First United Methodist Church has new minister

The Rev. Mike Smith, center, new pastor at First United Methodist Church, shakes hands with Tommy Sam, who is helping with church remodeling. At left is Mike Massey. 

After 11 years at First United Methodist Church of Ponca City, the Rev. Mike Smith finds a new fit in Muskogee. 

He was recently appointed as pastor of Muskogee First United Methodist Church. He came to Muskogee a few weeks ago.

Smith said he fits Muskogee in a number of ways.

“I’ve been really blessed to see how active the congregation is in doing mission and ministry,” he said. “They invest a lot of sweat equity into their church.”

Church members are renovating and modernizing several children’s classrooms.

“A lot of members are working many hours and very diligently to make it very attractive to children,” he said. “We have a contractor doing some of the major stuff. But some of the painting, some of the decorations, chairs are being painted bright colors by members.” 

Church members also are converting a church library into a “coffee shop” meeting area, with new walls, new flooring and new countertops.

Smith said he seeks to help put the different pieces of ministry together and “weave them into a focused mission of sharing the love of Jesus Christ.” 

He said he sees his primary calling in ministry is to help people become more aware of their spiritual lives.

“How God is calling them to live out the spiritual gifts He has placed in their lives,” he said. “We are born with certain talents, some have artistic abilities, some are engineers. Some are farmers and like to grow things. We also have spiritual gifts. Some are gifted in prayer. Some are gifted teachers. Some are gifted in reaching out to the community and lifting them up, helping feed them, clothe them, improving their lot in life. Helping them see God in their life, to identify God.”

He said he did not discover his own spiritual gift until he was an adult with a career. He worked in the natural gas pipeline industry for about 12 years.

“From the very beginning, I had a realization that God can be personal and speak to our hearts,” he said. “As God worked that out in my life, that’s what I wanted to do — to help others find that in their lives.”

Smith said his family has deep roots in American Methodism.

“Back in 1787, Methodism was still part of the Church of England,” he said. “My great-great-great-great grandfather became a Methodist. He had a conference at his plantation. The conference was instrumental in John Wesley forming the Methodist Church.”

He said his grandparents were Nazarene.

However, Smith said he did not attend church much as a child.

“We were believers, but not active in church,” he said. “When I got married to my wife, her family was active in the church. Through her, I got involved in church.”

He said that experience began a deeper walk with God. 

“I felt called into the ministry,” he said. “I worked as a lay leader in a local church, teaching Sunday school. Out of that grew a deeper desire to do more.”

He went on to be pastor at churches in Hardesty and in Como, Texas. He spent eight years serving in Moreland before going to Ponca City 11 years ago.

MEET The Rev.

Mike Smith

AGE: 60.

HOMETOWN: Guymon.

EDUCATION: Guymon High School, Panhandle State University, Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology.

PROFESSION: Pastor, First United Methodist Church.

FAMILY: Wife, Linda; four children; three grandchildren.

HOBBIES: Reading, hiking. 

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