Clay Smith introduced as senior pastor candidate for Johnson Ferry

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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 5:50pm on July 15 to reflect that Bryant Wright will stay on staff at Johnson Ferry alongside Smith from Sept. 8 until early December.

MARIETTA — The search team for Johnson Ferry Baptist announced yesterday, July 14, that North Carolina pastor Clay Smith will preach in view of a call on Aug. 4 to occupy the pulpit currently filled by Bryant Wright.

Clay, Terrica, Madison, Molly, and Miller Smith JOHNSON FERRY BAPTIST CHURCH/Provided

Smith, who currently serves as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Matthews, North Carolina, is an M.Div graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Currently he is pursuing his Doctorate from the Fort Worth school.

In addition to serving at First Baptist since August 2014, the South Carolina native’s ministry experience includes being the minister of adults at Shandon Baptist in Columbia, South Carolina from 2008 to 2014, and associate pastor, outreach and education at Alice Drive Baptist in Sumter, South Carolina from 2005-2008.

While in seminary in Ft. Worth, Clay served as an intern to senior pastors Jack Graham and David McKinley at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas from 2002-2005.

“We firmly believe that He has led us to this point,” Smith said in a video presented to the church on Sunday, “and are so excited about all that He is doing and will continue to do at Johnson Ferry.”

“We believe this is a move of God, and that our best days as a church are ahead of us,” he added.

Smith and his wife Terrica have three children – Madison, Molly, and Miller. In his spare time, his hobbies include running, playing golf, reading history, and looking for great greasy spoon restaurants.

“There’s no doubt in our mind that Clay Smith is the man that God has chosen for this role,” Bryant Wright, senior pastor and founder of Johnson Ferry in 1981, said. He will be sharing pastoral responsibilities with Smith from Sept. 8 until early December. Wright, also a South Carolina native, announced his impending resignation in Nov. 2018.  

On Aug. 4, Smith will preach in all five services at Johnson Ferry in view of a call to become the church’s second senior pastor. After he preaches, the church will take action on his recommendation.

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