John Starnes is a tenor who sings inspirational gospel music, has recorded 15 albums, and has been featured in seven of the "Gaither Homecoming" series of southern gospel feature length concert videos. Starnes is also a licensed pilot who flew for Jimmy Swaggart Ministries in the 1980s while also working as a backup singer for the ministry.
Starnes was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on Dec. 7, 1950. In 1969, he enlisted in the Army and was honorably discharged two years later. During the early 1970s, Starnes sang for a local Atlanta rock and roll band called Choice. He also acquired licenses to fly private, commercial, instrument and multi-engine airplanes.
Starnes met his future wife, Teresa, at the Mount Paran Church of God in Atlanta. In 1978 he moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to sing backup for Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. Shortly after hiring him as a backup singer, Jimmy Swaggart Ministries also hired Starnes as a pilot for the ministry’s airplane. Starnes spent the 1980s with the ministry, singing and flying ministry members all over the world.
In 1991, Starnes began his own solo ministry, appearing on a variety of faith-based television programs. Starnes sang in front of an audience estimated at more than 1 million in India as part of a Benny Hinn crusade.
Starnes returned to college and graduated in 2008 from Belmont University with a Bachelor of Science degree in liberal studies. Six months later, Canada Christian College in Toronto presented Starnes with an honorary doctorate of sacred music. John and his wife of 30 years, Teresa, currently live in Nashville, Tennessee. They have two daughters.