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Pleasant View Baptist Church welcomed their new senior pastor, the Rev. Jermaine A. Smith, on July 6. Located at 302 Fincher Road in Covington, the historic church has served the community for the past 156 years.

 A gifted teacher and pastor, Smith is an accomplished musician and served as minister of music at the Light of the World in Stockbridge.

 A native of Lithonia, Smith graduated from Lithonia High School in 1991 and attended Mercer University. He is working toward a bachelor's degree in leadership and administration from Beulah Heights University.

 Smith married his high school sweetheart, Tracee Waller, in 1993, and they have three children. Christian and Trinity are active on the dance team and Zion plays the drums. Smith's biological mother Joyce Henderson, who has always been an important part of his life, recently purchased a home in Covington and is attending Pleasant View.

 An established real estate agent, Smith is employed as a mortgage consultant at Wells Fargo Bank in McDonough. Tracee teaches first grade at Victory Christian School in Conyers.

 Smith accepted Christ at age 6 and answered the call to ministry in July 1993. He was ordained in May 2005 at the Light of the World Church. Smith and his wife served as assistant pastors under the leadership of his late father, Archbishop Jimmie L. Smith and step-mother Senior Pastor Ruth W. Smith.

 Smith believes that in order to be an effective servant leader, one must follow the teaching in 2 Timothy 2:15, "Be diligent to present ourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

 Pleasant View's new vision statement is "leaping beyond these walls" - leading people in the communities, schools, market place and government; evangelizing by communicating the good news of Jesus Christ; assimilating through strategic planning and implementation; and proclaiming by preaching truth in the world and in actions.

"Our desire is to be known for having a genuine love for the people and for the community," Smith said wholeheartedly.

 Smith realized his gift of music at age 8 when his father taught him to play his first song on the piano. His focus as pastor is on teaching and preaching and he plans to have a strong worship and arts ministry.

 "I'm not so concerned with filling the church," Smith said of his immediate goals. "The most important thing to me is having a strong Sunday school and Bible study. That's how you grow a church. The foundation has already been laid for Pleasant View. I am not here to change anything or take things away, but I believe that the Lord has called me here to add and fulfill the mission of the church."

 Smith credits his parents for instilling in him the importance of humility and always being accessible to the people.

  "We offer love and an opportunity for our people to meet the pastor and his family and have a relationship with them," Smith said. "I won't ask anyone to do something that I wouldn't be willing to do. We will lead by example. My cell and home number is printed on the program. I want the people to be able to reach me whenever they need to. That's one thing that my father taught me. Their church has a membership of over 2,000 in Stockbridge and their phone number is still on the church bulletin."

 Trained to operate in excellence, Smith's short-term goals include designing a church logo, building a strong music ministry and a well organized Christian education department. Mid-term goals include paying the note on the church, purchasing a couple of used vans for outreach and negotiating the purchase of surrounding acreage. Over the next five years, plans include a new sanctuary, senior citizen housing and a family life center which will provide classroom space, a fitness center and gymnasium.

 Smith describes Pleasant View's style of service as traditional which transitions into a praise and worship setting with a relevant message from the Bible. Sunday school is offered at 10 a.m., followed by worship at 11 a.m. Bible study is held at 7 p.m. Wednesday. For more information, call (770) 786-3394 or visit