Hill settles down on 40 acres in South Alabama

Note: "Together in the Harvest Ministries" (Steve Hill) and "Partners in Revival" (John Kilpatrick) ministries are now both members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

The Pensacola News Journal/November 18, 1997
By John W. Allman and Amie K. Streater

Pensacola -- Evangelist Steve Hill assures the audiences at Pensacola's Brownsville Revival that everything he makes from the revival goes into his nonprofit corporation, and not into his pocket.

Even the house that Hill, 43, and his wife Jeri live in is owned by his corporation, Together in the Harvest Ministries Inc., he emphasizes.

The only thing the couple owns on the 40 acres in Lillian, Ala., is the furniture in their house, he said in a recent interview.

Hill relocated his ministry to south Alabama in 1996.

So far, Hill's ministry has spent $887,931 on property and buildings in Lillian, including $429,931 in cash, for:

  • A remodeled farmhouse and 29 acres for $390,000. Hill has taken out a $290,000 mortgage on the land, for which he pays $1,726 monthly.

  • A main office building for $125,000. There is no mortgage on this property.

  • A missions/distribution center and nine acres for $209,700. Hill has an outstanding mortgage of $168,000, for which he pays $1,654 monthly.

  • A duplex for $131,603, which houses four female staff members. There is no mortgage on this building.

  • A barn converted into apartments for $31,628, which houses one male staff member. There is no mortgage on this building.

There is also a stable for Hill's two horses and a playground for his three children.

"This ministry is not rich," Hill told the News Journal. "I've never been into hifalutin' things."

According to an informal financial statement, released through Hill's attorney, Walter Chandler, the ministry spent $260,117 between Aug. 1, 1996, and Aug. 1, 1997, for eight fulltime staff, including Hill, and five part-time workers.

Of the staff, five full-time employees live on the property through a housing allowance included with their salary.

Hill said in the statement that he makes $78,000 annually, not including what he is paid for speaking engagements outside the revival and a percentage of royalties from his book sales.

The ministry's 1996 IRS return, however, lists $172,795 for staff salaries and benefits, including Hill's salary, which is listed at $82,374. Hill also got $34,000 from royalties and speaking engagements.

Neither Hill nor his attorney can say whether the IRS return is for the same time period August to August as the ministry's financial statement. It was received by the IRS on Aug. 19.

"I could be a millionaire right now," Hill said. "Personally, I could be a millionaire because of book sales and speaking engagements. Period. That's just the way it is. But everyone has to make choices in life."

Hill said he has a life insurance policy through the ministry to protect his family.

He said he plans for everything the homes, business and profits to be turned over to his friend, Jim Summers of Outreach Ministries of Alabama Inc., if Hill should die.

One concern Hill has is the accessibility of his ministry to motorists passing by. The property has an electric gate, but Hill said several people have wandered onto it on foot.

When he first arrived in Pensacola and realized the revival was not going to end overnight, Hill said, he had to move his family eight times to ensure their privacy.

Once, while staying at the Residence Inn, hotel employees alerted him to forming crowds, he said.

"People were trying to get into the hotel at 2 in the morning for prayer and things like that," Hill said.

"The whole idea of living in Pensacola with the attention we were getting was out of the question."

Hill lived for nine months in a house on Ono Island near Gulf Shores, Ala., that a friend allowed him to use.

Hill said he liked the security of the island with its guard-controlled access.

He said he would like some day to build a compound someplace similar in order to shelter his ministry from public scrutiny.

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