Zema W. Hill,founder and Pastor of Hills Tabernacle PB Church was a faithful and devoted minister, a funeral-home owner, and a notable leader in Afro-American Nashville. He was born in Franklin County, in the community of Asia near Winchester, Tennessee, on April 2, 1891. In 1919, a house of worship was dedicated at Overton and Division streets. Elder A. M. Bedford, the moderator of the Cumberland River Association of the Order of the Primitive Baptist Church, dedicated the building as Hills Tabernacle. Elder Zema Hill faithfully served the congregation for thirty years. Zema W. Hill died on February 5, 1970, after 17 years of illness. A year before his death, Hills Tabernacle was rebuilt.
Robert L. Crocker (1994-Present) was born and baptized into the body of Christ in Sussex County, Virginia. His spiritual development began at Oak Grove Baptist Church in the same county. Robert Crocker began a twenty-year career in the United States Navy in June 1964, immediately after graduating from Carver High School in Newport News, Virginia. He completed his naval career at the Vanderbilt Naval Reserve Officers Training Unit in Nashville, Tennessee.
Upon arrival in Nashville the Crocker family united with the Ephesian Primitive Baptist Church under the pastorate of Dr. J. L. Fitzgerald. In August of 1991, Robert answered the call to the ministry. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Tennessee State University in May 1986; thirteen years after first being call by God while serving as Lay Leader at sea on board a nuclear powered submarine.
Since entering the ministry of proclaiming God’s word, Elder Crocker has received a post graduate degree from American Baptist Theological Seminary, Nashville, Tennessee. He is currently in his twentieth year as Pastor of the Hills Tabernacle Primitive Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee. He has served three years as Vice-Moderator of Cumberland Association, and more than ten years as President of the Sunday School Convention of Cumberland Association. In the National Primitive Baptist Convention, Elder Crocker is a five-year veteran of the instructor staff of the G. W. Gibson School of Religion, in the Church School Congress where he teaches Primitive Baptist Doctrine and Orientation. He is also General Secretary of the National Primitive Baptist Convention.
Elder Crocker is married to Matilda Crocker. He has four adult children: Rosalyn, Christopher, Rochelle and Robert Cornelius. Christopher Crocker strives to enhance theological and doctrinal awareness. Christopher and his wife Melissa have blessed Elder and Mother Crocker with three magnificent grandchildren: Alexandria, Brandon and Elijah
Elder Crocker has a personal goal to enhance the doctrinal understanding of his church, Sunday School convention, association, tri-state and national conventioneers. His favorite greeting when standing to proclaim the word is: "To God be the Glory, for the Great Things He has done." His favorite hymns are "How Great Thou Are, Great is Thy Faithfulness, and How Firm A Foundation" (Elder T. W. Samuels is responsible for Elder Crocker's love for the third hymn).