By Gwen Sisson
American Family Association’s Buddy Smith led members of JOY Club in a time of worship with some of his favorite Southern gospel songs on May 27
After about four or five songs, Smith shared a little about the mission and vision of the American Family Association, where he serves as executive vice president.
“My home base for ministry the past 22 years is American Family Association,” Smith said.
“The mission of the AFA is to inform, equip and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission.”
Smith said he believes Warren Wiersbe correctly concluded that “Christians have a dual citizenship – on earth and in heaven – and our citizenship in heaven ought to make us better people here on earth.”
“AFA believes that God has communicated absolute truth to mankind, and that all people are subject to the authority of God’s Word at all times,” Smith said. “Therefore AFA believes that a culture based on biblical truth best serves the well-being of our nation and our families, in accordance with the vision of our founding documents; and that personal transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest agent of biblical change in any culture. AFA battles daily to restore America’s biblical foundations and to protect families from the immorality that threatens to rob our children of their future. We initiate and work on numerous projects that are specifically designed for participation by people who love God and our nation. I believe that the real and only hope for this nation is found in a loving God and in His people.”
“Rev. Buddy Smith led us in one of the best programs JOY Club has ever had since we have started coming. His message and great singing was a inspiration to all,” said Billy Hill, JOY Club member. “Wish his wife, Carol, could have been with him as she has such a beautiful personality also. I am honored to call them friends.”
Jonathan Homes said, “Bro. Buddy is a great guy. We appreciate his service.”
Smith said the Lord greatly blessed him with loving parents, grandparents and many Christian influences growing up in the “small Mayberry-like town of Ackerman.”
“My adolescent years were the fifties and sixties in the Bible Belt with the foundational pillars of home, school and church still intact and pretty much anchored to the authority of Scripture,” Smith said. “Although I learned a lot about God during the adolescent years, I did not come to a personal and saving faith until my freshman year at Holmes Junior College when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. I discovered that what the cross said over 2,000 years ago it still says today — that God still loves this world and will forgive the sins of those who come to believe in Him with repentance and faith.”
For the past 42 years, Smith has served as an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. He served in pastoral ministry for the first 20 years and the remainder with American Family Association. He also sings baritone with Joyful Noise Quartet, where the group often ministers in local churches and various organizations.
“For me, singing has always been a source of inspiration and joy,” Smith said. “My parents were good singers and I was blessed with an excellent music teacher at church and grade school. I answered the call to preach while in college and earned a degree in vocal music education from Mississippi State University followed by a master of divinity from Oral Roberts University. For me, the calling to pastoral and music ministry have been an outgrowth of my personal relationship and daily walk with Jesus Christ.”
Smith said many years ago he was invited to preach a summer revival at a United Methodist Church. He and his wife, Carol, were singing together in those days and were invited to sing. The county paper carried the announcement for the revival that included an introduction of him as the preacher and concluded as follows: “In addition to delivering the evening message he and his wife, Carol, who have released two albums of Christian music will be singing. The public is invited.”
“Of course, we had great attendance at the revival meeting because of the surprise announcement.,” said Smith.
In the mid-’70s, the Smiths recorded two custom albums in Nashville. We contracted local Nashville studio musicians to play and a couple of these men went on to great notoriety in the music ministry and business. Billy Blackwood, son of James Blackwood of the legendary Blackwood Brothers Quartet, played drums on one of the recording projects.
Today, Billy Blackwood owns and sings with the Blackwood Brothers Quartet, who are this year celebrating 80 years of singing the Gospel around the world. Another notable musician on the recording projects was the pianist, Tony Brown, who for many years traveled as pianist for Elvis Presley and went on to become president of MCA records.
But those who have had the biggest influence on his life are from Ackerman, Miss.: his parents, Marion and Joan Smith; his grandparents, Casey and Grace Smith and Ed and Wilma McIntire; and his wife, Carol Erwin Smith; and his music teacher from church and school, Madeline Wood. Other people who have had a major influence on Smith include the preacher who led him to personal faith in Christ, the Rev. Cecil Williamson; and his mentor, Dr. Donald E. Wildmon.
Today, the Smiths make their home in Tupelo. Their daughter, Stacey, along with her husband, Chip and grandsons Casey Joe and Weston live next door to them in the Plantersville area.
Stacey is a pre-school teacher and director of children’s music at St. Luke United Methodist Church of Tupelo. Chip is a pharmacist who is self-employed as an independent contractor. Their son, Casey, along with his wife, Mandy, and granddaughters Addison Grace and Alexandra Rose live in Northport, Ala. Mandy is director of children’s music at First United Methodist Church of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Casey is a PGA golf professional who serves as director of golf and assistant manager of NorthRiver Yacht Club of Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Smith has volunteered with the Salvation Army as well as local jail and prison ministries. He serves on the board of trustees at Wesley Biblical Seminary in Jackson. He also serves on two national boards of directors. But his biggest priorities includes attending as many extra-curricular activities with grandchildren as possible.
Smith said his future is certain. He plans to continue a commitment he made a long time ago.
“That moment of commitment in my late teens to follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord has led me on an exciting journey, including many adjustments, with Heaven as the final destination,” Smith said. “I want to finish strong as a servant of Jesus Christ. I want to live a life that reflects this definition of a Christian by Billy Graham, ‘Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion — it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.’”