TimeLine : 1955-1985

1955-1985 . 1986 . 1987 . 1988 . 1989 . 1990 . 1991 . 1992 . 1993 . 1994 . 1995 . 1996 . 1997 . 1998-present . Credits

The Early Years

    October 21, 1955

  • Richard Wayne Mullins is born at Reid Memorial Hospital in Richmond, Indiana to John A. and Neva Mullins. Rich -- or "Wayne," as he was known to his family, was one of five Mullins children. Richard's mother was Quaker. His father was the son of a coal miner who worked as a tool and dye maker, and later as a tree farmer on the Mullins family farm.

    The Mullins family attended the Quaker Arba Friends Church in Lynn, IN. When he was a small child, Richard's grandmother gave him a Bible with the Song of Solomon torn out. She told him he could read that when he got older.

    Joyce Hill (who taught Rich in her first-ever Sunday School class at Arba Friends Meeting) : "I remember trying to keep around ten boys settled and focused, but Rich was a tremendous listener, very serious about the Bible lessons, a quiet and easy student. And he never gave me any trouble! One winter Rich took us for a wild truck ride into the woods (on the Mullins farm) and cut down a (Christmas) tree for us. I remember worrying about his hands and the chain saw. What if he hurt himself? He was so fun-loving, and always different from the other kids around."

    Rich: "A few generations back, there were twin brothers who were orphans in France. As young teenagers eager to find a better life, they stowed away on a ship bound for America. One of them was my great-great-grandfather. I remember the first time I flew into New York and saw the Statue of Liberty. I thought of those twins, my ancestors, both of them fifteen or sixteen years old, standing there on Ellis Island. They had come to begin a new life. They didn't even know the language. And I wondered what it felt like to them, years later, when they were eighty years old, with grandchildren, knowing that the dream of a better life had come true."

    Rich: "I come from a pretty big family, so there are lots of 'significant people' who are examples to me. My dad was a very emotional man who believed love was a very practical thing and that it expressed itself in practical ways. My mom was (and is) a very quiet, steadfast woman who is strong and gentle and never cold. My great grandparents lived next door to us and great-grandma told me great stories at nap time. My grandpa Dean loved books- My grandma and grandpa Mullins fed a dozen people every Sunday and were very funny and earthy. My Uncle David and Aunt Fiossie have always been avid card players. My Uncle Dick is possibly the most giving man I know - very giving and caring. Jim Lewis - a cousin of mine - was (along with King David) my boyhood hero. My dad's four sisters (we call them the 'four sisters of the Apocalypse') are extremely lively women who have met life head on and though they're in their 60's and up, they are still more fun than most people my age. I could go on forever, but my telling is a shabby telling of their lives and their impact on me. Did I mention my Uncle Glenn?"

    Rich: "My dad grew up back and forth between Kentucky and Virginia because his father was a coal miner. And when my dad was 14 my grandpa came home and told my grandma to load up the truck 'cause they were gonna move.... And my grandpa said, 'Well, Rose, we're going to Detroit.' And she said, 'Why in the world are we going to Detroit?' And he said, 'Because I don't want my boys to grow up to be coal miners.' And so they got as far as Indiana and ran out of gas--and that's how I got here."

    Rich: "What I discovered is, heritage doesn't puff you up with pride. It really humbles you. If you look at the lives of the people you come from you kind of go, 'if they had married anyone else, if they had moved anywhere else, if their lives had been one iota different, I wouldn't be here.' And so you have, not a big debt, not a crushing debt to pay, but you are a part of an ongoing thing. You are not alone in this world. You are part of an ensemble."


    November 4, 1957

  • Rich's baby brother Brian Dee Mullins dies in infancy due to spinal meningitis.


  • The Mullins family discovers Richard's musical abilities. Although Richard grew up on a farm, everyone soon realized that he was not cut out for farm work. He began writing songs while driving the family tractor. Richard started playing piano at a very early age, and learned to play four part harmony with help from his grandmother, who live right next door. Richard also had classical training and piano lessons before graduating from Northeastern High School. Richard credited his early musical influences as The Beatles, Crosby Stills & Nash, Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Blue Cheer, Joni Mitchell, Carol King and Bob Dylan.

    Rich's sister Debbie: "When I was about ten years old and Wayne was four or five, I was taking piano lessons. My teacher told me to practice the hymn 'Abide with Me,' and I played it over and over but kept messing up on the same part. I got up to go into another room. Mom had been listening all the while as she was working in the kitchen. The next thing she heard was the hymn being played without a mistake, and she said 'Oh, Debbie, you're really getting it.' She walked into the room, and there was little Wayne playing the song. He had been sitting htere listening to me practice it for so long that he knew how it was supposed to be played."

    Rich: "We were poor farmers - not by world standards, but by American standards. We had a small farm. We always ate good meals, we had a huge garden, we raised a lot of our own food. For me that meant that we were poor. I had no idea how bad beans taste out of a can. Because I had been raised beside a garden. Now I live in a city and I have to eat like most people that we thought were rich. And I go 'this is awful'. I go home and get beans that are fresh picked and I go 'wow, this is delicious' There were people who went to our church that never played their pianos and they only used them as furniture. I can remember thinking 'what I would give to have that piano- just to be able to play it'. For years all of those feelings kind of grew into a real resentment towards rich people, which I still struggle with. Still today, when I'm around people who are wealthy, I don't like them. It's harder for me to communicate the love of God to rich people than it is to the poor people, for I have such a hang-up with wealth."


  • Rich Mullins is baptized at Whitewater Christian Church. The family had started going to the Christian Church because John Mullins had problems with the Quaker church his wife attended. Richard would continue to attend Arba Friends Church from time to time as well.
    Richard: "When I was real little, my mother was a Quaker and my dad was not particularly interested in religion, period. Then my dad realized his own need for church or for Christ or for the whole ball of wax, but he couldn't get into Quaker things because they're pacifists and my dad's a hillbilly."

  • Rich continued to learn piano throught his childhood. His father, who initially wanted Rich to be a jock instead of a musician, eventually pushed for him to have piano lessons.
    Rich: "I had a very good music teacher, Mary Kellner, who not only introduced me to some of the great composers, but she was able to capture my imagination and make me excited about what I was supposed to be learning.
    Richard: "When I was in fourth grade, I got asked to play the communion meditation at church. I practiced and my piano teacher worked with me, which was cool because she was Quaker, and they don't even have communion. Anyway, I went back Tuesday to my lesson after I had played Sunday, and my teacher said, 'How did you do?' and I told her, 'Everybody said they loved it, everyone said I did great.' And she said, 'Well, then you failed.' I was crushed, but she put her hand on my shoulder and said, 'Richard, when you play in church, you are to direct people's attention to God, not to your playing.'"

    February 9, 1964

  • The Beatles appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. This event had quite an effect on young Rich Mullins (as it did for most of the United States) and was credited as feeding his interest in music.
    Rich: "...I remember we were watching it, and my parents were really disgusted, and I didn't know why. But I pretended to be disgusted, just because I didn't want to get sent to bed. I'm sitting there pretending to be really disgusted, and I'm going, 'Gosh, I would give anything to do that.' And I don't know what it was. See, I was right there when everything was happening, but I was just a little too young to understand it. But something happened."


  • When Rich was 13, his older sister Sharon arranged for him to accompany her all-county interdenominational choir known as "New Creations" on piano. The director agreed to let Rich try out not realizing that he was only 13. After Rich tried out, everyone was very impressed by the piano skills of this young man.


  • Rich forms the Children of Light from within "New Creations." At the age of 16, Rich was writing many of the songs and touring the region as part of the group.

  • Richard writes "KJRaff" around this time.

    May 1, 1971

  • The Jesus House opens in Cincinnati, OH under the direction of Randy Matthews. The large house served as a venue for early Jesus Music concerts by artists including Randy Matthews, Steve Baxter (prior to joining Daniel Amos), Gary Chapman, The Willoughby-Wilson Band, Terry Fisher, and a few years later Rich Mullins and Zion.

    May 15-June 28, 1972

  • Future Ragamuffin Band member Aaron Smith plays drums on the Temptations hit "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone." The song became a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and won three Grammy Awards in 1973. Aside from eventually joining Rich's band, Smith had played with Ray Charles, Vector (with fellow Ragamuffin Jimmy Abegg), Romeo Void and many others. A pair of his drumsticks were once displayed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame right alongside sticks belonging to Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.


  • Rich sees the 1972 Franco Zeffirelli directed film Brother Sun, Sister Moon at some point around this time. The bio-pic, which was based on the life of St. Francis of Assisi, made a clear impact on Rich who frequently talked about the film. Rich also credited the film as an inspiration for his own Canticle of the Plains many years later.
    Rich:"I guess it started when I was a senior in high school and saw the movie Brother Sun, Sister Moon. Having grown up in Protestant rural Indiana, I had never been exposed to the lives of any of the saints. Our particular brand of Protestantism focused more on de-sanctifying. It stressed, 'We're all saints... and we're all sinners.' That was 1974, and the Jesus Movement was going on all around us, but we couldn't get to it. We were surrounded by a culture agricultural in its roots and Christian in its bias. We wanted to be Jesus freaks, but we'd never been freaks. So I resigned myself to being just a blah, old Christian. I had my doubts about Christianity, but I had more doubts about atheism, and other religions seemed even more dubious to me. Then I saw that movie, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and I started to wonder if maybe Saint Francis had found a more authentic faith, though he had found it so many years before. Of course, it was just a movie, and yet, it stirred my interest."

  • Rich Mullins graduates from Northeastern High School.

    August 1974

    (Cincinnati Bible College)
  • After graduating high school, Richard attended Cincinnati Bible College.

    Rich:: "I felt sad, because I was getting ready to go to a Bible school (Cincinnati Bible College), and yet most of my friends didn't even know about my faith. So I decided to have a concert of my beliefs. I sang for them not because I wanted them to hear me sing, but because I wanted them to hear the message about God."

    Rich's first performance at CBC. (Photo courtesy of Beth Snell Lutz. August 1975)
  • During his years at CBC, Rich was rejected four times attempting to enter the College's Talent Show because the music department believed that he pounded too hard on the piano keys when he played.
    Rich: "I was allowed to play a piano duet once. And I accompanied several people. I just could never cut the mustard. I was very hurt and angry. I was going, 'You know, I could take this if the people who were in this were really excellent.' But they weren't. I don't like the idea of a talent night anyway. I was too competitive to deal with it very well."

  • For four years, Rich worked as a cashier in Shillito's parking garage in Cincinnati, OH to pay for school. He would sometimes get together with Dave Workman (Drums) - later of the band Prodigal, and Paul Niehaus (Bass) to jam in the evenings.

    November 23, 1974

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House for the first time.

    Rich during an early performance at the Jesus House


  • Rich mullins writes "O Come All Ye Faithful" around this time. The song would later be recorded by Debbie Boone.

  • Other songs performed around this time include: "The Rainbow Song" (Rich said he never titled the song, but this was the name given to the song by people that went to see him perform.)

  • Rich meets his longtime friend Kathy Sprinkle around this time.

  • There is a rumor that Rich was contracted to do the pre-concert for the Imperials (At the time, they were the *big* contemporary group.) Supposedly, he forgot about the show and missed it.


  • Rich decides to focus on being a youth minister. Right around that time, a position opens up at the nearby United Methodist church in Erlanger, KY. Rich would spend the next 3+ years working at the church as a youth and music minister. (sources: Rich and the United Methodist Church in Erlanger)

    Early 1975

  • Songs written at this time include "It's Spring."

    January 11, 1975

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House.

    May 24, 1975

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House.

    Fall 1975

  • Rich Mullins writes "Winter Hymn" around this time. Also, a very early version of "If I Stand" is reportedly written at this time.

    October 18, 1975

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House.


    (Photo of Rich from Cincinnati Bible College 1976)
  • Rich Mullins writes "Here In America" around this time.
    Rich: "Well, I wrote that, probably around 1976 or so. I was hitchhiking, and normally I don't write a song in one sitting. Normally it kind of accumulates over a period of time. Like, I'll write a line or two, or I'll write a song and throw the song away, except I will find two or three lines that I really like and I'll save those lines.
    It was just, I think it was after having been eaten by red ants and sleeping in a culvert that I really realized what a cool country this really was. Just kind of went, everywhere you go, it's different. And everywhere you go, it's hard. I mean, you come to the Midwest... you read those old John Steinbeck novels about, you know, the Dustbowl. And we have a history of 200 years of desperation, of people hanging on for dear life. Hanging on, because they believe there's gotta be something better than this. And I don't think people would have left Europe and the other places they left to come to America, if there weren't some pretty bad situations over there."
    (Source: The 1993 Music and More/Compassion International Interview conducted by Jon Rivers.)

  • Songs performed around this time include: "There's A Land."

    January 10, 1976

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House.

    July 4, 1976

  • The song "King of the 4th of July" is written around this time.

    July 17, 1976

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House.

    October 23, 1976

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House.

    December 1976

    December 1976 Concert Poster
  • Rich performs a Christmas concert at the Jesus House.

    January 1977

  • The Rich Mullins band performs in Cincinnati, OH. at Cincinnati Bible College campus Alumni Hall.
    Songs included: "Set In Motion", "In worship of the Coming King" (later known as "O Come All Ye Faithful"), "Ordination", "Recorder Interlude (RM first recorder performance)", "Pictures for a Friend in Summer (RM first guitar performance)", "Tom Foolery & Isiah 40", "Chimney Smoke," "Winter Hymn," "Narnia, King Arthur, Washington & Jesus", "Heaven In His Eyes", "Wipe Away Every Tear From Their Eyes (by band member Rick Nohle)", "Come Lord/In worship of the Coming King (reprise)".

    The band included : Rich Mullins on lead vocal, piano; Rick Nohle (UC student) on strings; Bruce Kircher on guitar; Jon Hagee on percussion, vocals; Mark Hard on bass and Dean Heitcamp on vocals.

    John Hagee (drummer): "This would have been Rich Mullins first attempt at forming and playing in a band. The band was together for about a year and played at colleges around the area, University of Cincinnati, etc."

  • Rich also performs a few songs by himself, after the concert.
    Songs included: "Back To The Bible", "Lake Between The Hills", "K.J. Raffe", and others.

  • Other songs performed around this time include: "Ain't No Books Sold," "Water Into Wine," "Harlan County Waltz" (an instrumental featuring the lap dulcimer - later performed by Rich on his final tour in 1997), "Lord Jesus, I Love Thee," "Where Else Can I Go?"


  • The Rich Mullins band performs at the University of Cincinnati.

    April 2, 1977

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House.

  • Rich Mullins discovers the hammered dulcimer while in college.

    Rich: "The first time I heard it in fact - when I went to college I had decided to be at peace at myself ever in my life... I was going to have to learn to appreciate my own heritage and my Dad is a total hillbilly. I mean he was born in Appalachia, Virginia. So I thought Ok as part of my education I started listening to appalachian music. Got familiar with lap dulcumers - the kind that you strum. This friend of mine called me up and said 'Hey they're having a dulcimer festival.' Which I thought was going to be really boring because they're just a three or four stringed little instrument. And I've heard a lot of people play them very badly. But, nevertheless, we were going to canoe to it. So I thought that would be a lot of fun. So, we canoed into Coshocton, Ohio we canoed down the Walhonding - down the Mohican. Got to Coshocton, Ohio right about sunset. It was like being on the set of the old Daniel Boone TV series or something. You know, Coshocton is this old restored town, and we come up in this canoe with my lap dulcimer floating in the middle of the canoe and we heard this incredible music. And I was going 'Man, what are they playing?' So, we got out and ran up the bank. And went over to the middle of the festival and there was about six or seven hammer dulcimers playing simultaneously. It was like being in the middle of a music box. I started saving my money right then. And never did get enough. In fact, I finally did have enough to buy one and my car broke down and had to spend the money on that. But, I was in East Tennessee at the time. I was doing a interim ministry in East Tennessee and the people from the church that I was interiming - they bought me one. Wasn't that nice? So it pays to have your car broke down. (See Spring 1979)


    Fall 1977

  • Rich and several friends move into the home of Mike & Darla Ash. Rich actually slept in a closet. There really wasn't enough room for eight people and the conditions were not the best. For this reason, the house is affectionately referred to as "the Ashhole."

  • Rich is engaged to his girlfriend in the mid 1970s. He wrote "Doubly Good to You" for his wedding, but the engagement was called off after about ten years by his fiancee.
  • Rich: "When I wrote 'Doubly Good to You,' we were getting married, and I had written that for our wedding. A friend of mine said, 'Boy, that is a really cruel song.' And I said, 'Well, why?' and she said, 'Because you are inferring that if God doesn't give you a love that is centered around someone that is true that he hasn't been doubly good to you.' I'm like, 'Well, exactly.' But God doesn't have to be singly good to anybody. We all have got it better than we deserve so we should be thankful for what we have."

  • Songs performed either by Rich solo or by Zion in these years include "23rd Psalm," "Become One," "Best Thing," "Borrowed Time," "Cast Your Bread," "Chimney Smoke," "Come Lord," "Come On and Come Alive," "Country Morning," "Courting Song," "Dance, Dance, Dance," "Devil's Back," "Elegy for the Roses," "Elizabeth Anne," "Falling of So Many Tears," "For the Beauty," "Going Home," "Happy Day Express Medley," "Harmony," "I Just Can't Get to Sleep," "Into the Sky," "It Must Not Be the Wind," "King of the 4th of July," "Lake Between the Hills," "Livin' in a Fallen World," "Lonely World," "Lord's Prayer," "Peace of My God," "Maggie's Song," "My Heart Stopped Beating," "On and On Like Music," "Pictures for a Friend in Summer," "Profit," "Psalm Suite," "Restoration Plea," "Saints and Sinners," "The Work You Began," "Tom Foolery," "Turn for the Best," "Where Else Can I Go," "Whitewater."

    Early 1978

  • Rich Mullins writes "Praise to the Lord" around this time. Alternate titles for the song listed in Meadowgreen's files are "Sing Your Praise To The Lord," "Sing" and "Sing Your Praise." It is believed that it was performed for the first time at Erlanger Methodist Church.
    Rich: "I wrote it ("Praise to the Lord") because I was practicing Bach's C Minor Fugue, and when I got to where I could play it decently, I just didn't want to quit, so I wrote the introduction, which led to the song. I hope Bach would like it. His music is way more important that the Christian music you hear now. I'm not saying today's Christian music has no value, I'm just afraid that we miss the real value of it, and use it for something it's no good at. It's value lies in its ability to point beyond itself to Christ."

    April 1978

  • Rich takes his youth group kids to the ICTHUS festival in Wilmore, Kentucky. The Ichthus festival was started in 1970 and featured a large variety of musical acts from the world of Christian music, including Larry Norman, Daniel Amos, Michael W. Smith, Phil Keaggy, and many others.

    Following the festival, Mullins began to realize the power of music in the lives of young people.

    Rich: "I was just watching the kids (at the Ichtus festival in Wilmore, KY) and how affected they were by the music. I really felt like I had some gifts in music and at the time I just prayed 'Lord, I want to do this but I want to take the steps'. The next morning my neighbor was sick and didn't go to work and I was just playing the piano when there was a knock at the door. He wanted to know if it was me who was playing the piano and I said yes. He said, 'Well, I don't know what you do for a living but you should be in music'. So I though that was either a really weird coincidence or an answer from God. Within a week I had several people calling me." (Source: Live Like You'll Die Tomorrow - Rich Mullins Speaks His Mind, The Cross Examiner, Brian Smith, October 1, 1986)

  • Rich left his job at United Methodist Church in Erlanger, KY to work start Zion Ministries where he performed with their band.

    June 3, 1978

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House.

    September 2, 1978

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House.

    December 23, 1978

  • Rich Mullins performs a Christmas Concert at the Jesus House. "You Gotta Get Up" (later recorded for the album A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band) was written and performed for this show.

    Spring 1979

  • Rich spends time working in an interim position with the Youth Group at First Christian Church in Kingsport, TN. John Turner was the Youth Minister and Gary Richardson volunteered to help with the group.

    Rich receiving a special gift
  • Members of the First Christian Church give Rich his first Hammered Dulcimer.

  • One of the first songs Rich wrote on his new instrument is an instrumental piece entitled "HD Pinger," which would occasionally show up in concert for many years to come.

    May 26, 1979

  • Zion performs at the Jesus House.

    Mid 1979

  • "Hope to Carry On" was written around this time and would later be recorded for Zion's independent album Behold the Man. Early or alternate titles for the song that exist in the publisher's records include "Love Has Come" and "Love To Carry On."

    August 4, 1979

  • Zion performs at the Jesus House.

    October 27, 1979

  • Zion performs at the Jesus House.

    Zion in concert

    December 22, 1979

  • Zion performs a Christmas concert at the Jesus House. Songs included: "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" (by John Lennon), "Away In A Manger," "You Gotta Get Up" (later recorded for the album A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band)

  • Songs performed around this time include: "Run Again," and "Praise to the Lord."

    Early 1980

  • Rich Mullins and Zion tapes a performance for the local television show "The Church Today." Songs performed were "Praise to the Lord," "Darkness," "Resist the Devil," and "Lord Help Me Be."

    Summer 1980

  • Zion records a demos of the following songs: "Bless you from zion", "How can we forget to be grateful?", "Just a seed", "Praise to the Lord", "Resist the devil!", "Sounded like thunder", "Take me to my home", and "Never Heard the Music."

  • Michael Blanton and Dan Harrell form Blanton/Harrell Entertainment in Nashville, signing Amy Grant as their first artist to manage.

    July 12, 1980

  • Zion performs at the Jesus House.

    October 25, 1980

  • Zion performs at the Jesus House.

    December 1980

  • Rich quits CBC after spending six years there and never graduating ("I had trouble picking out a major!"). (Source: CBC)

    December 8, 1980

  • Rich's grandmother dies on this day as does John Lennon, who was shot and killed in New York City. Rich Mullins, provoked by the death of Lennon and his grandmother, writes "Elijah."

    Rich: "My favorite song that I've ever written is 'Elijah.' It was like another breakthrough. I wrote it around the time when John Lennon was shot. He was a big hero of mine, and my great-grandma died about the same time. I began thinking about the influence both of those people had on my life, and they were dead. These two people would never know the impact they had on me; John Lennon I'm sure wouldn't care to know, but my great-grandma, I never got to tell her. But then I realized I don't have to tell her. She didn't do what she did to have some kind of an impact on me, she did what she did because that's who she was."

    "And I'm going to be dead someday too. That's the first song where I forced myself to dig under a lot of the cliches of the Christian faith. I wrote a song that said, 'You know, someday I'm going to die, and I wanna die good.' Prior to that I would have tended to write, 'Someday I'm going to die and I will be resurrected,' which I also believe."

    December 20, 1980

  • Zion performs their annual Christmas Concert at the Jesus House.

    Early 80's

  • Other songs that Zion was performing at this time include: "Seminary Girl/Seminary Guy," "Darkness," "Lord Help Me Be," "Baptism," "Bartamaeus," "But For Your Grace," "Changes," "Hold Me Up," "Homeward Ways," "Honest Reason Why," "Nearer To You Lord," "Once at the Nights Parting," "Overland," "Redeemer," "Regions of Light," "Sorrow," "Sparrow in the Frost," "Stolen Kisses," "The Crucifixion," "The Pinch," "The Song was Broken."


  • Michael Blanton and Dan Harrell form Reunion Records in Nashville, TN.

    May 4, 1981

  • Rich Mullins and Justin Peters write "If All I Know Is Love."

    Early April 1981

  • Zion performs in Grand Rapids, MI at a Youth Rally.

  • Zion Performs at the University of Cincinnati.

    April 1981

    Zion in the studio
    Left Photo: Greg McNeilly, Jenny Filson, Tom Weimer, Tony Ross, Beth Lutz, Rich Mullins and Dave Workman
    Right Photo: (Back) Rich Mullins with Jenny Filson. (Front) Greg McNeilly and Dave Workman.
  • Zion enters 5th Floor Studios in Cincinnati to record an album. The album was produced and recorded thanks to a $1000 gift of support from Rich's uncle. Greg McNeilly engineered.

    April 19, 1981

  • Zion performs an Easter Service at Fellowship Christian Church in Cincinnati.

    April 25, 1981

  • Zion performs at Ohio Wesleyan University in Deleware, OH.

    April 26, 1981

  • Zion performs at Manchester College in North Manchester, Indiana.

    May 1, 1981

  • Zion performs at a Senior Dinner Banquet in Wabash, IN.

    May 2, 1981

  • Zion performs at a Senior Dinner Banquet in Markle, IN.

    May 8-10, 1981

  • Zion performs at a Round-Up Rally in Camp Bellsville, KY.

    May 22, 1981

  • Zion performs at the New Hope Coffee House in New Port, KY.

    May 23, 1981

  • Zion performs at New Life Teen Center in Price Hill, Cincinnati.

    May 29, 1981

  • Zion performs at "Krissie's Graduation" in Kingsport, TN.

    May 30-31, 1981

  • Zion performs in Kingsport, TN.

    June 5-6, 1981

  • Zion performs at Western Hills Church of Christ in Cincinnati, OH.

    June 12-14, 1981

  • Zion performs at a Lake Retreat in Converse, IN.

    June 18, 1981

  • Zion performs at CURE - Inner City Camp.

    June 19-20, 1981

  • Zion performs at the Sonshine Festival in Hamilton, OH.

    June 26-28, 1981

  • Zion spends more time in the studio recording their Behold the Man album.

    July 27, 1981

  • Zion releases its one and only album, Behold the Man.

    July 26-31, 1981

  • Zion performs at Deep Valley Christian Camp in Slippery Rock, PA.

    August 2-8, 1981

  • Zion performs at Kentwood Church Camp in Kentwood, MI.

    August 9-14, 1981

  • Zion performs at Kentwood Church Camp in Kentwood, MI.

    August 15, 1981

  • Zion "Retreat & Rehearsal" time.

    August 16, 1981

  • Zion performs at NASCF Leadership Conference at CBC.

    August 21, 1981

  • Zion performs at Living Bread Coffee House in Lexington, KY.

    August 22, 1981

  • Zion performs at The Hub Coffee House in Lexington, KY.

    August 28-30, 1981

  • Zion performs at a retreat at Saltair Church of Christ in Bethel, OH.

    September 5-6, 1981

  • Zion performs at Koinonia Coffee House in Nashville, TN.

  • Zion's Beth Lutz meets with Michael Blanton of Reunion Records and gives him a copy of the Zion album.
    Mike Blanton: "My honor and joy in the Rich Mullins story was that I signed him to his first publishing deal as well as his first artist deal.
    Around the time that we were starting Reunion Records, I was standing at a carnival-type amusement park and a girl came up to me and said, 'You need to listen to this guy named Rich Mullins.' I said, 'Fine, whatever,' so she gave me a tape. I went and listened to the tape and about fell over about the song, 'Sing Your Praise To The Lord.' I played it for Amy and she went crazy over it, and Brown [Bannister], of course, went crazy over the song, too.
    The process of recording that song on Amy's album opened up the opportunity for me to talk to Rich and as I did, I just fell in love with him. I decided that no matter what happened, we needed to sign him to a publishing deal, which ultimately led to the recording contract. And to this day, I don't know that we've had a more gifted or important songwriter."

    Rich: "It was the first song I ever had published. Beth Lutz took a tape to a convention and gave it to someone who gave it to someone who gave it to someone and it ended up at Amy's manager's office."

    September 9, 1981

  • Having just received a copy of the Zion album a few days earlier, Michael Blanton calls Rich to find out if the song could be recorded by Amy Grant, who was looking for one more song to complete her Age to Age album. Everyone involved believed that Rich's "Sing Your Praise" was perfect. They wanted to bring Rich to Nashville to talk to them, and after a bit of convincing, he eventually did make the trip and was signed as a writer. Reunion wanted Rich to move to Nashville, but he didn't want to go without Zion.

    Rich: "They called me up, and they said that they wanted Amy Grant to record it. I said I thought that was great; I didn't have any idea who Amy Grant was. They said, 'Is this published or what?' And I said, 'I don't even know.' I recorded it but that's as much as I knew about it. They said they'd like to talk to me about a publishing contract, and I didn't like the idea of a contract. I said, 'I'm not interested in a publishing contract.' They said, 'Maybe you don't know who Amy Grant is' and went on to tell me how many albums she'd sold, and that really hacked me off because I thought, 'You know what? I don't care if she doesn't sell any or if she outsells Michael Jackson.' If she wants to do the song, that's fine, but I felt very insulted. I was a very overly-righteous kind of a guy at the time.
    Then they said, 'Let us fly you down here.' Well, I love to fly and I would fly anywhere in the world just for the fun of doing it. And I said, 'Sure.' That's how I first talked to them. That was a lot of fun, and I've been talking to them ever since."


    September 11, 1981

  • Zion performs at the Salt Shaker Coffee House in Norwood, OH.

    September 13, 1981

  • Zion performs a concert in the park in Campbellsville, KY.

    September 26, 1981

  • Zion performs at Purdue University's "Kick Off Concert."

    Fall 1981

  • Amy Grant wraps up recording on her Age to Age album.

    October 3, 1981

  • Zion performs at the Sonshine Inn Coffee House in Indianapolis, IN.

    October 9-11, 1981

  • Zion performs at Fleming Gardens Retreat in Indianapolis, IN.

    October 315-18, 1981

  • Zion performs at an Ellenton, FL Retreat.

    October 24, 1981

  • Zion's Party at the Jesus House.

    December 1, 1981

  • Rich records a demo of "Praise to the Lord."

    December 5-6, 1981

  • Zion performs at the Koinonia Coffee House in Nashville, TN.

    December 11, 1981

  • Zion performs at Camp Kirkwood in Wilmington, OH.

    December 12, 1981

  • Zion performs at the Ark in Akron, OH.

    December 19, 1981

  • Zion performs their annual Christmas Concert at the Jesus House in Cincinnati, OH.

    December 28-31, 1981

  • Zion performs at Round Lake Christian Assembly in Fort Wayne, IN.


  • Rich wrote "Damascus Road" following the breakup of his engagement and relationship.
    Rich: " I wrote it the night I was engaged and my fiancee broke off the engagement, and I went away and then I went, 'Oh, man, I'm gonna feel really depressed, but before I get really depressed, you're supposed to thank God in all things, so I'm gonna try to think of something thankful to say.' And that's when I wrote that song."

    Zion in concert
  • Songs performed by Zion around this time include: "Ain't Nobody," "What Kind of Injustice," "It's Spring," "Borrowed Time," "Praise the Lord, Alleluia," "Habakkuk," "She Who Is In Babylon," "Sparrow in the Frost."

    January 8-10, 1982

  • Zion performs at a retreat in Cincinnati, OH.

    January 16, 1982

  • Zion performs at the Sonshine Inn in Indianapolis, IN.

    January 22-24, 1982

  • Zion performs at Andover Church of Christ in Andover, OH.

    January 25-31, 1982

  • Zion performs at Kentwood Church of Christ in Kentwood, MI.

    February 5-7, 1982

  • Zion performs at Hillsboro Church of Christ in Hillsboro, OH.

    February 20, 1982

  • Zion performs at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, IL.

    February 26-28, 1982

  • Zion performs at Kentwood Church of Christ in Kentwood, MI.

    March 5-7, 1982

  • Zion performs at Bellbrook Methodist Church in Bellbrook, OH.

    March 20-21, 1982

  • Zion performs at the House of Hope in Louisville, KY.

    March 27, 1982

  • Zion performs at The Connection in Greenfield, IN.

    April 1982

  • Zion performs at Western Hills Church of Christ in Cincinnati, Ohio

    April 7, 1982

  • Rich Mullins records a demo of "O Come All Ye Faithful."

    May 1, 1982

  • Amy Grant's Age to Age album is released on Myrrh Records. The album includes Amy's cover of Rich's "Praise To The Lord."
    The album became a phenomenal success for Amy Grant, landing at the #1 spot on the Billboard Top Contemporary Christian chart. In 1984, the album was the first gospel album by a solo artist to receive gold certification and would later be certified platinum in the United States and gold in Canada. Rich's song, retitled "Sing Your Praise to the Lord," went to #1 on the AC Charts in 1982.

  • Rich Mullins and W. Daniel Landes write "But For Your Flesh: Communion."

    June 1982

  • Zion decides, after much prayer, fasting and tears, that Rich was being called to Nashville without the rest of them. It was decided that they would finish out the year as Zion.

    Mid 1982

  • On his infrequent trips to Nashville to fulfill his writing obligations with Reunion, Rich would occasionally show up unannounced and pitch a tent in the backyard of the home of John & Pam Mark Hall. Rich and Pam would write songs together. Bernie Sheahan also lived in the house.
    Bernie:"That year, Mullins would pop in unannounced and pitch his tent in the backyard for a month at a time. We'd talk by the fire till all hours about God, movie, music, books (he read aloud from G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy, his lifetime favorite; if you haven't read it, do). During that time, he ate Pam's great cooking and collaborated with her on some of my favorite songs, ever. I'll never forget the day the two of them emerged from a writing session downstairs, saying, 'You gotta hear this song...' It was the tender, majestic 'Sparrow Watcher' (which Pam later recorded with Amy Grant and Kathy Troccoli), and for the first of many times over the course of our 15-year friendship, I heard Rich say, head tucked and brown eyes wide and hopeful, "Do you like it? Do you really like it?"
    (Source: CCM Magazine "As Best As I Can Remember Him, Volume One")
    Bubba Smith (Word Records): "I met Rich in 1982 and Pam Mark Hall's house in Nashville. After arriving at the party, I noticed a tent in the back yard and thought it was for the kids until someone told me that a guy named Rich Mullins was living in it. I was a song-plugger at Word Music so I had heard that Rich's song, 'Sing Your Praise to the Lord,' had just been recorded by Amy Grant. Why was a guy who'd just had the cut of his life living in a tent? Anyway, I was looking for a roommate so I casually mentioned this to some friends at the party. Before I knew it, this unkempt, unshaven, unshowered tent dweller ran up to me and said, 'Can I be your roomie?' I think he moved in the next day. For the next nine months Rich Mullins was my roomie. Contrary to popular belief, Rich was normal. He observed good hygiene, he made his bed, and he paid his share of the bills on time... in cash! We talked about girls, music, chili, God; you know, things roommate talk about."

    July 22, 1982

  • Rich Mullins records a demo of "O Come All Ye Faithful." Other demos recorded around this time include "Nearer to You Lord," "Oh Lord Your Love," "The Lord's Prayer," and "You Still Need Jesus."


  • Rich meets his future producer Reed Arvin around this time. Reed was on tour as part of Amy Grant's backup band.
    Reed Arvin: "I did meet Rich on the road. I don't recall the city, but I recall seeing him for the first time. He was wearing a dark overcoat and looked pretty disheveled, but in an intentional way. I shook his hand but had no idea the role we would eventually play in each other's lives. I don't think I saw him again for a year or so. Eventually, Mike Blanton, Amy's manager, asked me quite spontaneously, 'Do you think you could produce a record for Rich Mullins?'

  • Other demos recorded around this time include "Hard Not to Believe" and Zion's "Resist the Devil."

    July 2, 1982

  • Rich records a demo of "Elijah," a song which would later become a fan favorite. A demo of "Oh Lord, Your Love" is also recorded at this time.

    Summer/Fall 1982

    Richard performing at Deep Valley Christian Camp
  • Rich Mullins performs at Deep Valley Christian Camp in Slippery Rock, PA.

    September 15, 1982

  • Rich Mullins and Billy Simon write "Jesus On My Side."

    October 11, 1982

  • Rich Mullins records a demo of "Doubly Good To You," later recorded by Amy Grant.

    October 23, 1982

  • Zion performs at the Jesus House.

  • Zion performs its 4th and final Birthday Extravaganza at Highview Christian Church in Cincinnati, OH.

    December 16, 1982

  • Rich Mullins writes "Work You Began."

    December 18, 1982

  • Zion performs their annual Christmas Concert at the Jesus House. This would be the band's final performance together.

    Early 1983

  • Rich moves to Bellsburg, TN around this time and signs a recording contract with Michael Blanton of Blaton & Harrell.
    Rich: "I made a list of all the positives and all the negatives. I did as much thinking as I could. And then I prayed, 'There are three things I really have to give up to do this and I need to know they would be replaced. When these three things line up, I will consider it a good move.' So I got down there [to Nashville] and like 'snap-snap-snap' people were saying we want you to be a part of this, and we want you to be a part of this, and we feel like this is an important thing for you as a writer. Within a couple of hours, all three of the reasons were covered. Once again, a very odd coincidence because I had prayed very specifically and God gave me an indication of where He wanted me to go."


  • Rich Mullins and Justin Peters write "Aliens," "Let Us Be Holy," "Stand Fast," "Submit Yourselves," "Whoever Would Love Life," "We Are His People" and "Always Here With Me," which would later be recorded by Tony Melendez.

  • Rich writes "Marching On" around this time. The song would later be recorded by Benny Hester.

  • Jimmy Abegg begins working with the band Vector around this time. Vector would release the albums Mannequin Virtue in 1983, Please Stand By in 1985, Simple Experience in 1989 and Temptation in 1995. Other band members included Steve Griffith, Aaron Smith and Charlie Peacock. Both Abegg and Smith would later join Rich as part of the Ragamuffin Band.

    March 11, 1983

  • Rich Mullins writes "Holy Are You, Lord."

    March 21, 1983

  • Rich Mullins records a demo of "If All I Know Is Love," which would later be recorded by Cynthia Clawson.

    April 1983

  • Rich's "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" (as recorded by Amy Grant) is nominated for A Dove Award for Song of the Year.

  • Jon Rivers (KLTY Dallas): "... I was at a post-Dove Award banquet. It was the usual fancy banquet with all sorts of food and everybody was all dressed up. All of the servers were in white dress coats and white caps, and chefs were running to and fro to make sure everything was all right. I was walking down the dessert line and as I got up to this one dessert, I noticed that standing behind the counter serving was Rich Mullins, who had relieved one of the workers, and donned the cap and jacket. And he stood there the rest of the night serving people dessert, although I'm not sure that half the people knew who he was. That made a big statement to me that nothing mattered to him except the Gospel."

    May 12, 1983

  • Rich Mullins, Pam Mark Hall and Brown Bannister write "Reach Out And Love Again," which Hall would later record.

    May 31, 1983

  • Rich Mullins and Justin Peters write the unreleased song "Give It All You Got."

    July 1, 1983

  • Rich Mullins and Justin Peters write "He Loves You."

    Summer/Fall 1983

  • Rich Mullins performs at Deep Valley Christian Camp in Slippery Rock, PA.

    October 18, 1983

  • Rich Mullins and Pam Mark Hall write "These Days."

    October 17, 1983

  • Debbi Boone's Surrender is released on Lamb & Lion Records and includes a cover of Rich's "O Come All Ye Faithful" (written in the late 70's and originally titled "In Worship of the Coming King").

    Winter 1983

  • During a six-month sabbatical from the music scene, Rich served as interim music minister for Kentwood Christian Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

    November 1, 1983

  • While in Michigan, Rich records a demo for Reunion Records. The demo tape includes "Praise To The Lord", "A Few Good Men", "Damascus Road", "Elijah", "Marching On", "It's About Time", "None Are Stronger", "Prisoner", "Save Me", and "These Days".

    Late 1983/Early 1984

  • Rich Mullins is signs a recording contract with Reunion Records.

  • Rich Mullins and Wayne Kirkpatrick write "Silent Prayer."

    January 10, 1984

  • Rich records a demo of "Marching On."


  • Rich begins performing the following songs around this time: "Hallelujah", "I'll Love Her", "Keep Me Pressing On", "Love Of Another Kind", "Nothing But A Miracle", "See What A Difference", and "Your Burden Is Light".


  • The Made for Television Movie, Sins of the Past airs on ABC. The movie, starring Debby Boone, included Debbie's performance of "O Come All Ye Faithful" (written in the late 70's and originally titled "In Worship of the Coming King").

    March 15, 1984

  • Amy Grant records a cover of Rich's "Doubly Good To You."

    April 6, 1984

  • Amy Grant's Straight Ahead is released on Word record. The album includes a cover of Rich's "Doubly Good To You."

    June 28, 1984

  • Rich Mullins and Pam Mark Hall write "Sparrow Watcher."

    Summer 1984

  • Rich Mullins performs at the Jesus House for the final time.

    Summer/Fall 1984

    Richard performing at Deep Valley Christian Camp
  • Rich Mullins performs at Deep Valley Christian Camp in Slippery Rock, PA.
    View Set List

    November 6, 1984

  • Pam Mark Hall's album, Supply and Demand, featured quite a bit of help from Rich, including a song he cowrote with Mike Hudson, Pam Mark Hall and Keith Thomas "The Agony and the Glory", one with Brown Bannister and Pam Mark Hall "Reach Out and Love Again" and another with Pam called "Sparrow Watcher".


  • Rich Mullins and Niles Borop write "No Making Believe," and "Both Feet on the Ground."

  • Rich Mullins, Cathy Snyder Weber and Wayne Kirkpatrick write "Love that Knows No Bounds." The song would later be recorded for his second album in 1987.

  • Amy Grant performs Rich's "Love of Another Kind" on NBC's "Martin Luther King Tribute special."

    January 1985

  • The Jesus House closes its doors.

    June 6, 1985

  • Amy Grant releases her Unguarded album, which includes a cover of Rich's "Love of Another Kind."

    August 5, 1985

  • Benny Hester releases his Benny from Here album which includes a cover of Rich's "Marching On."

  • Rusty Goodman releases "He Loves You," written by Rich Mullins and Justin Peters, on Canaan Records.

    October 1985

    (Photo of Rich recording his first album, courtesy of JB)
  • Rich records his first solo album. The songs "A Place to Stand," and "Live Right" are written around this time.

    Reed Arvin: "Most people are surprised to learn that Rich wasn't particularly involved during recording, simply because he wasn't interested. He would disappear for long stretches. I would beg him to stay around more, because I was quite worried that he would come back after we'd spent a good deal of time going in a direction and pronounce that he didn't like it. But he very rarely expressed opinions about things musically. I very rarely had musical discussions with Rich. On the other hand, I had many, many discussions with him about politics, religion, and philosophy. And the music business. But to actually sit and talk about what to 'do' with a particular song, no."

    October 3, 1985

  • Rich Mullins and Reed Arvin write "New Heart".

All pages = © 1996-2015 Eric Townsend All Rights Reserved. Do not reproduce or publish without permission.

back frontpage forward