A Conversation with Michael W. Smith, Part Two


It must be tough being on the road and working as hard as you do to keep spiritually connected, how do you maintain spiritual intimacy with Debbie? Isn’t it a challenge to stay consistent?

I hate to go back to communication, but that’s it. As busy as we are, it’s important to stop and talk. I’ll ask Deb, “How are you? What can I do to serve you? How can I pray for you? Are you hurting?” It’s not about me. It’s about giving and serving. We’re very busy with church life; we do that together. It seems we’re always putting out fires or standing in the gap for someone — that keeps us unified, doing ministry together. Life keeps us glued together.

I know you’re a spokesman for Compassion International. Are you able to include your family in that ministry?

I think we all sponsor six kids — Emily, she’s 13, Anna is 15, Whitney is 17 — they all have kids around the world. Deb and I have two and we’re sponsoring a girl who is in the college program. I can’t say enough about Compassion, it’s been a huge blessing in our lives. I’ve seen it in action first hand, especially in South America.

It must be great, passing this on to your children.

Absolutely. They love it.

The very first girl we sponsored, she was six years old. She never knew her father and her mother left her when she was two. Her grandparents raised her. Because I sponsored her, she got saved six months later. I’ll never forget visiting her. Her grandmother was the ultimate grandmother, kissing me a hundred times on the cheek, thinking you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread [laughs]. And she looked at me and through interpreters she said, “I am overwhelmed by the way you love my granddaughter, and you say you know God. I want to know your God.” And she started crying. It was a weepfest, at that little hotel in Wakeel, Ecuador.

The grandmother became a believer; the grandfather became a believer; nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins became believers. Twenty-Two people in the Lopez family became Christians just because one girl got sponsored.

And just a few years back I went back down. I think this was a first in the history of that all-girl Catholic school that they allowed a man to come inside (me) and let me present her with her high school diploma.

That is just one of many stories to give you a glimpse of what Compassion has done in my life.

That is absolutely amazing. I can’t quote the scripture, but the bible says, this is religion, that you care for the widows and orphans. When you think about that, the reality is you reached out to someone you didn’t know, and you saw a whole family’s eternities changed. And who knows what will happen as this family grows and shares their faith in Christ with their families.

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It’s a spillover effect. You never know where it stops. One day we’ll find out.

Let’s talk about Healing Rain. How does that compare to past albums?

It’s obviously not like the worship albums, this goes back to my pop roots; this is more of a pop record. I’m just writing about things that are dear to my heart. Healing Rain, the title song, is probably the “rock” song of the record.

I’ve talked to so many people who have had hard lives, and marriages falling apart, pain and suffering for various reasons. I believe God is in the business of restoring people’s lives, I see it every day. That’s the reason I wrote Healing Rain (the title song); it is a healing song. I’ve heard from many people who were deeply affected by that song.

I brought the album home and my wife snatched it up…

Sorry [laughs].

So she listened to it before I did and I asked her how she liked it. My wife thought the lyrics seemed to be more spiritually “rooted” or “grounded”. She sensed something different. Was that intentional? We’re you writing to connect more spiritually with people?

I just think I write where I’m at. Hopefully as a musician, you get better and wiser — and believe me, I’m still on the journey — and you start to find out what’s important in life and get to the business of impacting the kingdom. I think it’s more mature — I think I can say that with all humility. If your latest work is not your best work, you might be in trouble [laughs].  It’s a real, real personal record that reflects who I am at this point in my life. Hopefully the next record will tap in to something fresh and challenge people in their walk with God.

What kind of music do you like to listen to? What music is in your CD player out in the car?

I listen to a lot of soundtrack music. [laughs] And lately, just returning from the Hillsong conference in Australia, I’m listening to Darlene Zschech, Hillsong stuff. I’m listening to that non-stop. Since I’m also a worship leader at our little church in Franklin, I’m always looking for new songs. Oh, I have the new Coldplay,

Copyright © 2005 Growthtrac.

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About Jim Mueller

bio-jim-muellerJim is the founder, with wife, Sheri, of Growthtrac Ministries as well as Program Director of GrowthtracRadio and the architect behind growthtrac.com. Jim holds a B.S. in business management and is a facilitator for PREPARE/ENRICH, the most widely used customized couple assessment tool. He has authored numerous articles, interviewed leading relationship authors and Christian artists, and has contributed to Dr. Les Parrott’s book, The Complete Guide to Marriage Mentoring. Jim has worked for more than 15 years to help premarital couples and married couples build and maintain healthy relationships.



6:24pm, CDT

A Conversation with Michael W. Smith — Part One


6:24pm, CDT

Sarah Brendel and The Myriad