Steve Smith

Steve and Karon
Karon and Steve

Steve Smith, pastor of GCI’s congregations in Modesto, Santa Rosa and Fairfield, California, grew up in northern Indiana. “It has to be God that brought me to where I am today because it is beyond my expectations. My early life was one of poverty, cold winters, living in a two-room shack, being hungry and embarrassed. The upside is that God was kind to me and wired me as a happy kid overall. Sports, track, cross-country, football, basketball and baseball were a big part of my life opening up many opportunities.”

Steve excelled in baseball. “My baseball career was a highlight for me. Every year I was in Little League I won the batting championship. In seven years playing baseball I never struck out until I tried out for the Pittsburgh Pirates (I struck out much more often in life than in baseball!) My lowest batting average was .556 in the travel league division.”

Steve’s family became interested in the Radio Church of God in late 1957 and began attending in Chicago in 1958. “My interest was generated by the fact that going to church was a parental decision—no questions asked.”

Steve then applied to attend Ambassador College, which he said “was the turning point in my life.” However, his memories of that time are filled with mixed emotions. “My dad died the same day I was accepted to college. Twenty days later I was 2,400 miles from home living in a mansion for a dormitory and off on an incredible journey that I have never regretted.”

Moving from Indiana to Bricket Wood, England was quite a change for Steve, but that was only the first of many more changes. “After graduating in 1968, I entered the ministry. My first assignment was in Atlanta, Georgia—I was told where I was going and what I would be doing and I didn’t disagree.” This ties right in with Steve’s passion, which is “to live in the will of God.”

Steve and Karon have been married for 21 years. “We have five children between us and ten grandchildren. Most of them live in California within easy driving distance, which we consider a great blessing. We love being grandparents.”

Karon is Steve’s “incredibly loving support and partner in life and ministry. Karon has been our youth minister and is gifted with hospitality.”

Steve says what he likes most about being a pastor is “working with people and seeing God’s love for them and how he works in their lives.” Speaking about GCI, Steve said, “What I enjoy most about GCI is our freedom in Christ.”

His most memorable moments as a pastor were “performing my children’s baptisms and weddings.”

Steve is still learning. He has earned a master’s degree in psychology. “I use that as a therapist for addiction and mental health outreach counseling. I devote one day a week to this outreach program. I’m presently in the final stage of getting my California license as a marriage and family therapist.”

Steve is also an avid gardener and loves to be outdoors. His favorite times with God are “in the mornings while on prayer walks.”

4 thoughts on “Steve Smith”

  1. Hey Steve & Karon:

    I greatly enjoyed reading your bio. God has blessed you in many wonderful ways. I fondly remember the many times we were together when I was a DS. I especially thank you for taking me through wine country and your great hospitality! May our Lord continue to bless you as you minister to His people.

    With love in Christ,

  2. Another amazing story…

    What a diversely wonderful family we are. Our respect for the long service years. We are rightly proud of our young, but we must never forget the proven lives that have so positively touched so many other lives.

    Santiago and Elke

  3. Steve, great article …. You have been a blessing to the church. Thanks for taking services in Big Sandy for me after OK’S funeral. Lots of good comments. Tell Karon “hi!”… I have spoken to Elinda a couple of times since the funeral. Keep up the good work! Sonny

  4. Hello Steve & Karon,

    Really enjoyed your life’s writeup. Will always treasure our time together in Alabama. Keep up the good work and if you can find your way back South – the Miller B & B is always open.

    Bob & Ruth

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