spotlight-category: Social Sciences

Tim Chilton ’97

Alumnus developed heart for ministry while a student at Gardner-Webb

“It was at Gardner-Webb that I met people who wept over the lostness of the world.”

While a student at Gardner-Webb University in the late 1990s, Tim Chilton discovered his heart for ministry. Now, he and his wife, Holly, are nurses who serve with a non-profit in Taiwan.

“It was at Gardner-Webb that I met people who wept over the lostness of the world,” reflected Chilton, a 1997 alumnus. “During that time, the Lord opened my eyes more to how big the world is and how much of it does not know Jesus.”

As a freshman, he took a mission trip to Puerto Rico, and realized his passion for helping others. Between his junior and senior years at GWU, he worked in Africa. A history major, he minored in Christian history and thought. His Gardner-Webb religion professors challenged him to examine his beliefs and make them his own. “I really had to think through more about what I believe,” he observed. “As you confront atheism, ancestor worship or Buddhism, you need to know why you believe what you believe.”

He also appreciated the close-knit atmosphere on the GWU campus. “The staff and faculty were so friendly, and they truly cared about me,” Chilton affirmed. “I ate in professors’ homes, and I had prayer time with janitors. Some of my classmates were like ‘iron sharpening iron’ (Proverbs 27:17) trying to help me in my walk with Christ.”

After graduation, Chilton stayed at Gardner-Webb and worked as an admissions counselor. By the end of his second year, he was ready for a new challenge. He had job interviews in Ohio and Wyoming, but then a friend emailed him information about teaching in China.

He had never thought about living and working in China, but this was a chance for him to serve overseas and follow his passion for ministry. He taught a year in China, came back to teach in North Carolina for a year, and then spent another year teaching in China.

At the end of that year—still thinking about ways he could serve around the world—he decided to pursue a nursing degree and worked as a nurse for nine years. In 2015, he and his wife and four children moved to Asia and later transferred to Taiwan, where they help international workers obtain healthcare and are also involved in local ministry.

“Our job is trying to keep our workers healthy, so that they can keep spreading the love of Jesus,” Chilton related. “While doing our job, we are also trying to reach into the community by building relationships with folks and either sharing the gospel with them or encouraging them in their current walk with the Lord.”

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