First United Methodist Church St Pete
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Meet Dr. Gil Smith
Dr. Gil Smith has been a full-time member of this staff since October 1, 2009. He received his education at Tennessee Wesleyan in Athens, Tennessee; and a Masters of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Emory University in Atlanta.
As Director of Recovery Ministries, Dr. Smith has a personal knowledge and experience with addictive issues. After having served 25 years as an ordained United Methodist minister in Tennessee, Gil surrendered his credentials in disgrace due to his addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol. In December, 2000, he entered a Treatment Center in Atlanta where he remained for five months.
Returning to his hometown of Knoxville, TN on a Greyhound Bus, Mr. Smith lived at the Salvation Army and then in a Church Classroom for three months; then on to a one-room apartment where he remained for three years. During that time he worked at his recovery diligently experiencing “grace upon grace” that God so lavishly poured upon him. In January, 2003 he was hired by a large suburban church to begin a Celebrate Recovery Ministry. Over the next 6.5 years, that program grew to a weekly Thursday night attendance of over 400 in worship, with 17 Small Groups, hiring a full-time therapist and administrative assistant.
During the summer of 2009, he and his wife, Cassie, accepted a new position here at First Church in the hopes of beginning and building a new Celebrate Recovery Ministry. This new program – known as CR St Pete - was launched in January 2010 where today it is thriving and growing every Thursday as a holistic ministry of healing and hope for individuals and family members who are struggling with emotional distress and addictive issues.