Benediction of a Legend: A Successor is Chosen

By Dion Evans

(Editors note: Last week The Post published the 1st part of this story, detailing the retirement of Allen Temple Pastor J. Alfred Smith)

Allen Temple, one of the world’s greatest and most recognizable churches, has made a major decision.

They have selected a new Senior Pastor to lead their church into the dawning of a new era and had to go no further than the living room of their retiring Senior Leader – Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr.

dr-j-alfred-smith-jr.jpgOn Sunday, December 14th – after concluding 10 separate Q&A meetings over a one week period with Dr. J. Alfred Smith Jr., Allen Temple was ready to cast their votes for a new Senior Pastor.

Over 1000 members participated in the voting process and Dr. J Alfred Smith Jr. was overwhelmingly declared the new pastor by an approval of 83%. “I am deeply honored. 83% demonstrated some confidence in my ability to lead. I will work not only to become worthy of that confidence but I will work doubly hard to try to win the confidence of the 17% who don’t feel that way at this point. We want to bring the whole church together,” stated Senior Pastor Elect, Dr. J Alfred Smith Jr.Dr. Smith Sr. was asked what top three things his son will have to concentrate on in the beginning of his new pastorate. His answer was priceless, “Number one – listen to the cries of the people.

Number two – listen to the cries of the people. Number three – listen to the cries of the people.”

In response, Dr. Smith Jr. states, “That is really the essence of my dad’s legacy. His ministry is very deep with love and a burden for the people. I have that same intense sense of burden.” Dr. Smith Jr. revealed, “The first 40 days we will engage in prayer to seek divine direction.”

Dr. Smith Jr. is often asked how it feels to walk in the ‘shadow of his father.’ This question seems fair, however, is often used as a vice to discredit his personal calling into ministry. After reading a quote by Guy Johnson, whose mother is the famous writer Maya Angelo, Dr. Smith Jr. learned “he doesn’t walk in his father’s shadow.” In fact, he has been “blessed by the warmth and illumination of his dad’s light.”

He further states, “I thank God for my dad. I am very honored and blessed to have him as a father and as my spiritual and ministry mentor.”

While many are preparing for the transition from Dr. Smith Sr. to Dr. Smith Jr., it is the latter who states, “My dad may be using the word ‘retirement’ but he will not be retiring from this ministry (Allen Temple) he will simply be reconfiguring his role as he provides spiritual leadership. I am keeping him close.”

Dr. Smith Sr. was asked to share his thoughts regarding his son’s ministry and why it was his prayer that his son succeeds him, he stated, “I put everything I had in him and I started when he was a little boy crawling around near my chair. When I had preachers in my home he would learn from them. He has a pastor’s heart and would rather work at a church and deal with the frustrations, tensions, and heartbreaks than to be a professor where you don’t have to deal with such issues. So I knew if the LORD would allow him to come to Allen Temple he could love the people and carry on the tradition and carry out the vision, but it must be the LORD’s say.”

With an 83% approval it seems quite clear – the LORD has had His say. Congratulations Allen Temple and Dr. Smith Jr. May you prosper as the churches in the community ‘walk in your light.’