Montreat College will host Rev. Rufus Smith, senior pastor of Hope Church in Memphis, as this year’s Calvin Thielman Lecture Series speaker. Rev. Smith will speak in Montreat College’s Graham Chapel at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4 and at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5. Both events are free and open to the public.

“We are thrilled to host Rev. Smith as our Thielman Lecture Series speaker,” says David Taylor, Montreat College dean of spiritual formation. “His message on the Gospel’s power to build bridges across the political, social, ethnic, and economic divides of our day will resonate with our campus and local communities.”

Rev. Rufus Smith, IV is the senior pastor of Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the largest 100 congregations in America. He joined Hope’s staff in September 2010, and in 2013 was elected to succeed the founding pastor of 25 years, Dr. Richard Craig Strickland. For nearly 12 years, Rev. Smith was the senior pastor of The City of Refuge (COR) Church in Houston, Texas, an inter-racial, inter-generational, biblically-centered and socially active fellowship.

Prior to being called to Memphis, Rev. Smith was the founder and CEO of the FORGE for Families (FFF). The FORGE employed athletics, after-school enrichment, adult life-skills, and entrepreneurial programs as a means to empower at risk families. For three years he was the lead chaplain for the NBA’s Houston Rockets, and he continues to advise other local/national boards. He studied at Houston Baptist University, majoring in theology and psychology, and maintains an active traveling and speaking schedule.