MOBILE, Ala. (BP)–For Chance Hill, saddle-training horses is more than a hobby.
It’s become a mission.
The college sophomore demonstrates the training of a young horse before live audiences and relates it to the biblical process of discipleship.
Hill, a young man with a contagious smile and dusty cowboy boots, draws a crowd for host churches with only a young, untrained horse and a round pen.
“During a period of about two hours, I’ll work the horse trying to train it. I relate that to how we work with Christ” in learning to obey Him, said Hill, a University of Mobile business management sophomore from Satsuma, Ala.
As Hill demonstrates the 10-step training process, he explains to audiences how teaching a horse to submit to a rider can be symbolic of a person learning to submit to God.
“At the end, when I saddle the horse, I’ll ride the horse for a few minutes and then — it gets me every time — I lay the horse down. Usually there’s not a dry eye in the crowd,” he said. “When a horse lays down for you, he’s completely submitted to you. I’ll relate that to how we should fully submit to God and let Him take over.”
Though Hill has been around horses almost his entire life, he credits his ministry involvement to the encouragement of Paul Daily, founder of WildHorse Ministries, and Sammy Gilbreath, director of the office of evangelism for the Alabama State Board of Missions’ evangelism office. But when Daily and Gilbreath approached Hill about doing his own demonstration, the young rider was unsure how to respond.
“I’ve loved horses, and whatever I do, I want to do it for the Lord,” he said.
While Hill was preparing for his first demonstration in the spring, a horse reared up and landed on top of him.
“People that saw it said I was dead,” he recounted.
Miraculously, he escaped with only minor injuries. Shortly thereafter, he completed his first demonstration in Bessemer, Ala., in June.
Through the support of his father, Roy Hill, pastor of First Baptist Church in Satsuma, and his church family, the first demonstration was a success.
“My dad can sense when I’m struggling with what to say and he helps a lot,” Hill said.
Even through the excitement, he doesn’t forget the most important part of the presentation.
“At the end, after the horse is laid down, it leads into a time of invitation. We open up the round pen and I take the saddle off the horse and lay it down to serve as an altar.”
Explaining that the saddle serves as the central symbol of submission and service to God, Hill then invites members of the audience to come forward and submit their lives to Jesus Christ.
Such moments prove that an ordinary love for horses can become, for Hill, an extraordinary mission “to see people come to know the Lord.”
Amy Wright is a junior at the University of Mobile majoring in global business who works part-time in UM’s media relations office. For more information about Chance Hill’s horse-training presentations, contact Cindy Johnson of First Baptist Satsuma at 251-675-1280.