About the Author
The following are insights about the author of the materials available through this website - to help you know him as we do.
James Hall is the son of missionaries John and Cuba Hall, with whom he spent 8 1/2 years of his early boyhood and youth in Burkina Faso, West Africa. He attended public high school in the U.S., was active in sports and started a Youth for Christ club. He attended the University of Missouri on a football scholarship, met his future wife Betty, helped start a Chi Alpha campus fellowship and a Fellowship of Christian Athletes, married Betty, and received a BA in English Literature.
After receiving a Master of Divinity from Covenant Seminary (St. Louis) in 1970, Jim served as Chi Alpha Director for the Illinois District Assemblies of God (6 1/2 years) and served as senior pastor of the Urbana (Illinois) Assembly of God (9 1/2 years). After several teaching trips to Singapore, Jim and family spent a year there on the pastoral staff of Calvary Charismatic Centre (A/G), where he began writing materials for discipling new Christians. Back in the U.S., Jim self-published his Harvester's Handbook and began devoting full time to resourcing and training churches to empower members for one-to-one witness and discipling of new believers. In 1992, he was approved to pursue his ministry nationwide as an AG US missionary.
Around this time, Rev. Charles Hackett, newly elected National Director of US Missions, launched his vision to reach America's 39 metropolitan centers with populations of one million or more. He asked Jim to compose a plan for a training arm of "Invasion 39" that was named "Urban Bible Training Centers". The goal was to enlist urban pastors to provide in-service training for their lay leaders that in two years could meet requirements for license-level credentials. Pastors provided mentoring and took turns leading discussion-based classes using Berean School of the Bible curriculum. Jim traveled around the nation for 20 years presenting this plan.
The UBTC vision resonated with many urban pastors, and eventually enrolled 4,000+ students in 45 cities and towns nationwide. Around 300 received license-level credentials. As Jim traveled, he was able to visit many of the UBTC classes and rejoiced greatly at the quality and fruitfulness of the equipping that was taking place. Only heaven will reveal the impact of the faithfulness and diligence of the local pastors raising up their members to serve together under the Great Commission! Several UBTCs continue to operate, but most have now been replaced by District Schools of Ministry. For 27 years Jim has also continued his instruction on relational evangelism and discipling new believers – and remains under full-time AG US Missions appointment.
In recent years, Jim upgraded his Harvester's Handbook manual and renamed it THRIVE – A Handbook for New Christians. The Halls have placed thousands of workbooks in the hands of harvest-laborers across the U.S. and other countries – with untold numbers who after being discipled have in turn discipled others who in turn disciple others... Encouraging testimonies continue to come in!
Jim and Betty have now been married for 50 years, and have two adult children, Julie and Joshua. The family moved to Springfield, Missouri, in 1989 and lived there for 25 years while Jim traveled. In 2014 Jim, Betty, and Joshua all ended up in St. Louis where their daughter Julie, her husband Paul Green, and three amazing grand kids were already living.
So that is our story, and we're sticking to it – with plenty of praise to our Lord for His faithful guidance and provision that continues to the present and will continue forever!! And just to be clear, JIM IS NOT RETIRED! To schedule him for ministry, email Jim at [email protected].
A note from Jim's wife, Betty:
Prior to Jim stepping out in faith in training ministry, he had numerous prophecies given over the years to confirm that God would use him and his area of ministry around the world. Doors have opened to his teaching and to the materials he has written all across the U.S and in countries around the world. His discipleship material is currently in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Bulgarian, German, Russian, Chinese, Macedonian – and in two African languages. His heart's cry has always been for people, and that they would come to know God in a personal way and receive the promise of Eternal Life. He has taken so many steps of faith to make this ministry possible because he truly has a mandate from the Lord to train and equip people in personal evangelism and discipleship.
The nature of his calling has required a lot of personal sacrifice and traveling many miles, but we all are so aware of his calling and the intensity of his mission. I am willing to spend some days apart, pack suitcases over and over again, and run the office and home front while he is gone. This enables me to share in the work of the ministry to enable him to go.
It has been my privilege and joy to love, to be married to, and to be loved by him for 50 years. He has not only been my husband and the wonderful father of our two children, but he is my best friend, and has been a pastor and counselor to me as well. He has been an example to me of Christ's likeness in good times, and equally in times of sorrow, disappointment, and when misunderstood by others.
Some of his common expressions are "This didn't take God by surprise", "God is our source", and "Remember, God keeps the books!" His faith and encouragement have helped me to know God better and to grow more deeply in Him.
God has given him experiences in many of life's situations and across all age groups. Even when his faith has been tested, I have seen him stand firm and NEVER let his faith waver. Our son was born with a major heart defect which led to 8 surgeries and a heart transplant at age 17, followed by lung cancer from the transplant medication 4 months later. Through all this, my husband stood firm and we drew strength from the Lord through each other. He knows pain and deep heartache, but he has never let it rob his belief in Jesus Christ and His mighty power. His heart's desire and passion is that everyone would share in the knowledge and experience of knowing Christ first hand.
He lives what he preaches and what he writes. He loves greatly and he is loved greatly by his family and friends. I can assure you that all of the time and effort that goes into his writing and teaching ministry, as well as the ministry of this website, is not for personal gain. His goal is for Jesus Christ to be lifted up so that as many as possible would come to know Him as Savior and Lord.Betty Hall
A note from Jim & Betty's son, Joshua:
The name "Christian" means "Christ-like." Although none of us could ever obtain Christ's perfection, He longs for each one of us to strive for it. My dad is not perfect, as no man is, but he gives it his all each day. For as long as I can remember, I seemed to almost never wake up before my dad. In the morning he was always found to be pacing the kitchen floor in prayer or sitting at the table studying his Bible. I see my dad and know the way that he is and the way that he lives, but it takes stepping back to reflect on those ways to realize the humility and honor within them.
James Hall is a man who seems indifferent to the status of any person. I have seen him time and again take time out of his days to chat with a stranger or lend a helping hand to one who needs it. I have stayed at church till everyone has left because my dad took time for everyone who needed a listening ear. I have seen him witness to doctors, nurses, technicians, custodians, and discouraged parents during my time spent in hospitals battling a heart problem I was born with. I have sat up late at night talking with him about life, death, God and many other things. I have looked up from a hospital bed to see a concerned, yet hopeful face pray for me before entering surgery. And I don't believe I have ever seen another man so committed to his wife. His endless humility and patience have served as an example for me while growing up and have allowed him to follow a certain calling so few have previously taken.
A friend of mine once had a conversation with my dad, and when my dad left the room my friend turned to me with sincerity and said, "I think he is the kindest man I've ever known." It has seemed to me that my dad has had an unspoken motto in life: "To give until I have nothing left to give, and when I am empty-handed, the Lord will provide." Jesus taught us to be servants to all. I am thankful for a dad who has learned to heed that calling.
A Note From Julie, James & Betty's Daughter:
Many people know my dad as a preacher or teacher, and they know the message he preaches about. But what they don't know is the man behind the message. They don't know that he really does practice what he preaches - that he does apply to his own life the things he teaches to others.
My dad is a man who is very devoted to his family. He has been a quality example of what a husband and father should be, and has given my brother and me an example of how we should live and what to look for in a mate.
His occupation has often meant that there were a lot of people depending on him, looking to him for advice, or just needing his support. Yet he always made sure that we knew we were his first priority. He always had time for his family. When we were growing up he was always there for the everyday ordinary things, like dragging me out of bed every morning, making me drink my orange juice with my breakfast, and then taking my brother and I to school. But he also spent a lot of special time with us. Whether he was making his specialty pancakes on Saturday morning, playing basketball with us in the front yard, or reading us Bible stories before bed, our childhood was very special because of the time he spent with us. Even though a lot of it was merely everyday, ordinary stuff, he was not so caught up in his work that he had no time for his kids, and he really showed how much he loved us. Through these activities and many others, he was lovingly instilling in us family values, a sense of priorities, and principles that we would need for meeting the challenges of life.
Throughout the years, he has always been there beside us - helping us, guiding us and loving us. Any successes we have achieved have been due in part to him standing behind us. I am fortunate to call him my dad.