Zollie L. Smith, Jr., was elected executive director of Assemblies of God U.S. Missions at the 52nd General Council in August 2007. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Team and Executive Presbytery. Smith coordinates the ministries of seven departments: Chaplaincy Ministries; Chi Alpha Campus Ministries, U.S.A.; Intercultural Ministries; Missionary Church Planters and Developers; U.S. MAPS; Teen Challenge International, U.S.A.; and Youth Alive. Currently, there are more than 950 missionaries and more than 600 endorsed chaplains serving under AGUSM, with 5,000 other related field personnel.
Prior to leading U.S. Missions, Smith served as the executive presbyter representing the Ethnic Fellowships and as president of the National Black Fellowship. He served the New Jersey District Council of the Assemblies of God as assistant superintendent (1998-2005) and as executive secretary (2005-07).
Smith served as pastor of Eternal Life Christian Center (ELCC) of the Assemblies of God, Somerset, New Jersey, for 15 years. During his pastorate, the church grew to more than 300 members and completed a $2.7 million educational enrichment center. Prior to ELCC, Smith pioneered a church that later became Plainfield Assembly of God, a New Jersey district affiliate church.
Smith holds a master’s degree in business management with emphasis on nonprofit organizations from Regent University, a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from Florida State University, and a diploma in ministerial studies from Berean Bible College. Smith has spent his life in service as a former police officer/detective, U.S. Postal Inspector, and Airborne infantryman in the Vietnam War where he was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Tell us who is Zollie Smith? Any secret super powers? Items on your bucket list? Crazy God-sized dreams?
Zollie Smith is a born-again believer and disciple of Jesus Christ. I am an African-American 64 years of age, married to Phyllis Smith for 42 years, the father of 6 daughters and 5 grandchildren. A U.S. Army combat wounded Vietnam veteran. Former federal agent and police officer (12 years law enforcement background). Pastored 25 ½ years in New Jersey. I currently serve as the Executive Director of AG U.S. Missions (6 years).
The only super power I possess is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. To establish U.S. Missions as a key player in equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry, especially to “the least of these,” as identified by Jesus.
Bucket list: To tour America and visit its many wonderful sights.
My Crazy God-sized dream is to see many souls come to Christ as a result of my contributions to the ministry.
How did you become the Director of US Missions and what is your official title?
Did you plan to be a part of the ELT?I was elected by my constituents at the 2007 and 2009 General Council.
I have always trusted God to use me in whatever capacity He desired. I desperately tried to honor God in and through my life. When God instructed me to give up my position as a federal agent, the additional $40,000 in pay, and benefits, despite having a young family, I did, because I knew He had something better for me, and He did. It turns out that the ELT was a part of it.
Was it a goal for you to serve in national leadership?
It was not a goal of mine. It was a desire to serve on the national level in any capacity. I never thought it would happen because I did not fit in the traditional mold.
What is your role as the head of AGUSM?
To provide direct oversight over AGUSM in fulfilling its mission/purpose through strategic planning and vision casting.
What does an average day look like in your ministry?
Prayer, various meetings, and systematically seeing that adding value to all our personnel is being accomplished. Resourcing our personnel at every level is a reality and making sure replication of ministry is happening. And of course addressing the unforeseen issues.
AGUSM just celebrated 75 years! As the Assemblies of God approaches its centennial, what are the major challenges facing AGUSM?
The challenge to every organization is staying true to your mission/purpose. It is easy to become sidetracked, in most cases with good intentions; but is it mission driven? The second challenge is good accurate communication. Timely and accurate communication is the glue to keeping everyone on the same page. The third challenge is being accountable and holding everyone else accountable to the mission. Building healthy viable sustainable ministries is essential for positive growth and support.
What are the greatest opportunities?
Unfortunately, sin is always providing ministry opportunities. I believe what we have termed as ministries with compassion (Human trafficking, addictions, persons with disabilities, homeless, hungry, thirsty, orphans, poor, prisoners, victims etc.) has open a floodgate of opportunities. These are the ministries to those Jesus called, “the least of these.” They vary in need, but they are all personal to those who are hurting. They afford the Church a great opportunity to partner together through networking and collaboration with other agencies and organizations to serve those in need that opens the door for the Good News to be shared.
Sometimes when we think of missions, our minds go directly to a foreign country or a faraway place. How do we encourage our churches and other under 40 pastors to view U.S. Missions with the same level of necessity as World Missions?
It is easy, just look at the evening news, or walk outside your door and observe your own community, drive through your city, visit nursing homes, jails, prisons, look at the number of citizens with disabilities, the child that has no parents (orphans), HIV/AIDS victims, alcohol and drug abuses, child abuses, divorce rate, same sex marriages, the gay and lesbian agenda, murder rate, I could go on and on, oh yes! Let’s get personal and look in our own families. Our sinful acts surpass many 3rd world countries. America is in a sin crisis, and it is essential the church recognize it and fight for America by rescuing the hurting with the Good News of Jesus. It is time for the church to become the Good Samaritan to America.
We cannot address missions without also talking about mission and missionary support.
What are the greatest needs in US Missions?
More dedicated laborers. Throughout my years of ministry when I have stayed focused on ministry finances have been no problem. We simply share the need and mission, then God touches the hearts to give. We need more laborers; it is the same cry of Jesus, and the laborers are few. Everyone can not commit to the call of a U.S. missionary because it is sacrificial and that requires faith and trust. We need some of those people, who can trust God to provide while they are busy about His business. He is Jehovah Jirah our provider and He needs to be proved. I know I have tried Him and He delivered in every situation.
What is the state of US Missions?
AGUSM is on the pathway to becoming a viable sustainable division in The Assemblies of God. We are growing daily by God’s grace. We do not see short comings as failures but opportunities to grow and become better. AGUSM is healthy. As it goes through a crucial transition period, we have a solid infrastructure that is becoming more established each day. We believe in our mission. We also believe in valuing our personnel, resourcing everyone and being intentional in healthy replication of ministries.
What can we do to reform the AGUSM support system?
Keep telling our stories of how through approximately 200 diverse ministries people are being rescued, delivered and set free by the Good News of Jesus Christ.
If you could offer one word of wisdom or advice to AG ministers under 40 what would you say?
Let’s partner together in equipping the saints to do the work of the Ministry– the Ministry of Reconciliation. Under Project Giveback AGUSM is poised and ready to partner with our districts, churches and parachurch ministries in mobilizing the saints to do the work of the ministry—That None Perish!!
How can we pray for you and our missionaries serving stateside?
That God will continue to give them holy boldness as they go into the hedges and highways teaching, preaching and healing those that are perishing. That they will be faithful to their calling by trusting God to open doors and provide support and resources as the needs arise. Pray for their families and the challenges serving as a missionary demand.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with the Under40’s today!
You ask some challenging questions! This is my heart and the facts. I hope your expectations are met! Be blessed!
As we prepare for General Council, pray for Zollie Smith, his family, his team, and AGUSM!