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AGTS Alumni Perspective: Rev. Michael Smith

Name: Rev. Michael Smith, MLM, PCC

Graduation Year: 2020

Major: Master’s in Leadership and Ministry

Current Position: Professional Leadership, Business, and Life Coach. Lead Pastor

City and State: Plainfield, IL


Tell us about your career and what you do now.

I currently serve as the President of Professional Coach University (PCU). PCU offers professional coach training to coaches and aspiring coaches through the Professional Coach Training Program. Completing one of our programs prepares you to submit an application for a coaching certification with Professional Coach University, the International Coaching Federation, AG Coaching, and other coaching organizations. We also deliver high-level professional coaching to pastors, churches, and business leaders.

I serve as the Executive Director of New Normal Coaching (NNC). NNC is a charity offering no-cost and low-cost coaching to pastors and Christian leaders.

I serve as the host of Your Discipleship Coach: A radio program in Chicago and podcast.

I serve as the Lead Pastor of Northwest Church in Mount Prospect, IL.

I currently teach as an adjunct professor at Kenya East Africa School of Bible and Theology, and at Evangel University with the College of Online Learning.

What is your favorite memory from AGTS?

I have several fond memories of AGTS, yet one stands out. Dr. Oss, through his keen observation skills, identified that I was a musician. In learning that I had been a professional trumpet player, Dr. Oss asked if I could repair his trumpet. The next day, he brought the trumpet to class, and I repaired the trumpet while Dr. Oss lectured. At the end of class that day, Dr. Oss asked me to play the trumpet. Well, just after class ended at 5pm I played a few jazz licks on the trumpet. Some students burst into our classroom with laughter. When we inquired as to why they entered our classroom, one student responded, “Well, we just started a discussion about the trumpets in the book of Revelation and heard you playing the trumpet. We assumed it was planned.” It was not planned, but what a fun memory.

How did AGTS help you identify/develop your calling?

I began my academic journey at AGTS after 22 years of full-time pastoral ministry. Continuing as a full-time pastor, I applied my learning in my ministry context. As I journeyed through the MLM program and began my DMin journey, God clarified and affirmed my professional assignment to lead, coach, and teach. I continue serving as a lead pastor today while stewarding opportunities to serve outside the context of one congregation. I coach, train, and mentor several churches and congregations throughout the Assemblies of God.

AGTS afforded me opportunity to grow spiritually while growing mentally through the MLM program. As a result, I experienced advancement in my coaching endeavors, speaking engagements, and teaching and training opportunities.

How did your experience at AGTS prepare you for life after graduation?

The faculty, fellow students, and my academic program at AGTS helped me develop research skills to gain a clear Biblical and academic perspective of Scripture and contemporary issues. I learned to synthesize material and see its interaction with theology and the Word of God. This supports my development as a preacher, professional coach, teacher, and leader.

What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?

God is more interested in your relationship with Him than your accomplishments. Invest in your relationship with Christ. Learn to abide in Him. Allow God to search your heart. As you excel in your job, do so with humility and the heart of a servant. Reflect Christ in all that you do. Focus on the mission of God to bring the gospel to all people groups.

What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from AGTS?

I look for Authenticity. I look for people who are not trying to impress me, but rather who look to discern God’s will. Four things I look for are:

  1. Character: Does the individual have Godly character and a heart to help others win. Is the person a team-player who prioritizes the team win over personal gain?
  2. Competence: Does the individual have the skills required for the job?
  3. Chemistry: Does the individual fit in the culture and team environment?
  4. Capacity: What capacity does the leader have to learn and to grow? What potential exists within the leader?