Get to Know Karl

Karl's Biography

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     When I was eleven years old, I discovered a gift for and a joy in singing. My mother had been a singer in USO shows and she passed her love of music along to her sons.  In and out of a variety of rock & roll and country bands into my early 30's, I was fortunate enough to make a living doing what I loved, culminating in a short contract on Nashville's Warner Brothers recording label.  Then in 1984 while I was on staff at Northview Christian Life In Carmel, Indiana, under Pastor Tommy Paino, he suggested I begin to offer music ministry based on this model.  As pastor of an young growing suburban church, Tommy found himself inundated with phone calls from Gospel or Contemporary Christian recording artists wanting to do concerts at Northview, but they often involved contracts which involved promotion, ticket prices and other costs.  It was Tommy's observation that sometimes such details would get in the way of real ministry and he wanted me to have the freedom to minister regardless of the financial burdens of being on the road.  And so Karl Hinkle Music Ministries was born nearly 30 years ago, funded by a combination of no-contract free-will offering engagements PLUS axillary support from churches and individuals who believe this work might reach those who might not otherwise be in the audience.

    I cannot remember a time in my life when singing was not my passion. I began playing in garage bands at the age of eleven, and continued to dedicate myself to music and performing throughout my high school years. I knew this was my best area of expression and I loved it... still do!

     After graduation, all my dreams seemed to fall together. I joined a band called the Wright Brothers.

Karl (left) & The Wright Brothers performing with Johnny Cash

     We enjoyed a successful career performing from coast to coast, including appearances on Hee Haw, The Today Show, and the Grand Ole Opry. We had a recording contract with Warner Brothers and singles in the Top 40... what more could I ask?      During this time, I came face to face with the claims of Jesus Christ. My life and my attitudes started to change, however, there was something standing in my path. Over a ten year period, I had developed an addiction to prescription drugs for a back problem. I tried to handle it myself, but was unsuccessful and when I finally hit bottom, the doctors advised me I would need hospitalization to kick the habit. But in a desperate cry to the Lord, He miraculously healed me of this addiction that had held me in bondage for a decade.

     God has turned my desire to sing into the ministry I now have for Him. My mission has been to travel from church to church, regardless of denomination, sharing God's message in song and word. I have personally ministered to more than 500,000 people throughout the Midwest of America, England, Ireland, Belgium and Nicaragua.

      The message God wants me to convey is that, in the midst of all the choices the world offers us, we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ. He is The Way, The Truth and The Life.

Why Do I Do It?

     After nearly 30 years in this ministry, the question I am asked most often is, "What is it you do again?  How does it work? Is that your full time job?"

Here is the short answer.  Each weekend I travel from church to church, community to community, state to state, and even to a few foreign countries, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in song and message in church services and events, jails and prisons, outreach events and a variety of other celebrations.  During the week, I make phone calls to pastors and leaders establishing these weekend bookings. 

I come on a free-will offering basis, so churches and organizations with a variety of budgets are able to bring me in.  Over the years I have ministered in churches of over 7,000 and churches of less than 50 and everything in between.  Some places prefer to provide for my ministry with an pre-determined honorarium, others prefer to collect a second offering earmarked for KHMM.  I have recorded a number of CD's and offer them for sale after the service.  Churches provide hotel accommodations for the night before the service if the location is a long way from Indianapolis. 

In addition, I am classified as a missionary and serve under the sending agency of Radiant Christian Life, my home church in Westfield, Indiana.   Supporters make monthly tax-deductible contributions to support Karl Hinkle Music Ministries thru Radiant Christian Life.  These donations are what enable me to minister at places where there is no budget.

So that's about it. That's WHAT I do.  The bigger mystery is WHY do I do it?  After all, secular music had provided me a pretty healthy living in my teens and twenties, so why turn to Christian music and why provide it on an offering basis?  Seems a little risky, right?  Yes, I must admit, this arrangement is sometimes downright nerve-racking!  But amazingly, when God called me to use this gift He blessed me with, my voice, to bless Him and spread His word, He promised to provide the means.  And He has done just that for nearly 30 years now!

WHY do I do it?  Because God has called me to do it.  He directs my footsteps to the most amazing ministry opportunities.  If I were bound to a gospel recording contract, I may be prohibited from making appearances without contracts and ticket sales; and that may limit the type of audience I can reach.  I do it for the people I meet, I do it for the amazing stories, I do it for the overworked underpaid pastors of small churches across middle America who need a break, I do it for the testimonies of people who call me decades later to let me know how that one song they heard me sing that one day when they were at the end of their rope gave them the hope to carry on, I do it for the children who sing along with my songs because they've heard it over and over in the mini-van, I do it for the senior saints who enter worship at a whole new level at the sound of an old hymn I pull out during a service, I do it because God saved my soul and has walked with me through my life showing his Spirit in miraculous ways at every turn.  In the words of Dallas Holm, "You left Heaven for me, hit the roads and the shores of Galilee, gave your life at Calvary, so I gotta go and tell 'em what you've done for me."

Blessings to you and yours this day and always,