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Pastor of The Week: September 13, 2012

caines | 9/13/2012, 5:30 a.m.

Rev. Smith: The church is the people not the building

When most people think of a church, they think of a building they go to on Sundays to fellowship and hear the word of God. But biblically speaking, the church is a group of people who were called and baptized in the name of Christ to teach and live by His standards. From the Pastor, choir members, usher board, Sunday school teachers, to the men, women and children sitting in the pews. The church is its members. This concept is very familiar to Pastor Ronald Smith of the Community Bible Baptist Church in Richmond Heights. He and about 300 church members meet up at Dorothy M. Wallace C.O.P.E. South Center, a school for pregnant girls, on Sundays and Wednesdays for church service and Bible study. Although they own a church building, they have yet to have church services in it. The structure of the building is complete, but the inside has about 30-40 percent of work left to be done, according to Smith. "On 152nd street there is our church building," he said. "But God is building our church because the church consists of the people that are called for God's purpose." Smith continues to lead his church as they patiently wait for the time when they will get to praise God in their church building. Although meeting at a school has been limiting, Smith said he believes that the church has been growing. About five new members joined over the past couple of months and other members are becoming more involved in the church. Smith said his main focus is developing Christian character. Those who shall see Christ will be just like Him, he said. He also believes in going into the community to evangelize. There were times where he and church members passed out water and biblical verses to community members and knock on doors to evangelize, according to Smith. Doris Wheary said she was very impressed when she joined the church two years ago, because they put a lot of emphasize on praying and reaching out to people. She said her pastor is a community pastor because he not only counsels and makes himself available to his church, but he also counsels other community members, too. He's known for presiding over funerals of community members who don't have a church home. Smith grew up in the Richmond Heights area. He attended Glendale Missionary Baptist Church for 29 years. He served as a choir director and a minister there. After hearing Gods call to start his own ministry he started a community bible study in Richmond Park. Within a year, on Dec. 10, 2000, the Bible study became a full church, according to Smith. Although it has taken the church more than two years to be completed, Smith remains hopeful. God always fulfills his promise, he said. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com