Ever considered opening a church between a liquor store and a tattoo parlor? Shane Smith has, and good things have happened.
From the beginning, Shane Smith’s education and career have been a bit non-traditional. Shane is a graduate of Roberts Wesleyan College’s Organizational Management Program. He has additional graduate degrees in youth ministry and theology from Huntington University (Indiana) and Northeastern Seminary, and today he finds himself pastoring a growing and vibrant Church Radiant in Chili, NY in the former Carriage House.
Shane began ministry as a youth pastor, but it was a trip in February of 2009 to Uganda Africa that changed everything:
“In February 2009, I went to Uganda Africa as a part of a ministry team. Upon returning, God began preparing me through various ways to serve as a lead pastor. At that time, I had been in youth ministry for 15 years, and just began leading a congregation on Saturday nights. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but God had been speaking to my heart for months. During a fishing trip on Lake Ontario later that same year, my District Superintendent helped me to ‘step out’ of a different boat as I accepted the call of God to plant a church on the Westside of Rochester.
“While meeting at a few different area hotels, we started looking for venues to rent. After a few closed doors, space became available in a new strip mall on Elmgrove Road in Gates, NY. The interesting fact of that location was that we were positioned between a tattoo parlor and a liquor store. I would not have had it any other way!”
Within weeks of opening their doors, people were just stopping in. A despondent and suicidal couple, whose son had recently died, chose to enter the church rather than the tattoo parlor. They gave their lives to Christ and are key members of the church today. God used that location in miraculous ways and the church grew.
In March 2012, the growing church moved to the former Carriage House in Chili. The commercial kitchen and expanded room have given Church Radiant many new opportunities to minister to the community.
The name Church Radiant comes from Paul’s Epistle - Ephesians 5:25 – 27. Interestingly, the new address on Paul Road in Chili is 525 Paul Road.
Shane is married to Kelly Smith’07 (Associate Vice President for Government, Corporate, and Foundation Relations at Roberts). They have two children, Allison (a freshman at Roberts) and Keegan. They live in Scottsville, NY.
For more information on Church Radiant, visit their website.