|Pastor Parrish J. Smith, MAFM|
I realize many individuals have life changing experiences; however, on February 6, 1981, I experienced something that would change my life forever. Upon hearing the word of God preached by Pastor E. R. Allen - Staten, pastor of Christ Bible Center. The saints asked if I wanted a gift, sure, I said. Is there any one who doesn't like gifts? I sprang to my feet with excitement. A gift was coming my way; yes, it was a gift, but the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
I began my work in the ministry at the Apostolic Little Rock church, under the leadership of the late Bishop Alonzo W. Moyer, Sr. at the age of seventeen. My former pastor, Bishop Moyer nurtured me, and taught me how to become the man that God wanted. During my tenure at Apostolic Little Rock, I adhered to the word of the Lord and worked diligently, for as the scripture says, "Whatever your hands find to do, do that".
Working in the vineyard became easy for me, being raised in a Christian home, and having single mother who emphasized serving God would pay off. I couldn't understand what my mom was saying, "serving God would pay off" because in my formative years, as a member of Canaan Missionary Baptist church, I thought church was so uncool, a waste of time. Attending church was difficult for me. Sunday school, morning worship, Baptist Training Union and evening services every week. How much could a young boy take? I laugh at it now, but back then, it was too much, so I thought. Can you imagine, a young lad enduring this much church? During the summer months, my siblings and I endured Vacation Bible class, oh and how can I forget, my mom taught Bible Class on Friday evenings at home.
It is humorous now, but God had His hand on my life and I didn't have a clue, Hallelujah. I stopped attending church, it was boring I allowed the cares of this world to take control of my life. However, God had a plan; He was ordering my steps, waiting for me to move in His direction.
In high school, a member of Christ Bible Center asked if I would be a guest at their church, I ignored them. However, one Sunday afternoon I was reading the newspaper and the headlines read, "The world would end July of 1981". The headlines captured my attention, actually it frighten me. I was so afraid I remembered Sister White's words, "You need Jesus in your life, you needed to be saved and filled with the Holy Ghost. That evening, February 6th 1981, I was ready for church. They made an altar call and my hands went up, tears were streaming down my face, I realized I needed salvation. Remember the Gift I talked about, I received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, on the 6th of February. Thank God for His promises.
With the upbringing of my mother and the spiritual guidance from Bishop Moyer, I finally understood where God was taking me. I was ordained an Elder in 1997 at the Apostolic Little Rock Church, where I gained insight and experience as a Sunday School teacher, Youth Department president and assistant pastor under the leadership of the late Bishop Alonzo W. Moyer, Sr.
Without a vision the people perish, Proverbs 29:18, The Lord showed me a vision and on May 1, 2005, I launched and currently serves as the Pastor at the Temple of Promise Apostolic Church. The vision God has put on my heart for this church is "TO BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS SO THAT JESUS CAN BUILD A GREAT CHURCH." Relationships are important in this church. Our relationship to God through Jesus Christ is primary. Second, we take seriously our obligation to build strong relationships among the members. We pray for, encourage and care for each others. Third, we understand the importance of building bridges to those friends without Christ so they may be brought to our Lord.
Because of God's grace, I also have the opportunity to serve in the capacity of Executive Secretary of the Illinois-Wisconsin Diocese of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc. (COOLJC).
This ministry is of a holistic belief, ministering to encourage individuals both spiritually and naturally. Naturally, I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from the Industrial Engineering College of Chicago and in 2012; I graduated from Keller Graduate School of Management to acquire my Master Degree in Accounting and Financial Management.