Pastor Steve Ayers, who started Hillvue Heights Church in Kentucky with 30 members in 1991, has now baptized 10,000 people and has thousands of members who attend worship services every week.
The Southern Baptist megachurch in Bowling Green is celebrating the milestone of "10,000 lives changed forever by Jesus at Hillvue," according to its Facebook page.
"In October 1994, we visited Hillvue's to witness our Son, Jeff's baptism and our lives were changed," reads a comment by a church member. "In 1996, I was blessed to be one of those 10,000 which is not a number but one with a changed life. Praying that God will continue to bless Hillvue."
"It is such a wonderful blessing from God to have such a wonderful place to go to church and hear the word of God," reads a comment by another member. "Pastor Steve Ayers is an amazing man to deliver that word. You can feel the wonderful love of the church when you walk in the door. 10,000 baptisms that's amazing so happy I was part of that today."
Speaking to Baptist Press, the pastor said 10,000 baptisms is just the beginning. "I think we have a Great Awakening at Hillvue yet to come," he was quoted as saying. "This is the beginning. It's crazy. I'm more excited now than when I first arrived here. It's amazing to watch people come to Christ. It never gets old."
Hillvue's mission is "to connect people in a relationship with Jesus through the cross and resurrection, to a community of faith, and to the truths of Jesus that set us free." The church adds, "These connections lead us to experience healing and to develop into players in God's mission."
"Church renewal focused on being a Jesus-centered community is the founding
principle" Ayers teaches, the church says on its website, adding that he believes that "the Church is hope for the world today."
An adjunct professor at Campbellsville University in Kentucky, Pastor Ayers "has found that churches grow when Jesus is the central focus," the website adds. "In the past 12 years, he has experienced Jesus leading a church from under 100 people to several thousand experiencing the transforming power of Jesus in their lives on a weekly basis … Pastor Ayers believes God has a place for everyone, and the function of ministry is to guide people to that place."
The pastor has a Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Communication from Western Kentucky University, a Master of Divinity at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Drew University.