SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Major J.P. Smith is a seasoned combat veteran, an author, holds a Ph.D. and is an ordained minister. He has also been a U.S. Army Chaplain for more than ten years.
Smith is a 2005 graduate of the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary and will be honored during Evangel University’s Homecoming 2016 Celebration as the AGTS Alumnus of the Year.
The presentation will be made during an 11 a.m. luncheon on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the University Plaza Convention Center.
Smith credits AGTS with giving him the type of opportunities that helped shape his career. While pursuing his degree, he served as one of the primary mentors to the Chaplain Candidates.
“AGTS was committed to grooming seminary students for the path of their choice, to prepare them for their next stage of ministry,” said Smith, who currently serves as Deputy Division Chaplain, 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
“I have spoken with countless chaplain candidates and one thing is evident. Chaplain candidates [from AGTS] were significantly ahead of their peers from other seminaries. We received the best training, support and education,” he said.
Overcoming his past
Dr. Smith was raised in the absence of his biological father, lost his mother early in life and was told he would never amount to anything. In his new book, The Image of My Father, he shares stories of how God took someone experiencing brokenness and, through His grace, created a champion. (See below)
Overcoming all odds, he now holds two Master’s degrees, one in Divinity, and the other in Theological Studies. He also earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in Organizational Leadership from Regent University.
“During my time as an Army chaplain, J.P. served as my chaplain assistant,” said Dr. Steven L. Jordan, U.S. Army, retired. “[He] is a person of high moral character, with impeccable work ethic and intellectual capacity.”
During Smith’s 22-year military career, he has earned the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Unit Award and the Army Good Conduct Medal.
He has served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his most recent deployment, he served as the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan Command Chaplain.
Summarizing Smith’s strengths, Dr. Jordan added, “He has a caring and compassionate personality and a genuine ability to holistically create meaningful connections with the troops and their families.”
Chaplain Smith has exhibited great leadership ability, facilitating the first Afghanistan National Army Special Operations Command Religious Cultural Advisor Interfaith Dialogue, a two-day event that gave support teams the opportunity to meet and build relationships.
He has also been the guest speaker for the Special Operations Joint Task Force Religious Leaders Summit, as well as at the Issachar Awareness International Leadership Summit, both in Afghanistan.
Chaplain Smith’s wife, Veronica, worked on staff at AGTS in the development office from 2003-2006. They have three children ages 6 to 16.
EU Homecoming 2016 honorees
Four additional alumni awards will be given during this year’s homecoming celebration. The recipients were chosen by the Evangel University Alumni Association Board of Directors:
- Evangel Distinguished Alumnus – Brigadier General Jeffrey Johnson
- Evangel Outstanding Young Alumnus – Chaplain (Captain) Delana Small
- CBC Distinguished Alumnus – Greg Beggs
- CBC Outstanding Young Alumnus – Andy Estrella
For more information, contact the AGTS Alumni Relations Department at (417) 865-2811, ext. 8822.
The Image of My Father, by J.P. Smith is now available in eBook form through Amazon and Barnes and Noble at the links below.
- Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/the-image-of-my-father-j-p-smith-phd/1124824006?ean=2940156958276
- Xulon Author Page (Paperback): http://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781498484091