Imagine if you will, a job that requires you to speak in front of large crowds multiple times a week. Would that make you nervous? Imagine how much tougher it would be if you were supposed to be an expert on every nuance of the subject matter. Long story short, hug your pastor next time you go to church and thank them. In the meantime, here is a pastor you need to meet. Robbie Hilton and his family have been in local ministry for many years in our region and well beyond. Take a minute to hear his story. You’ll be glad you did.
BRIAN: First of all, thanks for taking time to talk with me so folks can know you better. The best place to start is the beginning, will you talk a little about what it was like for you growing up and how that shaped you?
ROBBIE: I was born in the old Johnson City medical center in 1978. At that time my parents were traveling up and down the East Coast ministering in different churches and as soon as I was born I hit the road with them. We didn’t really have a home but we were so blessed to have many friends and many churches and family members who would help us along the way. I was six years old when my parents moved back to Tennessee to start Calvary Church. At that time I didn’t know we didn’t have much. I was loved so much that the lack of things was a non-issue. God has been so faithful to my family.
BRIAN: You are a truly gifted pastor and could choose pretty much any location you want. What is it about the Tri Cities and the people here that are so special to you?
ROBBIE: I love the people of this area. I grew up in Elizabethton. I went to Hunter Elementary and Elizabethton High School. I love the mountains, I love the fact that we get a taste of all four seasons. It’s home. So, I’m really grateful that God has given me the opportunity to serve in the place and with the people I love so much.
BRIAN: Family is a huge part of your life and you have a really great one. Talk some about your family and why that part of your life means so much.
ROBBIE: My parents are my heroes! They have truly lived a life of faith. Following the call of God wherever it has lead them. My wife is from Pennsylvania and left everything she was familiar with to come here and start a family with me. She is everything to me. She’s the most incredible wife and mother and our lives are forever changed because of her. Our kids are amazing! Chloe, Judah, Aaliyah and Oliver fill our days with ball games and concerts and we love every minute of it. Family is my priority and I believe if I’m a good dad and husband I’ll be a good pastor.
BRIAN: I ask people this a lot because it is a foundational question, but it obviously has greater significance in this case. Will you please talk about your faith and the journey that has led you to where you are?
ROBBIE: I had a great childhood but I came to a point where I had to know God for myself. Discovering how much God loves me and what Jesus did for me became really personal around the age of 17. I wanted to play basketball in college and things were just not working out the way I wanted them to. I had to surrender my plans to Him and allow him to do what He wanted to do with my life. Giving God control of my life was the greatest decision I’ve ever made.
BRIAN: There is only one way to end this. Calvary church is absolutely on fire for God and there is so much going on that people need to get plugged in to. What are some current events and how can people get connected?
ROBBIE: I’m so excited about what God is doing through the church. In June we are excited about our Vacation Bible School that begins on June 11 and runs through the 15. You can go to our website www.visitcalvary.com and register for that. It’s open to the community. We have a backpack drive that will begin in June so that we can help kids starting school this fall. So much is happening and the best is yet to come.