Ronny Hinson grew up in a home full of music. Folks from his little coastal hometown of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County, California, knew that the Hinson family had something special with their singing, but God knew just how far their songs would go and how many hearts would be changed by the message in them. Ronny Hinson’s songwriting talents grew from this special musical beginning and have touched countless lives over the 48 years of his music career. Today Ronny writes music, instructs songwriters, and travels to sing and preach Biblical truths. No matter what he is doing, though, Ronny knows that there is one thread that weaves the many strings of his efforts into one lifeline: and that is the call to change lives for Christ.
Ronny recalls the special day that his family sang together for the first time. “All of my siblings and I grew up singing in my father’s little storefront church and in revival meetings that he would conduct. We would always sing as soloists or we’d do a duet, but never all together. It was on December 12, 1967, that we sang beyond the walls of our father’s church as the group that the people came to know. It happened in a revival meeting in a little Church of God in Freedom, California, through great efforts of arm-twisting! We sang the old song that The Goodman family made famous called ‘The Eyes of Jesus.’ We were all familiar with the words and the melody but never had sung it together in four-part harmony. Our singing was so well-received that night and we discovered what God already knew: that we were called to sing. We were invited to sing at another church about 40 miles away two weeks later where we received our first love offering. It was the grand sum of five dollars. Being siblings, we didn’t trust each other so we split it four ways outside on the church sidewalk. A buck and a quarter apiece!”
The Hinsons’ popularity began to grow and the group eventually traveled all over the country, receiving many awards, including the Dove Award and the Singing News Fan Award for the 1972 Song of the Year, “The Lighthouse,” which was written by Ronny. In later years, the group also won Singing News Fan Awards for the song “He Pilots My Ship” and for Favorite Group. The Hinsons were inducted into the Gospel Music Association’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Ronny’s songwriting played a large part in the career of The Hinsons, and it’s played an integral role in his spiritual life as well. “I know that relationships with God are built through prayer and reading the word and attending the house of the Lord, but when I write a song, I believe it’s an added dimension to my relationship with the Lord. When I’m doing all of these things and writing songs also, I am answering the call that God has placed on my life. Just like anyone who fulfills God’s purpose for their life, I am blessed all the way around because I am pleasing my Heavenly Father. That makes for a better relationship with Him and empowers me to bless others, which is His call to me as a Christian.”
With such a long-lasting career in an ever-changing music industry, Ronny has written many different types of songs, including Country Gospel, Southern Gospel, and Contemporary ones. “Hopefully my songs have improved because the writer has improved with the experience that 48 years of doing it has afforded me, along with the highs and lows and plateaus of everyday life that I apply as a Christian trying to overcome. No matter the tempo, melody, arrangement, or lyric, I have learned to take time with a song and not try to write it like I’m running to break a speed record! Not every song is instant. Not every song just flows out of the pen and I’ve learned that’s okay. Time spent waiting improves the song. There are many good paths from point A to point B in the writing of my songs, but only one best way. Although I don’t always find it, the search for it has honed my skills, improving my songs.”
Being the author of so many incredible songs, one has to wonder if Ronny has a song that stands out above the others. “Hands down, ‘The Lighthouse.’ Just about everybody in Gospel music has recorded it. It has received a lot of awards, but what really stands out is that the years it’s been out have allowed it to accumulate so many testimonies. Stories of how its message has been responsible for changing the lives of millions around the world. Truly it is an international song. To God be the glory! It still remains my personal favorite.”
No one can argue the success of Ronny Hinson’s career, especially as a songwriter. Ronny’s desire is to share his gift of writing with other aspiring songwriters. “I work with songwriters by appointment. I try to impart into them some of the knowledge that I have acquired through the years in hopes of moving them along toward their goals as a songwriter. My intentions are not to co-write with a client, but rather to focus on good and bad habit patterns as it pertains to the songwriter. My input has contributed to several writers going on to become accomplished songwriters on their own. I hold sessions through the midweek in the Nashville, Tennessee, area in coordination with my weekly touring schedule. If someone is interested in my help they can contact me at email@example.com or call 615-851- 9542 for information.”
Not only is Ronny a gifted songwriter, but he is a preacher as well. He explains, “I answered the Lord’s call to preach in 1960 in a little Northern California town and I have been honored to carry it on even until this day. I feel that it is a separate call. I believe nothing can substitute for the preaching of the Word; but I can’t help but feel like I am also called to write a message in song and sing it. I look at my songs as tools that I can use to get past the ears of those who may not listen to a sermon from the pulpit. Between songwriting, singing, and preaching, I have never been able to choose a favorite because it’s never been my option. They are the gifts and callings of God and I would never want God to think I could live without any one of them. I know for me I must be willing to do with a whole heart what is needed for certain circumstances. I do know which one is His favorite, though: the one that is used in His timing and brings results for His kingdom and His glory.”
The Lord is definitely using the songs and words of Ronny Hinson to change lives. Ronny keeps a very busy touring schedule. “I tour three to four days a week singing in concert settings in auditoriums across the country and in churches, camp meetings, and state and national rallies and conventions. I’m actively booking continually. I travel to wherever promoters and pastors want to hear those familiar Original Hinson songs and the new ones that God has given me. The most exciting event that I have coming up is a brand new recording project that is years overdue! I expect it to be completed toward the later part of this year, Lord willing. I was blessed to write about 85- 90% of the songs on all the Original Hinsons projects and many songs through the years for some of the greatest artists in gospel music. Now I get to write for my own project!”
To find out when Ronny’s new project will be available, to visit his song shop that includes Original Hinsons Classic projects, or to book Ronny for your event, visit his website at www.ronnyhinsonministries.com, email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 615-851-9542. You can also visit his Facebook page, Ronny Hinson Ministries.
Ronny asked God long ago to use him to change lives. “The Lord laid it heavily upon my heart that I would have a burden to reach many people. He didn’t save us so that we could just gather once or twice a week and sing praises and feel good about facing the mean old world again for a few more days. He called us to share Him to the world. I am seeing the results of that prayer in so many ways. Through emails, letters, calls, and in person, I am seeing families and lives changed for Christ. That’s the thread that is woven through my entire ministry.”
By Paige Givens
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