This semester, we continue to spotlight Western Seminary’s faculty members. Today, we feature Dr. Bev Hislop, Professor of Pastoral Care.
Transformed: Tell us a little bit about your background.
Dr. Hislop: I was born in South Bend, Indiana. My mother, a fairly new believer, led me to Christ when I was a young girl. She had such a vibrant love for her Savior because of the stark difference he made in her life.
My dad’s family was primarily involved in farming. They were building a house for us on the huge farm in Knox, Indiana. However, before the move could take place, a medical doctor recommended we move to a warmer climate for the sake of my brother’s chronic illness. So we moved to central Florida, where I went to school grades one through twelve, and found myself in multiple leadership roles each year. After graduation I went to a Bible college in Chicago, then more college back in central Florida.
On one of the many summers I spent counseling and leading at youth camp, I met a young man named Jim who was raised in Scotland and Canada, and was attending college in Florida. One and a half years later, we married and lived at the camp. The military draft took us to Germany, for a life changing two-plus year experience. Jim was asked to “pastor” the English speaking evangelical church in Karlsruhe, and this would propel me even further into God’s plan for me to minister to women.
After this, my involvement in church and parachurch ministries on both coasts of the United States greatly increased. Although I initially struggled with not feeling like I was a “leader,” I found myself vision-casting, starting, and accelerating ministries for women. In more than one environment, I was actively teaching the Bible, encouraging women, building leadership teams, and extending pastoral care to women. There was little training or material available for women’s ministry at the time, thus I was a major contributing author to one of the first books on the topic.
Later I wrote two more books, Shepherding a Woman’s Heart and Shepherding Women in Pain, for Moody Publishers. My education included a D. Min. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Today one of my greatest joys is spending time with our married daughter and husband (in Gresham, Oregon) and son and his wife (in Santa Barbara, California) and our six grandkids. We have enjoyed multiple road trips down the East Coast (visiting historical sites and family) with each grandchild.
Transformed: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Dr. Hislop: I wanted to be Perry Mason’s secretary . . . but decided since that role was already taken, I’d be a musician or a teacher.
Transformed: What are a few things that we would be surprised to know about you?
Dr. Hislop: In college I played basketball (though I’m only five-foot, four-inches, I actually scored baskets for our team), and helped start a cheerleading team. I enjoyed many years playing piano and organ at church worship services. I’ve traveled to 49 out of 50 states, and am planning to visit that last one this summer.
Transformed: Tell us some of your listening interests?
Dr. Hislop: I still love hearing Elvis Presley’s voice. However, today I enjoy listening to Jason Gray and the “Matts” – Matt Maher, Matt Redman, and Matthew West. Every summer a friend and I attend the Chamber Music Concerts at Reed College, along with Christmas concerts in downtown Portland. Also, I love listening to our son’s original music, plus attending our granddaughter’s violin and choral concerts.
Transformed: What are you reading right now?
Dr. Hislop: I am currently reading Walking with God through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller, Supersurvivors by Feldman and Kravetz, Malestrom by Carolyn Custis James, Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership by Ruth Haley Barton, and Soul Keeping, Caring for the Most Important Part of You by John Ortberg.
I just finished reading The Imperfect Pastor: Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus by Zach Eswine, and The Vulnerable Pastor: How Human Limitations Empower our Ministry by Mandy Smith.
Transformed: What, ideally, should be the relationship between the seminary and the church?
Dr. Hislop: Seminary can provide more extensive training (than the church can) in a variety of disciplines. When church leadership sees this potential partnership, it greatly impacts their ministry effectiveness.
I so appreciate the fact that Western Seminary has initiated a Pastoral Care for Women Track, plus other training options for women. Women need the training, alongside men, for more effective ministry in church, non-profits, and the marketplace.
Transformed: What does the church need more of?
Dr. Hislop: Since over fifty percent of most churches are comprised of women, it could be more impactful to have participation by women more visible. A female perspective integrated into messages and worship has the potential to draw more women into the heart of gospel transformation.
Transformed: Do you have a favorite scholar, or someone whose work has inspired you?
Dr. Hislop: There were few women in similar roles when I began twenty years ago. My two mentors teaching in seminary settings were Drs. Pam Reeve and Alice Mathews. Pam was a professor who saw in me (her student) more than I ever saw in myself. She not only encouraged me on a personal level, but also provided opportunities to teach and shepherd other women. Alice was my advisor in my doctoral program, and she helped expand my research, writing, and biblical teaching.
Transformed: What is one thing you wish people knew about the life of a seminary faculty member?
Dr. Hislop: The life of a seminary faculty member can be very full and challenging. Yet, every minute of the output is worth seeing a student thrive in her or his relationship with Christ and influence the world. We care deeply for each student and long to see each one become all that God designed her or him to be! That’s what motivates me each day.
Transformed: What makes for an ideal student?
Dr. Hislop: An ideal student is teachable, wants to grow in her relationship with Jesus Christ, and live out God’s design on her life. Seminary can be very challenging, time consuming, and even feel overwhelming. Yet, if the student can keep “the main thing, the main thing,” she will gain more than she may even imagine.
Transformed: What is one piece of advice that you would give to incoming seminarians?
Dr. Hislop: Keep your focus on your relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, ask friends to pray for you daily during your seminary studies, and perhaps even have them ask you direct questions regarding the health of your soul.
Transformed: Is there anything else that we should know about you, or projects that you are currently involved in?
Dr. Hislop: I continue working on my blog www.shepherdingwomen.com. In addition, I have some new writing ideas that I anticipate pursuing this summer.