Just to share a bit about myself and my family.My name is Tom Smith and I was born in a small town in central Arkansas.That’s where I met Margaret, the love of my life for 38+ years before she suddenly passed away with a heart attack in 2012. Thankfully, the Lord later on led someone else named Debbie, from my hometown, into my life to share in this Journey with me.
The Lord blessed Margaret and me with three sons–-John, Bill and Joshua–-and two daughters-in-law named Lianne and Danielle. We now have seven grandchildren ranging in ages from 10 to 1.
I was saved at the age of seven, at Kerr Baptist Church in Kerr, Arkansas, and I surrendered to preach at Eastside Missionary Baptist Church in Lonoke, Arkansas, on August 24, 1968. I attended Ouachita Baptist University, in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and received my B.A. degree in religion in 1975. I attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and received my M-Div. in December 1978. Below is a sketch of my ministry-experience:
I was appointed as missionary by the Foreign Mission Board in May 1989, and served in the Philippines from October 20, 1989 through December 31, 1999. The last time we were home on furlough, and after much prayer and meditation, Margaret and I made the decision to come back to the States and make Arkansas our home once again. It was not as hard to leave the ‘place’ we had called home for ten years, as it was to leave the people we had served, worked with, prayed with, worshiped with, and built close friendships with, but I believe the Lord always has a purpose for our lives, and He led me to begin “Back to Bethel Ministries” as a revival/evangelism ministry to churches, both here in the United States and literally around the world, assisting pastors in India, Africa and the Philippines.
In conclusion, after having been overseas for ten years, I came back with a different perspective on how God is at work all around the world. Thus, I pray that the Lord will use me to stir the hearts of the churches that they might once again have a passion for Him and the lost that may have waned in recent years.
My Ministry Experience
- I am currently the full-time chaplain at the 188th Wing, Air National Guard, in Fort Smith, AR, and also serve as the command chaplain for the Arkansas National Guard on drill weekends.
- Bi-vocational pastor of Vine Prairie Baptist Church, Mulberry, Arkansas (Feb., 2013-present)
- Pastor of Open Door Fellowship, Coushatta, LA, which first began meeting on July 27, 2008 and officially organized into a new church on Nov. 9, 2008.
- Pastor of First Baptist Church in Coushatta, LA, from July 18, 2004-July 20, 2008.
- Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Gillett, Arkansas from July, 2002-July, 2004
- Full-time evangelist with “Back to Bethel Ministries” from Feb., 2000-July, 2002.
- Appointed as missionary by the Foreign Mission Board in May 1989
- Served in Ormoc City, Leyte, Philippines from October 20, 1989-December 31, 1999 as Southern Baptist missionary
- Pastor of First Baptist Church, Bentonville, AR., from December, 1983-July, 1989
- Pastor of Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Shepherdsville, KY., from Aug. 24, 1975-Dec. 5, 1983
- Ordained by Cedar Grove B.C. in November, 1975.
- Evangelist on the Ouachita Baptist Univ. Contact Team, Summer, 1974
- Intern and Acting Association Editor of the Western Recorder, Middletown, Ky. June-September 1975
- Interim music director and pastor at Cedar Grove Baptist Church, Shepherdsville, Ky. June-August, 1975
- Chaplain in the Kentucky Air National Guard, Louisville, KY., July 1980-December 1983
- Chaplain in the Arkansas Air National Guard, Ft. Smith, AR., December 1983-July 1989, Feb., 2001-present.
- Served as Missionary-in-Residence for the Arkansas Baptist State Convention from 1993-94
- Special training: Trainer for the course, “Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training.” Critical Incident Skills Management ( CISM ) and Trained Crisis Responder training. Graduate of Air Command and Staff College and Air War College
Thumbnail Sketch Of God’s Blessings In Ministries
Cedar Grove Baptist Church-The church was averaging 50 in Sunday School and 10-12 on Wednesday nights when we arrived in August, 1975. Because of God’s blessings, we began to grow and in June, 1979 we moved into a new building that housed a 300-seat sanctuary and educational facilities. We also set a new record for high attendance in S.S. with 235, in addition to being in the top 20 churches in Kentucky one year with 57 baptisms and 51 additions by letter. We also saw our budget receipts grow from $18,000 in 1975 to over $100,000 in 1983.
First Baptist Church, Bentonville-When we arrived in December 1983, the church was reeling from a major crisis and there was much discouragement. The S.S. attendance was only around 260-275. The church was also in debt over $250,000. Yet, once again, God was faithful and we saw our indebtedness retired in less than two years. We also saw God bring healing to the Body and we averaged 125 additions each year during our 5 ½ years there. One year we were also in the top 20 churches in Arkansas in baptisms, with over 70. We also saw our budget grow from around $275,000 in 1984 to over $500,000 in 1989.
Work in Ormoc City, Leyte-Upon our arrival in Ormoc City in April, 1991, there were only two small, struggling Southern Baptist churches on the whole island of Leyte, which is the size of Delaware and a population of over 2 million people. Again, God was faithful and we began to grow. In October, 1992, we organized the Leyte-Samar Baptist Association (LEYSAMBA) with eight churches. Today there are more than 30 churches in Leyte and five churches on the neighboring island of Samar. In 1997 we opened the Lighthouse Christian Ministry/Resource Center in downtown Ormoc City and anticipate that a new church will be organized as a result of that ministry in 2000. We also had a weekly, 45-minute radio broadcast in Ormoc since April, 1997 and saw many people coming to Christ as a result of this. We also were able to establish an Associational Campground, which now includes a tabernacle, kitchen, restrooms, cottage, prayer chapel, two 80-person capacity dormitories and basketball court. Plans call for the establishment of an agricultural demonstration farm, situated on 8 acres, which will be used to train Filipinos (free of charge) in scientific farming techniques. It will also be used as a means of evangelism and leadership development.