Dr. Lynn Hiles has been around preachers and churches for a large portion of his life. The Morgan County native is the son of Jack and Shirley Hiles, who have led the local Word of Deliverance church on Winchester Grade Road since 1977. His sister is the Associate Pastor of that church. His wife's father was an evangelist, as is Hiles' brother. His two sons are already following in that same path.
But even though the life of an evangelist is one he knows well, Hiles himself was surprised when his ministry led him to a dinner with President Bush last month.
The opportunity to dine with the Commander in Chief came when a doctor friend from Tennessee chose Hiles and his wife Joyce to be his guests at the Republican Congressional Committee event in Washington, D.C.
And if eating in the same room with President Bush was a momentous occasion, autographing his second book for the President was the topper.
"I never would have ever dreamed that I would have signed a book for the President," Hiles said.
The book – The Revelation of Jesus Christ – was published this year by Destiny Image Publishers. Hiles' second book, he calls it an "open letter to the church" based on the Book of Revelations.
The publishers, interested in established writers, approached Hiles about writing a book. He had written extensively about the Book of Revelations, so Hiles put his energy into developing a "fresh view" of that Biblical subject. He has a contract with Destiny Image for two more books.
"I'm taking a bit of a breather. A book about Revelations will kind of be controversial. People will either love it or hate it," said Hiles.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ is available at major book outlets, like Books a Million, and from online book sites. Hiles' first book, published in 1993, was God's Beauty and the Beast.
"I get on an airplane every other week," Hiles said of his mobile ministry.
He is known in evangelical circles for his dynamic preaching style, which he lends to the conferences and revivals he visits year-round.
After graduating from Berkeley Springs High School, Hiles earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Florida Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate from Vineyard Harvester Bible College.
He's been a full-time traveling evangelist for 29 years, and that work has taken him to all but a few states and several other countries. Other than working briefly for the sand mine in Berkeley Springs, preaching is the work he's always pursued.
That work has included a primetime talk show in Woodstock, Va. as well as the conferences and revivals at which he regularly appears. His ministry has a website that features tapes and videos of his appearances, as well as a schedule of where he'll preach next. The invitations to preach come in all the time, he said.
"People hear you and they want you to come," he said.
"It's both exciting and tiring," said Hiles of his travel schedule. When he's not actively preaching, he oversees several churches and offers guidance for younger ministers. He himself was shepherded into the world of traveling ministry by his wife's father before the couple got married.
"I feel like I've been called to do that," Hiles said. He's had many offers to pastor particular churches here and there, but said traveling ministry is what he's meant to do.
"You may see me preach one week to thirty or forty people. The next week, it'll be to four or five thousand," he said.
Hiles, who will be 50 this fall, doesn't anticipate slowing down anytime soon. Certainly not now that his ministry has led him to a book deal and a Presidential dinner. Even with all that excitement, though, Hiles remains focused on spreading one basic but big idea:
"My message is about loving people where they're at, and letting God change them," he said.