God has blessed Hope Church with a new Senior Pastor & his lovely family, all the way from Scotland. You can read more about Pastor Smart in his biography here.
I was born and grew up in the Scottish Highlands. We were not a family that ever went to Church, but when I was 18 I went to study Chemistry in the city of Aberdeen. There through the witness of a fellow student I came to faith in Christ. After about a year I began to sense God’s call to ministry so I finished the three years of Chemistry for my degree and worked briefly in an oil laboratory. This was followed with six months teaching English in Peru, before I returned to Scotland and studied for a further three years in Edinburgh at the Free Church of Scotland College.
In my first ministry, I spent seven years working mainly in a deprived area or Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, where many people with addictions came to faith in Christ. I was during this time that I went to Colombia to visit a friend who I studied theology with. This is how I met Yazmin, one of his students. After a few years of a long-distance romance we got married and I carried Yaz back to the snowy north of Scotland. In 2005 we moved a short distance north of Inverness to an area called the Black Isle, which is neither an island nor black, but it is very beautiful.
This is where our two boys, Joshua and Matthew were born. Yaz has worked in a local school library and has helped with disciplining some of the young people in the Church. Several years ago she also completed a Master’s Degree in Reformed Theology. During my time in the north of Scotland I was also a chaplain to the local prison and served on the financial, strategic and missions boards of the Free Church of Scotland.
Then in March 2016 doors began to open for a move to Tampa. Although this has been a step of faith we have been filled with so much peace about it and look forward to seeing Jesus move in many people’s lives throughout this great city.
http://youtu.be/trwOvUVrDmc - Hear Pastor Chris Smart & family 'Christmas Video'