R. David Smith, a “first-wave baby boomer” was born in Georgia Baptist Hospital in his native Atlanta, Georgia, and attended City of Atlanta Schools, graduating from high school in suburban Cobb County. Both his parents are Atlanta natives as was his paternal grandfather.
David first came to UFMCC in 1975 at MCC Atlanta when he was writing a paper for a Sociology of Religion class at the University of Georgia. He has undergraduate degrees in Psychology and in Journalism/Public Relations. He did not begin attending MCC again until 1985 in Washington, DC, where he eventually served as Vice Moderator of the Board during the building campaign for their current home and as Chair of the Ministry Support Team. He was also active in EXCEL retreat ministries.
In 1989 David acknowledged the call to full time ministry he had first received at age 18 and decided to attend Wesley Theological Seminary (United Methodist) with special focus in church growth and Biblical studies. He completed his MCC education requirements through the proficiency system combining 72 hours of seminary coursework, secular job experience, graduate school courses in adult education and Samaritan coursework. He became pastoral leader of MCC Baltimore in 1994, became licensed clergy in 1995, was ordained in 1996 and served there as pastor for a little over 15 years. During those years he served on the Mid-Atlantic District Committee, was founder and Co-chair of the Finance Team and chaired the conference team five times. He received the denomination’s “Turn Around Church” Award in 1999. With his leadership the congregation bought and renovated their first property in what was formerly a garage and printing company and planted two new works. David served on the pastoral team at Vision of Hope MCC in Lancaster, PA, from 2009 until 2011. He took a leave of absence from parish ministry from 2011 until 2015 frequently accepted invitations to preach at MCC churches and officiate at wedding and funeral services. He has long had an interest in transitional ministry, was initially assigned to MCC Baltimore to do interim pastor work, and took our denomination interim ministry specialist training in 2011 and again in 2015 to prepare for future opportunities He was appointed as the interim pastor of St. John’s MCC in Raleigh, NC, in March of 2016, to assist that church with an intentional year of transformation after the conclusion of a long term pastorate and before they call a settled pastor in 2017.
His secular careers have included association work in public relations and meeting management at The Nature Conservancy, University Housing at The American University, HIV prevention planning and grant management and reporting at the Maryland AIDS Administration, and most recently as a Housing Program Case Manager with individuals who have experienced homelessness.
He describes himself as a Biblically rooted socially progressive evangelical intent on sharing the good news that Jesus the Christ came so that the whole world might be saved. He believes we are just beginning to understand the full meaning of this radical message. David was raised as a “liberal Southern Baptist” in a church which has since been disfellowshiped from the Georgia Baptist Convention and is now an affirming congregation with a female senior pastor. His husband of almost 27 years prior to his death in 2013 was a Pentecostal Charismatic and David attended 17 “Charismatic Conferences” and “All Nations Gatherings” at MCC Long Beach, now The Glory Center. He is a graduate and served on the faculty of The Apostolic Center from Training and Sending (ACTS), the educational branch of Encounter International, and taught the bible books of Hebrews and Hosea, and Prophetic Preaching. He has had the opportunity to travel to and preach in three cities in South Africa as well as seven states and the District of Columbia. He affirms the “fivefold” understanding of church leadership (found in Ephesians 4:11-16) and believes in the full operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (found in 1 Corinthians 12) in contemporary times.