Paul’s words to Timothy are the Holy Spirit’s words to our elders: “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2Tim. 2:2). That’s our biblical strategy for finding and appointing elders here at Heritage, and for propagating the gospel beyond our walls.
With this in mind, meet Jarod Hill, whose summer internship is just now wrapping up. Jarod has been busy in a few ways that he will explain below.
Our purpose in this internship is to see churches led by pastors who faithfully connect the Bible’s theology of the church to the church’s worship, life, and mission. In other words, to see churches flourish in the gospel and gospel work. Pray that Jarod would be that kind of shepherd for a church in the years ahead.
Before we get to know you a bit, tell us what excited you the most about serving as an intern this summer?
What excited me most about the internship were the opportunities to learn and grow. Throughout the internship, I read, wrote on, and discussed twelve books. These books covered an array of important topics to help me grow in seeing how a theology of the church shapes our practice of church. Every week I met with Trent to discuss my reading and he helped me think these things through and clear up any questions. Those meetings with Trent were by far my favorite part of each week.
Also, although I dreaded it to an extent, I very much looked forward to preaching and developing those skills as well. Preaching to the Heritage family at a recent Family Meeting was an honor.
Now, let’s go to the beginning, your new beginning. How did the Lord save you?
Unlike many people, I do not recall a specific day on which was saved. The first eighteen years of my life, I grew up in a small Reformed Baptist church that tended to overemphasize the doctrines of grace and specifically the doctrine of election (a wholly biblical truth) and underemphasize man’s responsibility in salvation (an equally biblical truth). Because of this imbalance, I spent my life waiting for God to show me that He chose me before the foundation of the world to be His son, because that’s what it ultimately came down to. He either chose me or He didn’t.
After those eighteen years, my family decided to leave that church and join a church closer to where we lived. It was at this new church we were attending, where one of the pastors took me out for dinner a couple times and discussed theology and what I believed. Over those dinner meetings, my pastor helped me to realize that, “if (I) confess with (my) mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in (my) heart that God raised him from the dead, (I) will be saved (Romans 10:9),” and was therefore, in the elect and chosen before the foundation of the world for salvation. I realized that verse was true to me and the implications that followed. Several weeks later, I was baptized.
You’ve been at Heritage for several years now. Why did you decide to stay and how have you been shaped during these years?
It was a combination of a few things: solid theology, a loving church community, and the right connections. Before even visiting Heritage, I did a lot of research on churches in the Greenville area. First and foremost, I was looking for a church that was theologically conservative and orthodox and also believed and proclaimed the doctrines of grace. Secondly, I wanted to be a part of a church family that genuinely loved and cared for one another and heavily emphasized discipleship of one another. Lastly, I was hoping to find a church that had some Southern Baptist Theological Seminary connections (because that’s where I plan to get my seminary degree from) and Bob Jones connections (because that’s where I was getting my undergraduate degree from). Heritage Bible Church was the only church that I could find that went above and beyond in checking all of those boxes. I’m super thankful to be a part of this family and excited to officially join Heritage in the coming months, Lord-willing.
Now, the most influential book on your life and what has been the most influential sermon on your life? Tell us a little about both.
Without being cliché and saying “the Bible” is the most influential book on my life, I can easily say John Piper’s books, Desiring God, and, When I Don’t Desire God, are tied for the most influential books on my life. Desiring God is John Piper defending from Scripture the topic he calls, “Christian Hedonism.” In his book, Piper summarizes Christian Hedonism by saying, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” Piper puts it another way in his book by switching up the words to the first answer of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. Instead of the answer being, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever,” Piper changes it to, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” What a blessing it is to be able to fulfill man’s entire purpose and receive the only fully satisfying joy we have available to us at the same time. Truly desiring God will prove difficult for any of us because we remain sinners. That’s why Piper wrote, When I Don’t Desire God, to give practical actions we can take found in Scripture to help strengthen our desire for Him.
When it comes to most influential sermons, the most influential sermon on my life is by Paul Washer and is titled, “Paul Washer- Shocking Message” on YouTube. I think I first heard this message my first year at Bob Jones and was actively going against God in several areas of my life. God used it to break and convict me and you can bet on God doing that to you almost every time you listen to it.
You’re near the end of reading a hand full books over this internship. What’s been the most insightful book so far and why?
Oddly enough, the most insightful book I read was one of the last in my internship, A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles, by Thomas Sowell, who is not even a Christian. This is the one book Trent has us read that isn’t about the church, but about the world we find ourselves in today as the church. In his book, Sowell theorizes (and I believe expresses correctly) why the world tends to sort itself out into two broad coalitions politically and economically. He writes not to prescribe a political ideology but to describe how it is that political visions tend to sort themselves out as they do. He explains this phenomenon as a conflict of visions of human nature, specifically a conflict between the “constrained vision” and the “unconstrained vision.” The constrained vision views mankind as fundamentally flawed and constrained by that basic reality. The unconstrained vision sees mankind as a people whose potentialities are not constrained by what we would call sin. Thus, we have on the one hand a vision of humanity that pursues tradeoffs and another that insists on perfect solutions, one that is averse to centralization in government because it does not trust humans with power, and another that seeks utopia. This book really helped me to better understand where certain views most likely come from and the importance knowing what a person’s fundamental beliefs about the world is.
You’ve been in our elders meetings for a few months now. What have you observed and learned so far?
Above all else, these elder meetings helped me to understand the importance of a plurality of elders. Every elder meeting, the elders and anyone else in the room discuss with one another a typically highly-debated topic from Scripture that needs clarification for the good of the church. The first topic they were going through when I began attending was divorce and remarriage. A second topic, which they are currently discussing, is church discipline. Because of the plurality of elders, input from each elder is used to better define terms and discern the Scripture’s teaching. All of this strengthens our church in ways that are hard to see except over time.
I also want to mention that the church elders of Heritage love the members so much. During the elder meetings, they pray for specific people of different elder communities and shepherding groups and each meeting is focused on loving you all better by leading the church in the most God-glorifying way imperfect man can. Be in prayer for them, they need your prayers and support!
What are your desires vocationally for the future and how can we pray for you?
Although I’m currently unsure what this will eventually look like, I hope to be actively involved in ministry of some type. I don’t know whether that will be on the mission field, pastoral, or in the workforce while being heavily involved in a church. Lord-willing, my plans in the near future are to become and eventually work as a certified financial planner (CFP) while pursuing a master’s degree in biblical counseling from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In the future, I desire to be a beacon of hope in the lives of my future clients, fellow church members, family, and friends by giving them practical advice with the knowledge and experience I hope and plan to attain.
Please pray that God continues to guide me and that He would change my desires to match His. Also, please pray that I can be a blessing and encouragement to people at work, my friends, and my family. Lastly, I would appreciate prayer asking God to change and develop my heart to be a more selfless, caring heart than what I have currently. Too much of what I do and say has selfish motives behind it, even if what I do and say looks good from the outside. Thank you for your prayers!
Finally, got any favorite teams or hobbies or special skills we should know about?
I’m a die-hard Indianapolis Colts fan. If I’m able to, I watch every Colts game and listen to daily Colts podcasts to get to know the players and coach better, which adds to the enjoyment of watching the games. I’m also a huge Marvel fan. My prized possession is a 75th Anniversary Captain America shield signed by Stan Lee, the co-creator of Marvel Comics. Also, although I rarely get to play now, I have played trumpet pretty consistently for about 12-13 years now in everything ranging from marching band to symphony orchestra. Performing music on trumpet is one of my favorite things to do.