An interview with Chaplain Smith, honored as the 2016 AGTS Alum of the Year
1) Can you tell me about your involvement as a student at AGTS?
During my three years at AGTS (2002-2005), I served as one of the primary mentors to Chaplain Candidates, facilitating family events to ensure Army, Navy, and Air force Chaplain Candidates developed relationships within the larger AGTS community. My wife, Veronica, worked on staff at AGTS in the Development Office from 2003-2006. Chaplain McChrystal, Assemblies of God Endorser and AGTS Professor, gave me the opportunity to return in 2015 and speak with the current chaplain candidates at AGTS. My time with them brought back so many fond AGTS Memories!
2) Are there memories of your time at AGTS that directly impact who you are today?
AGTS was committed to grooming Seminary students for the path of their choice to prepare them for their next stage of ministry. Particularly, as a chaplain candidate, I had the opportunity to conduct practical military training at Fort Jackson, SC, WestPoint, NY, and Fort Gordon, GA, while gaining elective credits towards my degree program.
One semester, all chaplain candidates had the opportunity to attend Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Chaplain’s conference in California. Again, AGTS allowed chaplain candidates to use that practical experience and apply it towards Seminary credit. We built quality relationships with active duty Army, Navy, and Air Force chaplains during that conference.
I have spoken with countless chaplain candidates, who attended other Seminaries and one thing is evident; AGTS chaplain candidates were significantly ahead of their peers from other seminaries. We received the best training, support, and education.
My experience at AGTS, and the opportunities to conduct military training, afforded me the opportunity to meet professors, spiritual leaders, and military chaplains who shaped how I currently serve as an Army chaplain.
3) Tell me about any adventures, areas of service, new programs you have started, or something else we don’t know about you?
I recently wrote a book, The Image of My Father: Awakening the Champion Within. The book offers solutions for overcoming adversity.
God has always provided me the right solutions I needed to prepare for every stage of life (AGTS was one of them). And, God can do the same for others! As image bearers of our Heavenly Father, we can discover our identity through Him and realize we are more than conquerors. God built us to win! He uses the adversity in our lives to cultivate the character and attitude of a champion.
Dr. Smith was raised in the absence of his biological father, lost his mother early in life, and was told he would never amount to anything. He shares stories of how God took someone experiencing brokenness and through His grace, created a champion.
He believes the stories and examples within his book will inspire people to embrace their true God-given distinctiveness and value their reflection through the eyes of God and awaken the champion within.