Alumni Spotlight

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Alumni Spotlight - H. Lamar Smith, '66, '02

9/24/2013

Lamar Smith

Class of 1966, 1992

What year did you graduate from Trevecca? I received my Bachelors degree in 1966 and my Master of Arts degree in 1992

What are some of your favorite Trevecca Memories? I remember great chapel services.  We were required to attend five days per week.  The way the student body jubilantly sung the hymns of the church could sometimes be electrifying.  I especially remember a revival my freshman year with Dr. T. W. Willingham that had a great impact on me personally.  Another great school revival was with Dr. B. V. Seals.  Dr. Lawrence Hicks was always a favorite of the student body when he came to preach.

I have many good memories of my teachers at Trevecca. Dr. William Greathouse had a profound influence on my life.  His theology shaped me and my theology.  He would break out in sermon, testimony or song when he taught.  When he would come to a knotty theological issue he would say, "We have to be honest as well as religious."  That was followed by his characteristic laugh!   I saw him walking across the campus one day, in a hurry coming back from his mail box on the way to chapel, do a 180 degree turn to apologize to a former student visiting the campus, that he just realized he did not speak to as he passed.  He said in his apology, "It was a mistake of the head and not the heart."  They briefly chatted and he headed on to chapel. 

My friend Dr. H. Ray Dunning had as much impact on my thinking as Dr. G.  I remember a time in an Introduction to N.T. class that he made a particular assignment to be read from Adam Clark's Commentary before the next class.  He asked a major question on this reading, and in the whole class no one answered.  It seems no one had read the assignment.  I, in the style of Simon Peter, decided to venture a guess.  He paused and firmly said, "Mr. Smith, I see you did not read your assignment either."  You can bet I read it before the next class.

Dr. Leon Chambers shaped so many religion majors of my generation in his preaching classes.  When you got out of his class, you knew how to make a sermon outline.  Dr. Charles Childers, Dr. John L. Knight, Dr. Bill Strickland, and Rev. Edward Cox also taught religion classes.  I am grateful for all of them and their positive influence.  I even was able to take an economics class under Dr. A. B. Mackey.  He taught that the Christian way in the market place had to be about excellence and not just about profit.  He said, "The only way that you should trade a basket of apples for a basket of oranges is if it would be profitable for both persons."  He also said, "If the only job you can get when you leave Trevecca is packing sardines in a can, you should get one more sardine in the can than anyone else does."  He was an interesting man and a good man.  Trevecca owes its very existence to him.

Participation is Christian Worker's Association was a good memory.  This included preaching in jails and even street preaching was good experience and a good memory.  Street preaching was not my favorite thing to do.  A few years ago, I met one of my old room mates on the streets of Indianapolis at General Assembly and suggested that we have a street meeting.  "I can preach and you can sing," I said.  He replied, "That was not my role," He said.  "I was always the convert."

I have often said that if you would give me a million dollars to erase my Trevecca experience from my mind and memory, I would refuse it.  Trevecca was a life changing experience.  Even when I returned to get my master's after 23 years of ministry, it gave me a shot in my arm in mid ministry that offered a deepening that I find gratifying to this day.

Where has your ministry taken you?

Pastorates (46 Years of full time pastoral ministry as Senior Pastor): 

1966-1970: Long Creek Church of the Nazarene, Dover, TN.

1970-1972: Catlettsburg Southside Church of the Nazarene, Catlettsburg, KY

1972-76: Church Planting, Woodlawn Church of the Nazarene, Woodlawn, TN.

1976-1980: First Church of the Nazarene, Stillwater, OK.

*1980-1998: Gardendale Church of the Nazarene, Gardendale, AL.

*1998-2007: Mobile First Church of the Nazarene, Mobile, AL.

2008-2013: Faith Church of the Nazarene, Hayden, AL

*The longest tenure at Gardendale and Mobile First than any previous pastor. 

After I retired from Mobile First, I had the honor of being invited back in 2008, a former pastor of Gardendale, to be their job superintendent to finish their new sanctuary.  This was a one year project.  I am humbly grateful for that year. 

Faith Church was a church plant that we sponsored from Gardendale in 1990.  Never thought I would become the pastor of a church that I helped to plant.

Some Church Offices Held

  • District Secretary, 1987 to 1998, AL North
  • District Secretary, 2000 to 2008, AL South
  • District Advisory Board Member, 1986 to 1992, 1994 to 2001, 2005-2008
  • Trustee to Trevecca Nazarene College, 1986-1989, 1992-95, 2000-2004
  • Boards of Ministry (Studies or Credentials) 1970-2008
  • Teacher in extension education 1992-2007
  • Director of Alabama Nazarene School of Ministry 1995 to 2007. (Serving both AL NO and AL SO districts)
  • General Assembly Delegate (1989, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2005)

What are your hopes for retirement?

Writing devotionals for my blog site and e-mail subscribers: http://christourholyway.com

Publishing a devotional book as well as doing some other writing.

Speaking when and where I have the opportunity.

Encouraging younger ministers.

Spending time with my sons and six grandchildren.

Maybe even getting to do a little fishing.

What advice would you give to those currently serving in pastoral ministry?

Love your people, all of them!

Be a servant and serve as one who serves His Lord!

Be present and grateful for the place you serve!  Beware of the wandering eye.  It will cultivate discontent and make you ineffective.

Take your work seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously.  Learn to laugh at yourself.  Keep your sense of humor.

Learn how to let go of negative experiences.  Forgive and harbor no resentments to anyone.  To not let go of the past is to allow it to distort your present and destroy your future.

When you are in a tough situation, identify with your Lord and his life experiences and it will sanctify your own trials.

Inculcate your theology into the person you are.  If your beliefs are merely academic and are not shaping who you are, that can be a serious disconnect.  Let what you believe ever be forming you into a better and deeper person.