Conversations: Meet Staff Member Darryl Smith
National Director, Student Venture
Darryl Smith is the National Director for Student Venture, a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ to high school students and faculty. His previous roles, also with Student Venture, include City Director in Chattanooga, Tenn., and Southeast Regional Director. He and his wife, Gwen, have been staff members with Campus Crusade since 1996. Darryl and Gwen have 3 children, Ashley, Elliot and Uriah.
Why did you join Campus Crusade for Christ?
When I joined, I really wanted to go back to the inner city. I grew up in Chattanooga. I wanted to be a part of prison prevention. I thought the way to do that was to target teenagers and give them hope in the gospel. The gospel changed my life. Campus Crusade allowed me to live out that vision in the community I grew up in.
What is a favorite ministry moment?
One of my favorite moments was when Worldwide Challenge came and did an article [about my ministry]. My son was 11 years old at the time. They asked him a question. He talked about students I was discipling that were impacting their campus. He wanted to grow up and be able to do that. It brought tears to my eyes because in the context of living out ministry as a way of life, my son was beginning to have a heart and burden for lost people. He's now volunteering with Student Venture as a 19-year old.
What is the biggest challenge in ministry you face right now?
The biggest challenge is trying to hold onto my passion of leading from God's Word and to continue to think spiritually and not just strategically. It's the nature of the role as director. You sit in meetings and begin to talk about how to strategically do this and do that. I didn't trade my passion in for a profession. I never want to sit in a room and talk about reaching the lost the way that GM talks about making cars. I never want to lose the burden that the gospel is the only hope for the world.
What are you presently learning about God?
I'm learning that God wants me to be so connected with Him that I hear His voice. There are a lot of voices out there to hear. I should operate in light of what He has spoken to me from His Word and hold onto His promises, not just my plans.
Describe a moment when you trusted God for something bigger than yourself.
Becoming Campus Crusade staff members as minorities, we didn't have any contacts. We didn't know anything about raising support. Gwen and I both had good paying jobs and had just bought a house and our first new car. The counsel I was getting from the African-American Christian community was, "You're going to lose your house and car and everything." I remember saying, "God, there's a lot of people who lose houses and cars and stuff every day. If I'm going to lose it following You, that's the way I want to lose it." We've been with Campus Crusade for 11 years. I recall maybe 3 short checks. God has been faithful.