Friday, June 29, 2007

S.J. Hill | The Heart of a Spiritual Father

In response to my last posting titled, Where Are They, I've received a TON of wonderful feedback that has been insightful, constructive, and encouraging. In the next few days I want to post a few of these emails so that everybody can enjoy the wisdom of others who have much to contribute to this dialogue. One email I received was from a person whose name sounded vaguely familar, Stephen J. Hill. He had written in response to my posting and included a recent newsletter that he had sent out to his subscribers. It is a great read from one is truly is walking out the calling as a spiritual father to many! Please take the time to read it. After reading through it, I made the connection. Interestingly a few years ago, a friend of mine attended the F.I.R.E School of Ministry. He took a class under S.J. Hill and he gave me his book called Enjoying God. I wish I could say that I've read it, but I have not. Now I have ample motivation to read it!
Here is the newsletter by S.J. Hill:

Stephen J. Hill
June 20, 2007

Hi Everybody,

I pray you're doing well and that you're continuing to grow in the knowledge and grace of our incredible Bridegroom King, Jesus Christ. I wanted to write you to share something with you that's very close to my heart. In 1989, I was given a prophetic word based upon Malachi 4:6: "And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse." Even before this prophecy was spoken over me, I had a real love for young people and always enjoyed being around them. But after the prophetic word was given to me, something was ignited in my heart that I can't put into words. All I know is that when I walked onto the campus of the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry in 1999, I instinctively knew that all my years of ministry were preparatory for what I would experience in the coming years. Surrounded by approximately 1200 young adults, I began to feel Father's heart for this generation like never before. My heart broke over the emotional issues (father issues) that many of the students continually had to deal with. Having come from broken homes and dysfunctional families, it was hard for them to perceive God as their loving Father.

It was at this point that I realized I was going to have to do more than just teach these young adults about God's love for them in a classroom environment. I knew I was also being called to model the Father's heart to this generation. I began spending quality time with a number of the young men from the school, and Pam started hanging out with several of the girls. We even opened up the home in which we were living to the students and began discipling them on a regular basis. We ate together, laughed and cried together, and shared in each other's lives. Those days were some of the most fulfilling I've ever experienced. To this day, I still hear from many of them even though they're scattered all over the world. Some of them are missionaries, some are working in the marketplace, and some of them are involved in various aspects of ministry here in the States. Pam and I have become a "father" and "mother" to them, and I can't begin to tell you of the joy I feel knowing that we have "sons" and "daughters" living in many different places in the world. What a privilege it is to help "father" this generation. I know of no greater legacy to leave than sons and daughters who passionately love God!!!

Right now, I travel some, as well as teach part-time at the F.I.R.E School of Ministry in Concord, North Carolina. But I continue to "father" young men on a regular basis. I eat with them, pray with them, walk them through their issues, and help prepare them in practical ways for future ministry. I spend hours on the phone talking to missionaries around the world, loving on them and being there for them. I make it a point to continually let them know that I'm proud of them. There's nothing else that I'd rather do!! We leaders, especially, need to go from being CEO's of religious organizations to becoming "fathers" of this younger generation. We've got to quit producing orphans and start producing sons and daughters. But this is going to require that we first become sons. We have to live as sons before we can become fathers. We have to find our core identity as Abba's boys and not find our identity in ministry. It's about being so secure in our Father's love that we won't try to hold onto a position or live just to defend our "religious turf."

True leadership is about reproducing sons and daughters who will one day take our places. I want to lovingly challenge all of you to become more personally involved with the young adults of this generation. The Church as a whole has all kinds of programs and activities for young children and teenagers, but often very little is available for young adults. Yet, these are our next leaders. The face of the Church is only going to change as we bear the image of our heavenly Father and start becoming personally involved in the lives of the young people around us. We've had great teaching over the years, but very few spiritual fathers and mothers.

To those of you who are older, I want to encourage you to start inviting some young people over to your homes. You have years of experience under your belts, and this younger generation needs you. They need practical instruction on such things as balancing a checkbook, personal hygiene, as well as your help with life's important issues. Feed them, love them, be there for them, and listen to them. This is not the time to retire and think about the good old days. Your best years are ahead of you.

To all of you businessmen, I want to encourage you, as well, to start taking some young people under your wings and help prepare them for the marketplace. You have years of training and experience, and we need Christian young men and women in the workplace. Give yourselves to them, and they'll love you for life.

I know some of you would feel more comfortable if you could follow some kind of a training manual. But, please, don't be intimidated. This younger generation wants your love and affection. If you're willing to be transparent enough to open your hearts to them, the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest. Young adults all over the world are looking for fathers and mothers who will genuinely care for them.

Pam and I really want you to embrace what's in our hearts for this generation. I want to start traveling more to the various mission's bases we (F.I.R.E.) have around the world to help father the missionaries. Please pray for us and help us any way you can. Together, we can see a fatherless generation healed in the love of our heavenly Father -- a Father who delights in us and can never get enough of us.

We love you!!

S. J. (Steve) and Pam

P. O. Box 910
Harrisburg, NC 28075

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Hi Brian..

I sent this post along to Jack and he told me he has read the book..I think I'll borrow it from him..I especially love this comment "True leadership is about reproducing sons and daughters ..."

Also Ive been talking with a friend of mine who was adopted. God has done alot of healing in her life, and now in intercession her own heart is breaking for these "lost children".. God is stirring this in all of us..