Ask B.J. Mills what’s different about his life now that he knows Jesus, and he laughs — he laughs big.
“Everything,” he said. “Everything looks different. I look at the sunshine and say, ‘Thank You, Jesus,’ and I get up in the morning and don’t take that breath for granted.”
When Mills was 23, he went to jail for manufacturing crystal meth. Four years later, he walked into a revival at First Baptist Church, Detroit, where guest speaker Tim Meherg was preaching about how Jesus could set people free — really free. He said he remembers it like it was yesterday.
“He was preaching about Someone who loved me no matter where I had been or what I had done,” Mills said. “I fell under conviction that night and went to the altar and went to the Lord. No longer did I live under that weight of what I’d done.”
Surrendering to ministry
That was in 2007, and ever since, “God has done nothing but manifest Himself in my life in a great way,” Mills said. He started doing anything he could to serve at his church, from cleaning the toilets to mowing the grass. Then in 2010, he surrendered to pastoral ministry, studied at North Mississippi Baptist Bible Institute and became pastor of Union Chapel Baptist Church, Beaverton.
And he started walking back down the road where he’d been, but this time with a purpose. He got involved in jail ministry, and he started helping people meet Jesus and find a new life.
‘Love like Christ’
“Our church is made up of people from broken lives and the jail ministry,” Mills said. “We want to reach out and love like Christ does. We’ve seen a lot of souls saved; a lot of people come to know Christ.”
And his wife, Brandy, and 16-year-old daughter, Kayleigh, are a big part of that ministry. The couple just celebrated their 20th anniversary, and all three go to revivals and serve in the community together.
“God didn’t only restore me; He restored my wife and my daughter,” Mills said.
The three live in a double-wide trailer on a hill they call Mills Hill, a hill with a cross prominently displayed. It’s their sanctuary, he said, and they want to help others find theirs too.
“Jesus changed my life completely, and my life is His,” Mills said. “If I could say anything, it’s this — God can use anybody. It doesn’t matter their past. He’ll meet you right where you are.”