NOTE from CUMC Leadership: During the last 11 years, we’ve all had a chance to share life with Josh Smith and watch him grow into a husband, a father and an outstanding leader. Over the last week, Josh and Allie have prayerfully considered a new ministry position with a church in Collierville—Grace Crossing. Josh has been hired as the primary teaching pastor at the church.
“They have an elder run model where the elders lead the church and the staff serve in specific roles. Josh will join the church as their primary preacher each Sunday. This is a tremendous opportunity, and it connects to his desire to exercise his teaching gifts. If you have had the chance to hear Josh preach, or simply hear his heart, then this is not a surprise,” said Executive Pastor Scott Lees.
“Josh has added tremendous value to the worship life of Christ Church. He will be missed,” said Sr. Pastor Shane Stanford. “At the same time, we affirm his calling to preach and are excited to see how his family impacts Grace Crossing.”
Josh will serve through December so be sure to let him know how much we appreciate his faithful service to Christ Church as we send him out for this wonderful new calling.
When I came to Christ Church more than 10 years ago to serve as an intern in the Student Ministry, I had only just turned 20. I came to know Jesus in a personal way in my late teens, but I had no idea what it meant or would cost to truly follow Him. Up to that point, I had a firm foundation as far as the central beliefs of the faith were concerned, but it was your own commitment to the Godly work of making disciples that began to actually make me into one.
As I graduated college three years later, Allie and I began to explore what was next for a newly engaged couple with a heart for ministry. That was when you asked me to consider staying on to help with college and young adult ministries. I was so inexperienced and idealistic and really kind of unqualified, but you coached me and believed in me, and I began to grow in ability and humility and pastoral sensitivity. I was moving from a knowledge of the faith to a transformational experience of it. Your love was maturing me as a disciple.
About five years ago, the size of our little family began to increase along with my responsibilities, eventually welcoming two precious daughters, a worship ministry, teaching duties, seminary training and all sorts of other opportunities. As you modeled a commitment to reaching the unreached by doing what no one else was doing, I began to develop a true vision for the Church and an unshakeable enthusiasm for communicating and incarnating the Word of God. Your outward focus was mobilizing me as a disciple.
This hasn’t been just our experience; it’s what Christ Church has always been about: glorifying God as you make, mature and mobilize disciples who love Jesus and love like Jesus.
You’ve taught us that all blessings flow—God’s gifts are given to be given again. And so it is with both excitement and a bit of sadness that I have accepted the call to serve as Teaching Pastor at Grace Crossing Church in Collierville, Tennessee. They share your mission along with all other genuine local bodies of Christ—to glorify God by making disciples. You imparted that passion to us, and we will always honor you as the body that invested in us and prepared us to celebrate the Kingdom wherever we are called. Christ Church is and will always be our family’s first church. It’s where we courted and were married and our girls were baptized. It’s where we’ve made the vast majority of our friendships. It’s where we developed a sense of calling and were equipped and sent out to continue glorifying God. In short, it’s where we became disciples.
Thank you, CUMC, for being a disciple making church. You really do matter.