By Lakewood Baptist Church/Rainmaker PR
GAINESVILLE – Tyler H. Smiley was affirmed as senior associate pastor at Gainesville’s Lakewood Baptist Church on Sunday, Oct. 27. The congregation voted unanimously to support the creation of the new position and to name Smiley to that role.
Smiley’s affirmation will begin a 2-3 year transition for the senior associate pastor to succeed Lakewood’s senior pastor, Tom Smiley, who came to the church in 1990.
His recommendation was vetted for eight months by a 7-member team, affirmed by the deacon leadership panel of 13 and by the 77-member deacon team. Each reached a unanimous consensus to recommend him to the church fellowship.
For the past six years, he has served as associate missions pastor at Lakewood, helping to direct and coordinate the church’s local, national, and global mission work which encompasses thirty percent of the church’s annual budget.
Other ministry experience includes a pastoral internship and interim youth pastor at Journey Church in Centennial, Colorado. He later served as interim pastor of Logos Central Chapel Church in Denver.
Smiley, 32, a graduate of North Georgia College & State University, earned a M.Div. from Denver Theological Seminary, a master of theology from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is a Ph. D. candidate at Midwestern in May 2020.
Smiley, also an author and podcaster, married to Catie Coker Smiley and is the dad to Andrew (6), Matthew (4) and Peter (1).
“It’s a new and exciting day in our 63-year-old church,” said Mark Brown, deacon ministry team leader.
“Tyler is a humble, wise and a thoughtful church man. He’s intelligent, calm, organized, hard-working and well-spoken. He loves people and desires everyone to come to know the saving grace found only in Jesus Christ. We have an overriding peace knowing Tyler is the man God provided,” he said.
“Today we affirm a new direction and celebrate what God has done and focus on what God is going to do,” Lakewood’s senior pastor, Tom Smiley, shared. “But, no ‘goodbyes;’ we have much to do in the coming years joining God where He is working locally, nationally and globally.”
With deep humility, Smiley outlined at the church conference what Lakewood means to him (“…my first church where I was taught about Jesus”), what the future holds (“We will make much of Jesus Christ.”), his commitment to faith and Biblical doctrine (“We will hold firmly to the necessity and authority of God’s word.”).
His personal commitment to the furtherance of the church, he says, is found in 1 Peter 5, “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight; not domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.”