In 1966, the founding Pastor of Community Church of God (Rev. Dr. Rudolph Smith) had a vision of a beloved community with ministries bathed in love, fellowship, education, spiritual formation and the spirit of excellence overall. His vision is now a reality and benefits church, city and community. As the second pastor of this great church and the son of the church planter, I have tirelessly sought to further perfect this vision. Personally, Felecia and I have been praying about our future leadership roles in ministry. After much prayer and conversations with family and close confidants, we have concluded that the time has come for a smooth pastoral transition that seeks to fulfill the mission of this Beloved Community.
Indeed, it is time to faithfully appoint and empower a pastoral successor who will provide fresh leadership to the Beloved Community Church of God, Atlanta. Hence, I will retire as your pastor effective June 30, 2020. The Board of Elders has been informed of my decision and are partnering with me to select a new pastor. Pursuant to this task, we will move to seek God’s will and to provide congregational: a) updates; b) “meet and greet”; c) prayer vigils: and d) eventual ratification of the new pastor.
Throughout the years, you have blessed the Smith family in general, and me, in particular. At Community Church, I started in the music ministry and later worked on the Finance and Youth Ministries. Community Church witnessed my academic preparations, graduations, marriage to Felecia, the births of my two children (Allan and Allyson), grandchild (Allan Vincent) and my spiritual call to pastoral ministry confirmed by ordination and installation. With your support and affirmation, I have been blessed to serve as pastor of three congregations: Cove Road Church of God (Lafayette, GA); Cedar Avenue Church of God (Sharon, PA); and of course, my beloved home church – Community Church of God. Each pastorate was God ordained upon my arrival and I believe healthier upon my departure. The year 2020 will mark 40 years of pastoral leadership and the time has come for me to step aside and seek the next promise of spiritual leadership and ministry.
Felecia recently taught a class entitled “Necessary Endings for New Beginnings”. Community, I remain confident that God will perfectly direct our path as we seek future pastoral leadership and the ultimate perfection of the beloved community. Together, we have been through some “trying times” and “times of triumph”, but through it all, we have overcome many challenges by loving one another and trusting God’s faithfulness via prayer, love, charity and worship. It is my hope that you will unify the body of Christ by staying together to witness God’s next move for both the church and the Smith family. We believe God for a new beginning in this pastoral transition.
Finally, my pastor, Dr. Rudolph Smith, taught me a great lesson: “Learn to step up graciously and to step down graciously.” It has been my joy to serve, love and lead Community Church of God Atlanta. This is not an ending but a new beginning for both the Church and the Smith Family. Like my father, Felecia and I are preparing for ministry beyond the office of the Pastor and we further believe that brighter days are sweetly dawning for us and Community Church.
We are excited about the future of our church as we seek an energetic leader who can love, lead and lift you to greater spiritual experiences. As stated, a good transition of pastoral leadership includes the importance of unity, love and faithfulness of the entire congregation. Community, you are a loving and supportive church with a warm fellowship. This church is a place of peace with a genuine spirit of generosity and caring. No pastor could ask for a better people! Felecia and I love you dearly and appreciate much your collective ministry to us!
Rev. Dr. Michael Allan Smith