Paul Smith, A Hardworking Farmer-Preacher

I met Paul Smith at Freed-Hardeman. He came there first in 1935. When I enrolled, Paul returned to finish the third year and continue to David Lipscomb to complete his degree. I spent more time with him when we were together at Lipscomb. He was a man committed to spreading the gospel.

While in Nashville, he not only studied at Lipscomb but also took the Dale Carnegie Leadership course. I’d never heard of that. He invited Gail and me to attend his graduation. It was his influence that prompted Gail and me to take the course a couple of years later.

Paul and I remained friends for the rest of his life. Through his influence, I was invited to the Fairview Church of Christ in Hart County, Kentucky, for a gospel meeting. The meeting ended on Friday night. Paul stood at the closing of the service and said, “Jerrie, you’ve done a good job preaching this week. I’m suggesting the men invite you back soon for another meeting. If you will come again, we’ll advertise. We didn’t advertise this year. I knew you and liked you from our time at Freed-Hardeman and Lipscomb. I’d never heard you preach. I wasn’t willing to advertise the meeting and say we had a good preacher coming when I didn’t know that. But if you’ll come again, we’ll advertise.”

I returned and they advertised. Through his influence, I held meetings at Munfordville in the 1970s. I was there in 1977. They asked me to return for another meeting in 1981.

Paul asked me if I had time for another meeting in 1981. I told him I did.

He said, “Schedule a meeting at the Green County Church of Christ for October 1981.” I did.

I asked, “Who preaches there?”

He said, “They don’t have a preacher now.”

I asked, “Who has preached there?”.

He replied, “To tell the truth, there isn’t a congregation there now. But when you come in 1981, there will be.”

They had the land, a building, and a congregation when I came. They had a metal watering trough for a baptistry.

He knew how to set a goal, invite others to help reach the goal, and give God and others credit for the good things that happened.

He was active in his older years. He related well to young people as well as the old. He wore out cars transporting people to worship. He encouraged everyone to develop the abilities God gave them. Several men are preaching today that Paul Smith encouraged.

Paul Smith’s death announcement appeared in The World Evangelist, December 1999.

The search for the ancient New Testament order concerning Christ and his church came into South Central Kentucky about 1830. Several congregations were established in a few years. Some of these are still alive and well. Most of these congregations have been nourished from the beginning by “farmer preachers,” or men who earned their livelihood by secular means. In most cases, they were paid little by the congregations. Among these “farmer preachers” was Paul R. Smith of Hart County, Kentucky. Born in Hart County in 1917, he attended high school at Hart County High. In 1935 he enrolled at Freed-Hardeman College. But largely because of romantic interests, he dropped out of college to marry Kathryn Russell, also of Hart County. Paul became a successful farmer and farmed until the mid-1960’s when he sold his farm and went back to Freed-Hardeman. Then he went to David Lipscomb to earn a degree. He preached in Metcalf and Hart counties for several years. He also returned to livestock buying and selling to earn a living. In 1979, he helped to establish a congregation in Green County, Kentucky, and continued to work there until his death in 1999. His wife of 62 years had preceded him in death by about four months. One son, Billy Joe, survives. Brother Smith took time for two brief trips to India for mission work. He was an excellent personal evangelist and for several years used the Jule Miller film strips. He later developed a series of lessons which he used very effectively in home studies. About five years before he died, he suffered a stroke and was never able to be as active as before. But he continued to encourage others as long as he lived. He carried on the tradition in the truest sense of the word – “farmer preacher.” May their tribe increase! –Bruce F. Jackson, Minister, 607 Greenview Drive, Cave City, Kentucky 42127

(Visited 242 times, 242 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Disciple of Jesus, husband, grandfather, preacher, barefoot runner, ventriloquist

One Response to “Paul Smith, A Hardworking Farmer-Preacher

  • Tommy Shearer
    6 months ago

    My Daddy’s family was born & raised in Wayne county Kentucky, eastern part of the state. It is pretty much due north from Jamestown, Tn.
    My daddy & my grandfather could have known him. Certainly sounds like a wonderful gospel preached. My daddy didn’t have any formal preaching school experience, other than what he learned from his father, I suspect.
    My daddy was always learning, always studying. In his final days here, which was sept of 2013, I would call him and he would tell me he was studying in Isaiah.
    He was such a wonderful father to us, despite our mother died on thanksgiving day of 1961. Such a tragedy, but life went on, he always preached & taught in the school system and we were raised to be Christians.

    Tommy Lee Shearer