Singer, songwriter, Johnny Hall, has emerged as one of today’s most gifted and versatile Christian artists. Although classically trained, Johnny is equally gifted in singing a variety of musical styles. “I’m really an eclectic kind of guy. I like my music like my food...lots of variety.” A Johnny Hall concert has something for just about every musical taste.
The son of a Baptist minister, Johnny grew up in the church. His mother was the one who led him to Christ and also discovered his singing gift. At age three, she found him in the living room on his rocking horse singing “Holy, Holy, Hossie”. Obviously, the lyrics needed some correction, but what amazed his mother was that, at three years of age, Johnny could hear a song and reproduce the melody.
“When I was old enough to understand, my mother told me that she believed my singing gift was God’s direct answer to her prayers. My parents didn’t come to know Christ until they were in their mid-thirties and being the last of four siblings, I was the only one born into a Christian home. Mom had prayed earnestly that God would use this new life to ‘restore the years the canker worm had eaten’, as she put it. Mom and Dad are with the Lord now, but the knowledge of their prayers is still a convicting and compelling force in honoring the call of God on my life.”
At age four, Johnny joined the renowned “Children’s Bible Hour an international radio broadcast for kids located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I was the tiniest of the ‘Tiny-Tots’. Aunt Bertha, the director, was a major factor in my early development. She required that everything we did had to be memorized. Her motto was, “You can’t sing from your heart, what’s not first in your heart.”
“I can’t remember a time when singing wasn’t a part of me. However, I did have a brief lull in my early teens when I discovered that some of my peers thought being a singer meant being a sissy. So, I delved into sports to prove my manhood and found there was nothing to prove. I loved sports and still do. But, I also continued singing and soon my peers weren’t laughing, but applauding. I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. “If you listen too long to the opinion of the crowd you’ll never accomplish much.”
“I grew up idolizing my Dad. He was a highly decorated veteran of the Second World War and when it came to preaching, I can honestly say, “I’ve never heard better”. As a kid, Johnny always thought he would follow in his father’s footsteps. However, at age sixteen, he decided to take his singing gift and travel a different path. “I loved my Dad and respected him greatly, but I could see that there was little fame and no fortune in the ministry, and the lure of the world was strong.”
During the summer of his senior year in high school, Johnny auditioned and was awarded a scholarship to attend the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. “What an awesome experience to be in the company of so many talented kids from around the world and to sit under the teaching of some of the very best in the fine arts world.” While there, Johnny auditioned and was awarded a full tuition scholarship to study voice at the University of Michigan School of Music. “Everything music-wise was going just great, but I was spiritually drifting and didn’t even notice.”
“I was a real phony during my college years. Oh, I continued to go to church...I didn’t want my folks to think I was rebelling. But, I would put on my Sunday best and look the part at church and then go back to school, change into my school clothes and into my worldly life. All the while, I knew God was speaking to me...that still small voice. I knew in my heart that He had purposes for me, but I was so afraid that His purposes would lead back to the lifestyle of my father and I wanted so much more than that.”
School finally ended and Johnny wound up in Detroit, Michigan directing music in a small church. “My dream was to get to New York and start auditioning for what I believed would be my career. But, I was broke and needed some money to pay my way east. I had successfully used the church before and I thought I could easily do it again. But little did I know, that right there in that little spot on this great big globe, God was about to intervene.”
“The associate pastor of that little church was a man named Bob Griffith. Bob was a Godly man and it didn’t take him long to see through my phoniness. I’ll never forget that night after Bob confronted me. I could hear his voice all evening and even woke up in the early morning with his words ringing in my ears. “John, you are miserable and we both know it. God wants something from you and you’re not willing to give it to Him. You’ll be miserable until you do.” What really bothered me was that he said it all with a smile as if he was enjoying it.”
“What was probably the most miserable night of my life turned out to be the most blessed. Like Jacob of old, God took me to His wrestling mat and after several years of running things my way, so I thought, He pinned me and left me no alternative but to submit. Oh, sweet submission! Looking back now, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
“God orchestrated it all... my Christian parents, my birth, my second birth, my gift of singing, my education, my rebellion, my calling, and all the people and circumstances He brought into my life to achieve His sovereign will in me. He is still orchestrating it all. I concluded long ago that it is not wise to tell God you won’t do something. Sooner or later, you will wind up doing what He wants and, wonder of wonders, you will be happy doing it. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
This year Johnny and his wife Teri will celebrate thirty-six years of marriage. The Hall’s have three sons, Adam, Aaro, and AJ (Andrew Joseph). “My wife and boys are the delight of my life. Yes, you’re right, the last one was a huge surprise, but that’s what’s keeping us young.”
The Hall’s have been members of the First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, for twenty three years. “The Ministry of Pastor Johnny Hunt and the FBCW staff has been a strong foundation for our lives and for the raising of our children. It is one of my great joys to teach Sunday School at FBCW.”
Over the past three decades, Johnny Hall has concertized all across North America. Using his gifts of singing and drama and his strong commitment to the Word of God and His grace, Johnny has endeared himself to thousands. You will not soon forget the spiritual impact of a Johnny Hall concert. Those who have been blessed to hear him come away not only blessed by his giftedness, but blessed even more by his heart for people and for the things of God.