HARTSELLE, Ala. — Junior Hill, a beloved Alabama evangelist whose ministry spanned seven decades, died Jan. 3. He was 87.
A native of Hartselle, Hill began his ministry at age 19. He served as a pastor for 11 years in Alabama and Mississippi before becoming a full-time evangelist in 1967.
Over the course of his ministry, he led more than 1,700 revivals and numerous crusades overseas. He frequently spoke at pastors’ meetings, evangelism conferences, seminaries and state conventions.
Sammy Gilbreath, retired director of the office of evangelism for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions, once described Hill as “one of the greatest harvesters in the country today.”
Although his roots were in Alabama, Hill’s popularity spanned the country. From Nashville to Asheville, from Boston to Austin, from Aiken to Macon, the Alabama evangelist was well-known and well-loved.
He was a familiar face to Tennessee Baptists, having preached countless revivals and other speaking engagements throughout his ministry.
“Junior Hill was ‘humility on fire,’ ” said Tennessee pastor Mike Dawson. “I’ve known him since our days together at New Orleans Seminary in the 60s, and I’ve never known him to be puffed up or arrogant — he was humility personified. But I’ve also never heard him preach without having the Spirit’s anointing — that powerful, convicting fire from Heaven.”
Danny Sinquefield, Harvest Field One Team Leader for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, said in a social media post that “Junior Hill was every pastor’s friend. To know him was to love him.”
Dawson agreed, saying that Hill’s down-to-earth preaching style appealed to people of all ages. Dawson noted that Hill was especially effective in leading children to the Lord.
“Junior was like John the Baptist: not feeling worthy of serving at Jesus’ feet, yet being called by Jesus ‘a burning and shining light,’ ” said Dawson, former senior pastor at Dalewood Baptist Church, Nashville, and First Baptist Church, Columbia, and current transitional interim pastor at Spring Hill Baptist Church. “I’ll say it again: Junior was truly humility on fire.”
Hill earned a bachelor’s degree from Samford University in Birmingham and a master’s degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, who named him Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 1995.
He earned a doctorate from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and was also awarded a doctor of divinity degree from Covington Seminary in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.
He also wrote 21 books, including his autobiography, “They Call Him Junior.”
“There are untold numbers in the Kingdom today due to his personal soul-winning, his encouraging message for others to be faithful sharing their faith and his harvest of souls due to his anointed preaching,” said Gilbreath.
In 2021, Hill was honored with the inaugural Fred Wolfe Lifetime Pastoral Ministry Award at the Alabama Baptist Pastors Conference, an award given annually since to a pastor who has invested through mentoring, discipling and encouraging other men of God.
“I feel very inadequate for any kind of recognition like that,” said Hill, who at the time was approaching his 70th year in ministry. “I’m just a backwoods preacher; I don’t know much, but I love Jesus.”
Hill is survived by his wife, Carole; son, Mark; daughter, Melanie; and five grandchildren. B&R