Dad (Jack) found the Lord in his mid-20’s on the “sawdust floors” of the old Suwannee Holiness Campground in White Springs, FL. He and my mother worked at the same dry cleaning business in Ft. Lauderdale after he was discharged from the Navy after WWII. He was originally from Long Island, NY (still has the accent) and joined the Navy at age 16.
Dad asked my mother (Roxana) to go out for a usual night out on the town, but mom informed him that she was going to church and he was welcome to come there instead. It was her witness and his exposure to the “holy-rollers” that eventually led him to his defining moment in the early 50’s when he felt the call to ministry. From there, my parents moved the family to Nashville, TN to attend Trevecca High School and Nazarene College.
Dad never finished his undergraduate work and, as he says, “felt God leading him directly into full-time service.” Over the course of the next 50 years, dad served churches in three different Tennessee cities, eventually serving also in Georgia and Florida.
It was during his so-called retirement that he continued to pastor and hold revivals, as well as became President of the Suwannee Holiness Association Camp – the very one where he knelt in the sawdust and surrendered completely to God so many years ago.
Dad personally assisted in the laborious tasks of building additional classroom space, adding or repairing roofs, renovating existing structures, constructing new sanctuaries, and acquiring properties to manage growth. Dad was a worker for the Lord.
He was also known as the Evangelist’s pastor. He ensured at least two revival meetings each year, and complimented God’s work through special events and gatherings by musical groups and various ministry teams. Dad was in love with camps and camp meetings. It was second-nature for him due to his conversion at Suwannee. He drove church buses full of teens to and from the camps, worked in the kitchens and cafeterias, and counseled and coordinated activities.
He will tell stories of pastoring for no pay, sometimes getting $5 per week, and then once getting $40 and tithing the entire sum, only to be blessed again later. He will share how his youngest child, Roxanne, almost succumbed to spinal meningitis at 18 months old, but how God has used her life over all these years to open doors for witness that seemed impossible to open.
Dad recently suffered a severe riding mower accident and spent several months being treated and recovering. During those days, he was found witnessing to other patients even as he endured a difficult recovery. He has been involved in some form of ministry since his first experience with the Lord over 60 years ago. He was and still is a parishioner’s pastor, a pastor’s pastor, a lifetime holiness preacher, a caregiver for the needy and weak, a friend to strangers, a mentor to believers, a loving provider for his family, and a completely dedicated and devoted servant for the Lord.
On January 24th, 2018, Jack Hinton celebrates his 90th birthday with a full heart, knowing that each moment of his life has been directed and guided by the Lord who he will continue to serve for the remainder of his days.
This tribute to Jack Hinton was written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today by Rev. Wesley Hinton