Called to Ministry
My name is Keith Smith, and I am called to ministry service. I’m originally from Bronson, MI, and lived there most of my life. I am 52 years old and currently live in Newnan, Georgia. When I was around eight or nine years old, I gave my heart to Jesus. I was brought up in a Christian home and went to church, camp, and Sunday school.
My Grandma died when I was ten, and that started a drift away from God. I had a resentment against him for that. Also, around that same time, I was molested by a neighbor. I believed I wasn’t good enough to be forgiven by God since I couldn’t forgive myself. I became terrified about things but couldn’t pinpoint what made me afraid. By the age of thirteen, my Mom had me seeing a psychologist.
I also had a bleeding ulcer because I worried so much. My doctor gave me two medicines; one to soothe my tummy, the other to quiet my brain. He told me to take them when I started feeling nervous. That taught me to control my emotions by using drugs.
Addiction and A Cry for Help
When I was around 15, I discovered marijuana and found I did not need the prescription any longer. It seemed to be the answer to my problems. It worked for a while, but it came with a lot of negative consequences. There were broken relationships, jails, wasted money, and a loss of time. It also pushed me deeper into self and bitterness against others.
Finally, after my third DUI, when I was in jail, I prayed. It was a simple prayer, “God, help me!” That was it. From that point on, alcohol and marijuana quit working for me. Not that I quit using, it no longer gave any relief. However, I continued to pray.
Set Free and Called to Ministry
On January 21, 1992, I went into a 28-day treatment center as part of my court-mandated punishment. I haven’t used marijuana or alcohol since and did whatever it took. I went to AA meetings and did what they told me to do to get sober. What I found there was a relationship with God that I had never experienced before. Thankfully, I had Christ in my life, because when I got in real trouble, I knew where to turn.
Since then, I have been on a spiritual growth journey. I started going back to church. I joined a Bible study and began the process of learning how to love Jesus, others, and even myself. Christians call that sanctification. I call it learning how to love. When you start learning how to love, you, by default, have to start caring about others. Romans 8:6 is my life verse. It’s a promise to all that if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, you have life and peace. When I start feeling out of control emotionally, I stand on this verse and receive God’s calm. Then, I can press on.
After I got clean, I did volunteer work leading AA meetings at a boy’s prison in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. There, for the first time, I led someone to Christ. I did that for a couple of years; then, I moved back to Michigan. Not long after that, I volunteered at an AA meeting in a regular prison. For the next 10 to 15 years, I did lots of ministry work. I was a facilities manager at a Christian youth camp, taught middle school Sunday school, and coordinated Financial Peace courses at our church. Also, I wrote a book called 101 Strategies To Combat Worry since that was the main reason for my alcohol and drug use. I also started blogging about spiritual tools, although I haven’t written much recently.
Then, we moved to Newnan, GA. While I was at the 12 Step meetings, I noticed people coming to meetings for a while. They were not working the steps, so, after a while, they left. I heard God telling me to write a booklet on how to work the steps, so I did. It is called Jumpstart. I help people jumpstart their recovery, and others use it to help people through the steps as well.
Called to Ministry Training at CLI
Another thing at that time, I heard God tell me to work with an organization called A Better Way Ministries. So, I went to recovery type meetings there as a volunteer. Since then, I also wrote another booklet called On Solid Ground. It is about the first steps in Christianity and how to get your relationship with God, others, and yourself on the right track.
My wife home-schools our son and did our daughter as well. We live on a single income. I’m glad I found these free courses available at Christian Leaders Institute. God has something else in mind for me. I am called to ministry, but I haven’t figured out exactly what that means. That is why I am taking these courses at CLI. Meanwhile, I continue working as a Maintenance Manager and volunteering at A Better Way Ministries.
Learn about ordination at Christian Leaders Alliance.