I met Bill over 20 years ago, while a teenager, when he came and preached at my home church. I had never heard preaching like his before: funny, earthy, grounded, honest, challenging, and hopeful—all at the same time. From time to time, Bill would come back to our church to preach, and I was consistently challenged and encouraged by what he would share.
Years later, I was considering a major transition in vocational ministry. I was stuck and knew that I needed some advice. One of the first people I thought of when considering who to reach out to was Bill. I remembered Bill's preaching and called him out of the blue, not having talked with him for quite some time. He agreed to meet me for breakfast a few days later.
Not surprisingly, the advice and feedback he gave was funny, earthy, grounded, honest, challenging, and hopeful—all at the same time. It's just who he is. Bill has been a means of God's grace for me, both personally and vocationally, and I'd like to think that as we have continued to meet over the years some of who he is has rubbed off on me.
Dr. Smith has served as founding pastor of Mountainside Communion in Monrovia, California, for the last seven years. Ordained in the Church of the Nazarene, he is also an adjunct faculty member at both Fuller and Azusa Pacific University, teaching courses in congregational mission and Christian vocation.