Pastor James Walter Hills II, a native of Columbia, South Carolina, was born on March 10th,1983 to James Walter and Wilma Hills.
James was educated in the public schools of Buncombe County, North Carolina and Richland County, South Carolina. He furthered his studies at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina and N. J. Brockman School of Religion located in Greenville, South Carolina.
James was born on his mother’s birthday and growing up, it was evident there was something very special about him. He excelled in school, and could also be a prankster with his brothers and sisters. He was the baby boy and would often use that to his advantage. He would proudly proclaim “I’m a momma’s boy.” He loved his whole family equally, but his mother was his favorite person.
James’ father mentored him in the ministry, and he developed a very strong knowledge of the Word of God. He could dive into scripture and pull out things that many had not seen before. He would say, “It’s mine to offer and yours to receive.” James began his preaching ministry at the age of fifteen at Rock Hill MBC in Asheville, North Carolina. He was licensed to preach in 1998, and ordained by the Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Association in 2002. He served the Gethsemane Baptist Association in the capacity of 2nd Vice President and 1st Vice President of the Gethsemane Congress of Christian Education.
At the age of 19, the God placed the pastoral mantle on James and sent him to serve as under shepherd of the Shady Grove Baptist Church in Batesburg, South Carolina. During his pastorate the church experienced spiritual maturity and tremendous numerical growth. After six years of serving in that vineyard, the Lord transitioned him to Shady Grove Baptist Church in Pelzer, South Carolina, where souls were saved, the lost were reclaimed, members added to the fellowship, and ministries were restored and restructured. “The Grove”, as they became known, became a place where lives were changed.
Pastor Hills ministered during many sessions for both the Baptist E&M State Convention and the Great Commission Baptist State Convention of South Carolina. He facilitated numerous workshops, lectures and clinics in North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida and Oregon. He was also a class instructor and Vesper’s Preacher for Young People’s Christian Assembly sponsored by the Baptist E&M Convention held at Benedict College. He was the West Coast representative for “So Send I You”, an arm of the Foreign Mission Board of the National Baptist Convention, Inc. Pastor Hills also served his community and was awarded. He also served as an advisor for the Statewide Coalition for Youth Against Violence.
December 11th, 2012, God sent Pastor Hills to serve as under shepherd of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. He officially assumed the pulpit on January 6th, 2013, where he served faithfully until the Lord called him home. He established the motto, “Saving Souls, Developing Disciples, Changing Lives”. Many souls were saved, and many lives were forever changed. During the pandemic he remained steadfast and also took on the task of planning the return to the church after it was deemed safe. At the time of his death, he was in the midst of a major renovation project for the church.
In April 2015, Pastor Hills was elected as the Moderator of the Union District Baptist Association of Oregon, where he served for four years. He also served as First Vice President of the General Baptist Convention of the Northwest.
Late in the night on April 25th, 2023, the Lord called, and Pastor Hills answered, and joined his earthly father, Reverend James Walter Hills, in Heavenly reign. He preached his last sermon at New Hope on Sunday, April 23rd 2023, from Jeremiah 18:1-4, “Marred, So He Made It Again”.
James was preceded in death by his father, Reverend James Walter Hills.
James leaves to cherish his memory his children, Jaliyah Cherice Hills and James Walter “Tripp” Hills III; his mother, Minister Wilma Hills; siblings, Renitta Hills and James Wesley (Gavonia) Hills II; and a host of family members and friends throughout the United States.