Dr. Christy Hill is a professor of spiritual formation and women’s ministries in both the undergraduate and seminary programs at Grace College. She is passionate about equipping both men and women in ministry and is devoted to the spiritual formation of her students. We are blessed to have Dr. Hill at Grace, and we count it a privilege to have front seats in watching the Lord use her to care for students and prepare them for a life dedicated to Him.
Do you want to be educated by faculty that are invested in helping you cultivate spiritual growth? Continue reading to get a glimpse into a future of learning from Dr. Hill.
How did you come to know the Lord?
I was a small child when I heard the gospel for the first time and the message pierced my heart. My parents were in Christian ministry and helped me to understand that I needed a relationship with Jesus in order to be made right with God the Father. I remember being in my bed one night contemplating the length of eternity (and couldn’t really grasp that our lives never end), but I desperately wanted to spend eternity in heaven when I died. I prayed my own version of the sinner’s prayer: I recognized that I was a sinner, separated from God. I acknowledged my need for a Savior and asked Jesus to come into my life to be Lord and Savior. In the following years, I began to realize the dimensions of this decision. In fourth grade, a chapel speaker challenged us to consider whether or not God was really the Lord of our lives. The speaker reminded us that Jesus was willing to die for us; would we be willing to die for Him? I took that challenge seriously and prayed to God, committing my whole life to Him, even if it meant my physical death in this life. That was a game-changing moment — for God used that to solidify my loyalty to Him above all else, even my own self-preservation.
How do you see the Spiritual Formation class aiding in the student’s awareness of their beliefs?
The Spiritual Formation class not only helps students to find their identity in Christ, it also helps them to recognize the false sources where their security and significance have been placed. We talk about the fact that we are thirsty people; and we have “broken cisterns” (Jer. 2:13) that we turn to in order to satisfy our needs. We look at our family history, shaping events, and even cultural trends that influence how and where we go for our sense of validation and security. Once we start to identify these broken cisterns, we can start to understand why certain besetting sins have a grip on us. Spiritual progress is made when we repent of running to these “idols of the heart” and begin to turn to the Lord for security and significance. I try to help students to see that sin is not just a behavioral problem that can be fixed by trying harder. We actually have to learn to “abide in the Vine” (John 15) and draw our life from Jesus. I hope that this course helps students to attach more deeply to Christ and begin to walk more intentionally in step with His Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
Tell us about your family.
I grew up in a Christian home, the youngest of 3 siblings. I stayed single (not by my preference) until I was 38 years old. God provided my wonderful husband, Jim, to journey through life with me. We enjoy traveling, bicycling, and eating Indian food.
What do you enjoy most about teaching and advising college students?
I enjoy seeing the light bulb turn on as paradigm shifts take place. College was such a time of spiritual formation for me, that I count it a sincere privilege to be used by God to intersect with students as they wrestle with big questions and learn how to own their own faith. I feel like I can be a supportive voice that nurtures faith in God by providing soul hospitality. It is especially rewarding to see students continue to walk with God even when He doesn’t make sense.
How did you become a faculty member at Grace?
After I had already had a few interviews at other Christian schools, I was discouraged at the ungodly values that were driving these schools. I was considering whether or not to go into higher education or stay in church ministry. But when I interviewed at Grace Seminary, I was pleasantly surprised to find much in common in terms of values and mission. It was readily apparent that Grace College and Seminary was an ideal fit. I was able to bring to the Seminary some much needed expertise in the area of Spiritual Formation. I was the first female seminary faculty member, which also allowed me to mentor female students in a unique way and become a professor for women in ministry as well. I am very grateful to be at Grace.
What advice would you give a new student entering the seminary?
The temptation for the new seminary student is to let your relationship with God become merely intellectual and academic. I encourage new seminary students to let their academic training promote their holistic spiritual formation development with God. As you learn new information, ask the “so what” question. What difference should this material make in one’s life? What difference does it make in my day to day perspective and walk with the Lord? How is this material enlarging my heart for God and His kingdom work for which I am an ambassador? If we are not intentional to continue to pursue a personal relationship with God, our study and our ministry may become an unintended idol in our heart.
What is something you are most looking forward to right now?
I’m looking forward to being able to promote community without the fear of spreading Covid.
I’m looking forward to seeing life transformation — as God uses His Word, His people, and His Spirit to change lives.
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Christy Hill, Professor of Spiritual Formation and Women’s Ministries, has a passion for facilitating the holistic development of men and women into mature disciples of Jesus Christ, who are transformed by the experience of God’s love and truth. Saddened by the discrepancy between accurate theology and a living faith, she seeks to help her learners acknowledge that their operant belief system (behaviors, values, attitudes, motives) reveals their true beliefs. She then seeks to aid spiritual formation by resolving the gap between one’s professed belief system (correct theology) and actual beliefs.