Master Hilton Rawls III began preaching at only 7 years old. (Photo by Twitter/HiltonRawls3)

By Marnita Coleman,
Special to the AFRO

Just in case you haven’t heard, there is a new preacher on the circuit, who has earned the respect of fellow clergy from around the country. A third-generation preacher, Master Hilton Rawls III, has been seated at the table amongst renowned messengers of our time. With some skill under his belt, that is, only seven years of active spiritual oration—this dynamic preacher just turned 12 on Dec. 12, 2022, which is a significant benchmark.

According to biblical numerology, the number 12 appears 187 times in the Bible with 22 occurrences in the Book of Revelation. It denotes wholeness and completeness and speaks to God’s power and authority. In Luke 2:41-52, Jesus spoke in the temple at age 12, and the leaders of that day were amazed at his wisdom, as well. Rawls, similarly, is no ordinary child. 

The youth revivalist fits comfortably also with other history makers of the Bible: the boy Samuel, who at 11 was called to duty as a prophet and Josiah, who was named King of Jerusalem at age 8. As a comparison, Dorothy Height, civil rights and women’s rights activist, stated that she first met world-changer Martin Luther King, Jr., when he was 15, by introduction from the Rev. Ralph Abernathy Sr., a civil rights activist.

The Rev. C Jr., father of our esteemed, young preacher, stated that what you put in your child, you get out. He and his wife “put Jesus in everything Hilton did, basketball and everything. Children copy what they see, and he’ll tell you that in a minute.”

Taught the scriptures early on by his parents, Rawls developed an appetite for the Word of God and learned passages of scripture at the age of 3. Rev. Rawls stated that his son spent much time engrossed in videos of sermons, copying the preaching styles of his father and grandfather. At age 3, Rawls told his father that he was going to change the world. By the time he was 4, Rawls had memorized Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Self-titled “the Bishop Apostle,”  Rawls’ dream is to win souls for God’s kingdom. 

“Before I could talk I always loved preaching,” he said. “I come from a family of preachers and ministers. In other words, I am a part of a priesthood. My grandfather is a bishop, my father is a pastor, and all my uncles and aunties are in ministry. I am glad to be a part of a holy legacy.”

Interestingly, his father says Rawls is clueless about his popularity because he and his wife rarely allow him on social media and when he is permitted, the usage is limited. For the record, however, his videos on TikTok have been viewed over 6 billion times, and millions on Instagram and other social media platforms. Rawls’ fanbase is widespread from Canada to California, Texas, Connecticut and all states in between. His fame is even gaining momentum in Nigeria. 

Rawls has had prestigious engagements, has been featured in documentaries, appeared in Netflix’s “Seven Seconds” staring actress Regina King, received awards and continues to keep an active schedule. His first children’s book will be published this year along with daily inspirational videos.

Rawls advises parents: “If you allow your children to listen to negative music, negative people, negative television, then you will reap a harvest from what you sow. But, if you give your children love, affirmation, positive experiences, and last but not least, teach them how to love God, you’ll set them on a path to have their own relationship with God.”

Master Hilton Rawls III is one to watch in 2023!

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