Christi Smith is the scheduled speaker for the Lenten Luncheon, the fourth of the season, next Wednesday at First Baptist Church in Vandalia.
As the wife of Scott Smith, the youth director at First Church of God, and the mother of their toddler son, 21-month-old Elijah Ford, Christi is a busy young mother and helpmate to her husband. She is also actively involved in the church events, programs, projects and teaching the young, by example.
She has prepared for her service for God since a young age. Meet Christi Smith.
The Early Commitment
“I became a Christian at a young age, and I was baptized when I was 9 years old, in 1991,” she said.
“I actually got baptized on my stepdad’s birthday, so it was really special for me. I always went to church, was always involved in church activities.”
“I knew from a young age, then there was a group, a camp team that came to the camp that I went to.
"I had always been involved in church, and through meeting them, God showed me in the eighth grade what college I was going to go to and that I was going to study ministry from a young age,” she said.
“Even though it took me a little while to figure out what I was going to study in particular, He led me on the path of doing what is called specialized ministry, an emphasis on rural and urban missions, and family counseling.“
”I had some of those temptations that I dealt with along the way, like everyone else, but He always brought me back, so I very much believe the verse in the Bible that they talk about, 'When a parent trains up a child in the way they should go, when they are older, they won’t depart from it,'" Christi said.
“That’s one thing I’ve always held to, especially now that I have a young child myself.”
“When I went to college, Mid-America Christian University (Mid-America Bible College at the time), it was August in the year of 2000,” she said.
“Then around 2003, God called me away from that college for a year. During that time, I was able to serve on staff at my church back home. I was student ministries director and also led worship part-time.”
“The year I left school, Scott came to school at Mid-America, and during that year of transition, God called me back there. He just really placed on my heart that He was a God of completion and that whenever you begin something.
“He calls you to finish it, in some way or another, so He called me back.
“ During the time, Scott was in a relationship. I just thought he was a really cool guy and we had a lot of things in common, but we never really hung out together or talked to each other.
Then, in my last year there, we just became friends. We were in residents assistants together, and in my last semester of college, we began a dating relationship.”
Christi and Scott came here to serve about 18 months ago, in September 2011. Christi helps out with the youth group, serves on the activity committee (for such things as the Valentine banquet and Lenten Luncheons) sings on the Praise Team and helps out in the nursery.
“I just kind of dabble a little bit all over the place,” she said.
She is a valuable helpmate to her husband, who is the youth director, and a devoted and nurturing mother to little Elijah Ford. “It is my goal that we will instill Christian principles into him,” she said.
Serving in the Future in God’s Will
Christi said that while they love their church, the people living in Vandalia and the area, for a long time they have felt God is calling them to move on.
They both have served in youth ministry, off and on, for 10 years. They feel that the world and things today have burdened people, including the young people, with broken relationships, marriages and homes, and other problems.
“We feel that we have come to a crossroad in our lives that we really don’t know how to help them, life-wise,” she said. “Other than pouring into them that Jesus loves them, and that He has amazing plans for their lives, we aren’t really sure that we know how to move on in that.”
Then, while attending a coaching conference to help them in their youth ministry, “Scott attended a counseling class in our spare time,” Christi said.
“During that time, a light bulb just went on, that this was the season that God had prepared for us. We love Vandalia and the people, but we knew that this was the next step for us, that that is where God wanted us to go,” she said.
“So we said, “OK, God, if this is where you want us to go.”
They recognized and took the steps needed. In order for Scott to become a counselor, he will have to obtain a master’s degree. About three weeks ago, Scott was accepted into graduate school.
They will soon be moving to Kansas City to begin their new journey … in the Lord’s will.
“The thing I’d like to say to people is, whenever you aren’t walking in the will of the Lord, you are going to be miserable,” Christi said.
“If you are called to do something the Lord wants you to do, do it. Why? Because, No. 1, you can run from it now, but He is still going to have that calling on your life, and you can run now and regret it later on, or, No. 2, you can follow in His will and not be miserable.”
“We don’t have jobs (there), but we have seen evidence after evidence that this is what God wants for us, so its one of those things that you walk in His will and you trust that He will make provisions for you along the way.”
Her Lenten Luncheon Message – “I Thirst”
“It was of great importance that Jesus always got away (to pray) because He longed for that relationship with His Father.” She said. “So I’m going to talk about the thirst we have inside of out own lives and the desires that God wants to fulfill in our own heart if we just seek Him, and He has the desire to do so much in our lives that He puts that thirst and longing in our lives.
“So I will talk about the thirst and the hunger that we have whenever we don’t feel fulfilled in our lives.”