Unfruitful Ministry

By Christopher Zoukis

For the next two years, cadet Paul Hill marched and drilled.  He wore a uniform and attended classes, where he sat erect and took notes.  He learned how to handle firearms.  And every afternoon – whether he wanted to or not – he went to chapel. 

It was there, in 1973, right before graduation that Paul found Jesus.  He got religion.  And with religion he got self-discipline and balance in his life.  Exactly as his father wanted.

Paul later wrote, “God graciously converted my proud and rebellious heart when I was seventeen.”[1] 

Paul enrolled in Image courtesy bellhaven.edu, which was a small, private Christian college.  The curriculum at Bellhaven had “Jesus at its core.”  Which meant the administrators and professors were Christians.  Everything was presented from the Christian perspective.  Bellhaven College and its students were separated from “the World.”  No one drank alcohol or smoked cigarettes or played cards.  Everyone was serious about being serious for Jesus.

Paul met his future wife at Bellhaven.  Her name was Karen.  Karen was pretty in a plain, pious way common to the females at Bellhaven.  Prim and proper, Karen knew her place:  submitted to Jesus first and her future husband second.  She knew and subscribed to the Biblical passages about women being “helpmates.”

Paul felt the call.  Which meant God had called him to the ministry.  Paul would spend his life helping others, exhorting others to be better Christians.  To those who weren’t Christians already, Paul would present the Gospel.  To prepare himself as a shepherd for God’s flock, Paul enrolled in Reformed Theological Seminary.

According to Paul’s own words, “Though I am a slow learner, I managed to graduate from seminary in 1984.  The Lord then opened the door for me to serve as a minister in both the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.”[2] 

Paul’s admission to being “a slow learner” demonstrated his adaptability.  For he was not a slow learner.  In fact, he was at the top of all his classes in seminary.   Which meant he was a fast learner.  He was quick to assume the expected humility of all wanna-be ministers.  Every ministerial candidate was aware that “pride goeth before the fall.”  So they all exuded the proper meekness of spirit that so impressed other Christians.

Paul entered the ministry.  Pastoring at three different churches, he was restless and impatient.  He also had a habit of self-righteously confronting church members.  After seven years as a pastor he quit because of an “unfruitful ministry.”  Those words probably reflect unmet expectations.  Paul wanted to change the world.  He thought he could change the world.  When the awful truth became apparent – he wasn’t setting the world on fire – he slipped into disillusionment and depression.

 


[1] Hill, Paul.  “Defending The Defenseless,” 2001. 

 

[2] Ibid.