Kathy Hillman, a leader in several spheres of Texas Baptist life, will be nominated for first vice president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas during the BGCT annual meeting this summer.
Hillman, the convention’s current second vice president, was president of Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas from 2000 to 2004 and served on numerous convention committees.
She has served in a variety of faculty and staff positions at BGCT-affiliated Baylor University since 1976, including associate professor and director of special collections for the central university libraries since 2008. She also is director of the library and archives for the Keston Center for Religion, Politics & Society at Baylor.
Dennis W. Young, pastor of Missouri City Baptist Church in Missouri City, announced he will nominate Hillman for first vice president when the convention meets in San Antonio, July 14-17.
Hillman possesses four traits—adaptability, missions-mindedness, love for BGCT institutions and leadership skills—that qualify her to take a step up on Texas Baptists’ leadership ladder, Young said.
“One of the things that is outstanding about Kathy is her ability to adapt to any size or type of congregation,” he noted. For example, she grew up in First Baptist Church of Eldorado, a West Texas congregation that averaged about 125 people in Sunday school, but she’s now an active member of Columbus Avenue Baptist Church in Waco, a Central Texas congregation with about 1,000 attenders each week.
“I’m looking at her adaptation skills—something that’s very necessary,” he said.
Hillman also possesses a lifelong commitment to missions, Young added.
“She’s been a very good missionary,” he said, citing her service as a collegiate summer missionary, her involvement in mission trips and her extensive travels and engagement in missions as a leader of Texas WMU.
A vignette from Hillman’s childhood illustrates her depth of concern for missions, Young said. At First Baptist in Eldorado, she was the only member of Girls Auxiliary, the Baptist missions organization for girls. So, she attended the GA program at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, an African-American congregation.
“She didn’t look at color, but she looked at missions and doing the Lord’s work,” Young noted. “That’s major.”
Hillman’s alignment with Texas Baptist institutions is a theme of her life, he added.
She completed undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Baylor. Her great-grandmother, both grandfathers, both parents and two of her children all attended Baylor, and another grandmother and a child attended Howard Payne University, also a Texas Baptist school, he reported.
Noting he has served on several BGCT committees with Hillman, Young said: “I’ve always been moved by her passion and her commitment and her leadership skills. Each time I was involved with her, she brought so much to the table. Administratively, she has a very good skill set.
“She’s a servant leader. She loves the Lord. She loves people. And she’s always had that drive to win souls for God’s kingdom.”
Because the 2013 BGCT annual meeting will be held in mid-summer, less than nine months after the 2012 annual meeting, Hillman felt her term as second vice president was too short to accomplish all that she wanted to achieve.
“I feel there are a lot of other things I can do—more people I would like to meet, more churches I would like to go visit,” she said.
In particular, Hillman said, she hopes to encourage increased lay involvement in Texas Baptist denominational life, as well as greater involvement by the rising generation of young pastors and by ministers’ spouses.
Hillman also voiced the desire to support BGCT Executive Director David Hardage.
“Missions and evangelism seem married in his vision. While some have treated them separately, I’ve always seen them as very closely related,” she said.
She also wants to help reinforce and communicate what she sees as a key message Hardage emphasizes: “The BGCT exists to serve churches, not the other way around.”
Hillman expressed her appreciation for “the breadth and depth of who Texas Baptists are.”
She has served on the executive council and executive board of Waco Regional Baptist Association, and she was elected the association’s first female vice moderator in 2008-2009 and its first female moderator in 2009-2011.
Hillman has chaired the BGCT Committee to Nominate Executive Board Members and its Committee on Order of Business. She also served on the BGCT Executive Board.
She and her husband, John, have three adult children and two grandsons.