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A Visit with David Smith, Director, Austin Baptist Association
by Tom Goodman
February 16, 2012

I want to periodically use LeaderLines to introduce you to some community leaders and opinion makers in our area.  I welcome your suggestions of community leaders and opinion makers you'd like me to interview.

Our first interview was with Donna Houser, principal of Anderson High School.  Our second interview was with Eileen Flynn, faith columnist for the Austin American-Statesman.

Today we'll visit with David Smith, director of our Austin Baptist Association.


David, tell us about yourself and your family.

I was born in Kokomo, Indiana (45 miles North of Indianapolis).  I've lived in Missouri and then Colorado, where I graduated from high school.  I attended Wheaton College, but I ran out of money, so I went home to work and attended the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.  There I worked with the youth at my home church and worked construction.  I really felt called to ministry during this time.  I got an offer to go to Liberty University on scholarship.  Tough semester.  I decided to pursue a degree in psychology and transferred to Baylor where I graduated.

While I went to Southwestern Seminary, I worked as Minister of Education and then Youth for Oak Knoll Baptist.  I met Julie, the woman who would become my wife, at Baylor; but we never dated there.  We reconnected at Disciple Now at her church, FBC Euless.  We got married in '89 and moved to Eastman, GA.  I served as Minister of Youth, Education, and Activites until June of '94.

It was then I came to FBC Dripping Springs and stayed until March of 2000, when I was asked to come on board as director for the Austin Baptist Association.

We have a daughter, Bethany, who is a freshman in high school, and a son, Thompson, who is a senior.  They both attend Hyde Park Baptist School.  Thompson will be attending Dallas Baptist in the Fall.

What is the mission of the ABA, and how do you hope it helps make Austin a better place?

To strengthen existing churches, plant new churches, and partner with the Church in Austin to see Austin transformed.  If we are successful in all three areas we will be in the best position to see the Kingdom advanced in Austin.  If the Church in Austin will work together, we will see great things take place that can only attributed to the work of the Father.

What are your responsibilities as director of the ABA?

I would describe my responsibilities as vision caster, resource, counselor, and mediator.  Whatever the churches need, we will work to find a solution/answer.  The roles listed above can take place with whole churches, pastors, church leaders, and even individuals.  If the church has a need and we can help, we want to serve.

From your vantage point as ABA director, what are the greatest needs of the Austin Metro area that our churches need to be aware of?

The churches need to remember that there are many in our city who need to know the Lord.  It is easy to focus on preference issues and miss the fact that we need to develop relationships with our lost neighbors, co-workers, and friends.  AND seek ways to live the presence of Christ in our everyday lives.

From your vantage point as ABA director, what do you think Austin Baptist churches are doing well?   In addition, what areas do you observe need improvement in our area churches to better reach Austin?

Over the past 12 years, I have seen the Church have a renewed desire to engage and serve the people that live in their area of the city.  The churches are looking for ways to make disciples that live transformational lives.  Lives that are on mission.

You've been doing some work across denominational lines, especially with ABBA.  Tell us what excites you about getting better cooperation between Baptists and other denominations.

Working together with other denominations provides a great picture to Austin of unity.  I believe there is more that unites us than divides us.  As friendships grow and as the Church in Austin becomes more connected, great things happen.  I am so excited about the April 12th Cymbala Prayer event.  How powerful to see churches and members coming together to seek the Father in Prayer!

How can we pray for you and the ABA staff?

For discernment and sensitivity as we serve the Churches.  For an inextinguishable passion to see the City reached with the Gospel.  For wisdom in how to utilize the resources that we have.  For favor in networking the Body of Christ.

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