ROACH, Mo. -— Maintaining and growing the ministry’s impact are Jerry and Janet Hill’s goals in their new positions at Windermere Baptist Conference Center. The pair believes that building upon the past and focusing on God’s plan will ensure the center’s future.
“The task before Windermere’s staff is to remain faithful to our heritage while we are always seeking new ways to effectively share the gospel,” Hill said recently by email.
Windermere trustees named Hill as the new president and CEO and Janet Hill as vice president for ministry programming on Jan. 24. The pair assumed the posts on Jan. 28.
Hill served alongside former CEO Dan Bench for three and a half months to handle CEO-related tasks on an interim basis before Bench retired.
Both Hills emphasized their longtime commitment to the conference center’s purpose as the primary reason for jumping at the chance to work at Windermere. Hill has consulted on several projects at the center over the past 10 years and sees taking the helm as a natural fit. “The passion and vision of the board of trustees and staff is infectious,” he added.
Over her 32 years in ministry, Janet Hill brought lots of groups to the facility. “I have experienced firsthand the impact Windermere can have and am excited to be a part of this ministry,” she said.
For 11 years, Missouri Baptist Convention legal action has overshadowed some of Windermere’s ministry.
In 2002, the MBC sought to overturn changes the center, The Baptist Home, Word&Way, Missouri Baptist University and the Missouri Baptist Foundation had made to their governing documents to allow the entities to name their own trustees. The convention filed suit in Cole County against the five on Aug. 13, 2002. Although Windermere won in that case, the center is still embroiled in legal action the MBC filed against it in Camden County in November 2006. In that lawsuit, the convention seeks to regain control of the Windermere property.
While the couple recognizes the legal battle, they believe staffers can remain aloof from the friction.
“The Windermere staff has successfully avoided being distracted by the on-going litigation,” Hill said. “God has called us to something much bigger and much more important than that. We will continue to follow his guidance in the Windermere ministry.”
The Hills plan to concentrate on ministry, rather than lawsuits. “Windermere has the potential of reaching even more individuals and families and assisting local churches in their ministries,” Janet Hill said by email. “Those of us on the Windermere staff are committed to being God’s instruments in this task.”
Still too new in the positions to discuss specific plans, the couple is focusing on program initiatives to assist the local church and to help families. The Hills also are looking at possible campus improvements and innovative ways to operate the ministry.
Trained as an attorney at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, Hill has worked primarily in business and consulting. He led or consulted with not-for-profit organizations for 16 years and worked in business and property management for 10 years. He most recently owned and operated Springfield, Mo.-based Modern Development Services.
Janet Hill grew up in Kansas City. For 11 years prior to accepting the Windermere post, she served as minister to families at University Heights Baptist Church in Springfield. She has led many training conferences in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma. She has written articles for several ministry publications and currently is a missions education curriculum writer.
Both Hills graduated from William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo., and attended Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Married 33 years, they have two sons, Adam, who practices law in Dallas, and Douglas, an attorney in Kansas City, and a daughter, JoEllen, a high school student. The Hills also have one grandchild.