Stories

Katie + Ethan Hightower

Introducing the Hightowers

The Study Center's new Directors of Undergraduate Ministry share their story of marriage, ministry, and trusting in the Lord's sovereignty. 

Before God brought Ethan and Katie Hightower together at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA, he was at work to fan into flame a desire in each of their hearts for serving college students.

When she was just fifteen years old, God called Katie to participate in a youth group missions trip to Mexico to help build a house for a local family in need. The sermons from that week helped Katie not only come to terms with but fully embrace the fact that she was a bald teenage girl. “I had been diagnosed with alopecia when I was in eighth grade and [had been] wearing wigs for two years,” Katie reflects, “but since that trip to Mexico, God has freed me from the shame and insecurity of being bald.”

Since then, Katie has been on a path toward full-time ministry. In addition to earning a B.A. in Religious Studies with a minor in Biblical Languages from Westmont College in 2015 and an M. Div. from Gordon-Conwell this past May, Katie spent two years as an R.A. at Westmont College, participating in hands-on Christian ministry. “I loved coming alongside students as they transitioned to college,” she says, “helping them learn to handle their newfound freedom and walking with them through a period of identity-seeking and gaining independence.” Through this experience and others, the Lord has nurtured in Katie a passion for relational ministry and close discipleship.

Her husband and now co-worker, Ethan, shares her heart for discipleship. In his last two years at Auburn University, Ethan became heavily involved in the Wesley Foundation, where he was discipled and in turn discipled younger college students. During his last year of college, he served as the Assistant Student Pastor of two area churches.

After graduating from Auburn with a degree in English, Ethan taught English as a Second Language at Troy University. There he enjoyed the unique opportunity to befriend and share the gospel with his students, a majority of whom came from countries across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Looking back, Ethan reflects that he “worked hard to learn about the reliability of the Bible and the goodness of Christianity” for the sake of his students and co-workers alike.

As they reflect on their life together and their ministry as a married couple, Ethan and Katie point to the sovereignty of the Lord’s hand over their lives. As Ethan puts it, “we desire to walk with college students as they navigate the diverse perspectives that can be found in college. We are passionate about building bridges across dividing lines through the gospel. We believe that college students have amazing potential and can contribute so much to the Church.”

Join us in thanking the Lord as the Study Center welcomes Ethan and Katie Hightower, with their passion for the gospel and their calling to pursue college students, to be our new Directors of Undergraduate Ministry.