Bobby Hile, Senior Pastor

Grace Story

I was born and raised in Findlay, OH through my freshmen year in high school. I grew up in a dysfunctional family with an alcoholic father. At the age of 14, I started attending a local baptist church through a health textbook controversy in my public school. As a result of attending this church, I heard the truth about Jesus Christ, my sin, and the sacrifice He made on the cross. At that young age, I understood I was a sinner and in need of Christ’s forgiveness. I placed my faith in Christ and became His follower.

Shortly after trusting Christ, my parents divorced. We moved to Leipsic, OH prior to the start of my sophomore year when my mom remarried. I went to Cedarville University to study broadcasting. During my time at Cedarville, I served in a puppet ministry that eventually led me to two short-term missions trips to South Africa. I met my wife Sara on the first puppet team that went to South Africa. On the second trip to SA, I asked her to marry me on the beach of the Indian Ocean.

Sara and I were married in 1991 and then left for the mission field in South Africa as career missionaries in 1994. We spent 18 years on the field serving in youth ministry, church planting, theological education, and team building. All three of our children (Abigail, Andrew, and Christopher) were born in South Africa. We were content in our ministry there and planned to serve on the mission field until retirement.

In 2011, I received an email from Southgate saying they were looking for a senior pastor . They wanted to know if I would consider serving in that role (Southgate had supported our work in SA for about 14 years). I said, “no, thank you.” Five months later they asked again. Long story short, after much agonizing prayer and biblical counsel from trusted ministry partners, we determined that

God was at work in leading us to Southgate. We came on board in March of 2012.

We are praising God for the opportunity to serve in Springfield with the dear folks who make Southgate their church home. We are excited about what the future holds.

I enjoy spending time with my wife and children and our dog Tozer. We like to hang out together. I am also a big sports fan. I love college football and college basketball the most.

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"I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service"
— 1 Timothy 1:12