WARNER ROBINS -- It doesn’t take Dale Smith long to get around to the fact the church he pastors, Mount Sinai Fellowship Church, is mission-minded.
He backs it up by pointing to a sister church and orphanage in Kenya, and he plans to send a church planter to the Philippines in the coming year to start a fellowship there.
“Our focus always returns to the work outside these walls,” Smith said. “It’s the work Jesus did, trying to reach people, help them and bring them the Gospel. The underlying factor here is knowing Jesus and a desire to lead people to Christ, make disciples and equip them for the ministry God has called them to.“
For Smith, that includes outreach to a neighboring mobile home park as well as reaching around the globe.
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Locally, he said the church believes in being in the community sharing Christ with others, as well as taking part in social ministries that include a tutoring program on Wednesdays and an upcoming youth challenge service Jan. 21 to provide information about school and higher education.
Smith said the church’s theme this year is “A Year of Excellence,” and he hopes special events and classes blending biblical truths and practical life skills will help many in and outside the small church, especially among the church’s unemployed members.
“Further away, we got involved with the work in Kenya even though we have our own struggles and ups and downs,” Smith said. “The Kenya church has actually grown faster than we have with members walking long distances to attend. They also operate an orphanage with about 30 kids who’ve been abandoned or whose parents have died.”
As for future plans in the Philippines, he said Mount Sinai’s education minister, Keith Dozier, plans to start working there later in the year.
In addition to the mission focus, Smith said the church is Bible-based and praise oriented.
“I guess we’re not your traditional Baptist or Pentecostal church. We’re caught somewhere in the middle,” he said. “We strictly adhere to the Bible and are oriented toward praise and worship and having an uplifting service. Sermons are biblical and geared toward meeting the needs of the flock. As pastor, it’s my role to hear from God and feed his sheep with humility. But we have a great evangelism team, too, and always appreciate our visitors and guests.”
Smith, 58, is a 1974 graduate of Northside High School and served three years in the Army, was in the Air Force Reserve and is retired from civil service. A single parent, he said he raised four children and became a Christian in 1986 following a divorce.
“It’s hard to explain being divorced and being a pastor,” he said. “It’s a very hurtful thing, and I take responsibility for it, but God has called me to be a pastor and that’s what I have to do. I know too well the pitfalls in relationships, and what I’ve been through gives me some understanding and compassion for others, though I certainly don’t ever advocate divorce. But God is able to bring some form of blessing out of the worst we go through.”
Smith, who has attended numerous schools and does ongoing online coursework, said he owes much of his pastoral abilities to the mentoring of area pastors the late Rev. Willie Reid and the Rev. John Thomas.
Aside from ministry, he said his passions are his grandchildren and fishing. As he leads Mount Sinai, he’s confident God is going to use the church.
“You just have to stick with the Bible and the Gospel for what you teach and do,” he said. “You can go with a lot of gimmicks to grow, but you’re better off sticking to what’s true and showing love and compassion. That’s our foundation.”
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.