Our Pastor

Stephen A. (“Steve”) Smith was born to Sammie Lee Smith, Sr. and Patricia Howard of Jacksonville, Florida.  He is the first son of six children born to this union.  Receiving his early high school education from Stanton College Preparatory, one of the most prestigious public schools in America, he furthered his education at Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida where he majored in Information Studies (Information Technology) and minored in General Business.

While at Florida State, he held leadership positions within many organizations such as Senate President and Pro-Tempore of FSU Student Government Association, Junior Vice-Polemarch, Southern Province of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Garnet & Gold Key Honor Society, and Burning Spear.  He was also very active in community and civic service, volunteering at the Springfield Boys & Girls Club and tutoring for the Anderson Chapel After-school Achievers; spearheading the Arrive with Five Election Campaign and volunteering on numerous political campaigns.

After returning to his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, Pastor Smith gave his life to Christ and on October 5, 2003, was baptized with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking with tongues. Thereafter, he began to learn of the Lord as he continued his post-baccalaureate studies. He began graduate school at the University of North Florida, majoring in Criminal Justice and working as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. In January 2005, he discontinued the masters program to pursue his juris doctorate at Florida Coastal School of Law.  Simultaneously, he clerked for his mentors at Lawrence & Parker, P.A. from 2005-2010. As a law student, he was involved with the Willie Gary Football Classic, the Black Law Students Association, and the Christian Legal Society. In addition, he participated in the Florida Coastal Juvenile Law Clinic for two semesters before an externship in the felony division of the Public Defender’s Office. He graduated from law school May 2008 with Pro Bono Honors, then sat for and passed the Florida Bar Exam in July 2008. He was admitted into the Florida Bar on August 20, 2010, and immediately started his firm: The Law Offices of Stephen A. Smith, LLC a full service law firm, primarily practicing in the areas of family law and personal injury law.

In the Jacksonville community, he is the past-president of the D.W. Perkins Bar Association, a civil rights organization which consists of Jacksonville’s black lawyers and judges. He is a member of the Jacksonville Bar Association, the Jacksonville Justice Association, the Florida Justice Association, the National Bar Association, and The Florida Bar, appointed to the Law Related Education Committee, and the Fourth Circuit Grievance Committee, providing oversight for lawyer conduct.

Pastor Smith was licensed as a minister of the gospel by the S.D. James Evangelistic Association and its Evangelistic Pentecostal Churches, Worldwide in the 2009 International Winter Campmeeting. Subsequently, on June 21, 2015 he was ordained and appointed pastor of Hephzibah Evangelistic Pentecostal Church in Jacksonville, Florida in the 2015 International Summer Campmeeting. It was at this time he was anointed by the Horn of the Prophet and the Lord changed his name to “Gabriel” after the likeness of the Angel of His presence.

Pastor Smith is proud of his local church where he has served as an usher, a deacon, president of the Men’s Auxiliary and Chair of the Board of Trustees. He is a sought after public speaker and mentor to at-risk youth in the community using his personal testimony to inspire others to see and unlock the greatness within themselves. He is married to Alexandria Smith, and they reside in the Historic Springfield community with their daughter Alia Grace.