette, but was really employed at local newspapers. I moved into writing and then purchased a small, local, weekly newspaper – The Hometown Paper, where I lived in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, a town of about 3,000 people.”
After a year, he said the newspaper became too expensive to print and he had to close it. Since then, he’s helped out at small newspapers writing columns and articles. He and his wife, Tara, have both written for publications over the years and she is also a pastor. She is currently taking a year off from full-time pastoring to be with her family in their new home.
John & Tara will be married 17 years this month. She is also from Breckinridge County and her parents are James & Lynn Rhodes. She’s the granddaughter of Harold & Birdie Teller. They are blessed with 8 children combined. Their 4 grown children are Josh, Jed, Donavan and Daniel. Their 4 younger children are Miriam, Isaiah, John Wesley and Martha.
“Part of our ministry,” John said, “is to help people through struggles in life – not judge them, but help them through. Whatever their background is, whatever they’re struggling with – everybody is welcome. We’ll be your friend and we’ll help you. That’s our main message.
We don’t throw stones. We just want to help people improve their lives and get to where they need to be.
That’s our mission; that’s what we do. We’re not perfect people by any means. A mentor once told me that you look at your life like a pie and you divide it into slices for the number of years you’ve lived. Whatever your trouble is, your worst time, is really going to be a very small piece of that pie; and you shouldn’t let the tiniest of the pie dictate the rest of your life.”
He said his favorite Scripture is 1 John 1:9. “If we are faithful and confess our sins; He forgives our sins. The way it comes out, is that we’re all equal,” he said. “No matter what we’ve done; He forgives us all – whoever we are.
My second favorite is John 3:17. It’s right after 3:16, but it says Jesus didn’t come to condemn us, we were condemned already. He came to save us. It’s all about His redeeming love. When we come to Christ and make Him our Lord, He first gives us peace – peace with Him and peace over circumstance.
The circumstance can’t rule us anymore, so that should give us peace. Then, He gives us strength and power to overcome the circumstance, whatever it is – a health issue, a work issue, grief, all the list of problems and circumstances. God gives us the strength and the power to overcome that through His resurrection.
In Romans 8:31-39, it says we’re more than conquerors with Christ. There’s nothing we have to let defeat us, now that we have Christ in our life. We may limp or we may have some scars, but nothing will defeat us in Christ. Whatever happens, even when we face death – it doesn’t defeat us because we’re in Christ.
We don’t have to live in fear. We don’t have to live in the burden of circumstance. Christ is already working to overcome it in our lives.
He’s a big premeditator. He’s working on things 10 years from now for us already – people who come into our lives, things, events, and bad things He knows are coming. He’s already working to make it peaceful for us and make us able to overcome it.”
John & Tara like traveling to historical sites and hiking at national parks during their free time. He said one of their favorite spots is Cumberland Gap. “We try to go to all of the presidents’ homes, along with where they grew up,” he said. “That’s one of the things we’ve put on our bucket list and we’ve been to several.”
Hilldale United Methodist Church is located at 750 Hilldale Road in Lewisport. Sunday morning services are from 10-11:00 a.m.
By Jennifer Wimmer