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Teaching pastor shares God's word
In the pulpit
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A teacher by profession, Pastor Darrick Smoke also is a pastor who loves to teach God’s word. “I am a teacher whether at school or at church,” Smoke said.
Although he is young, Smoke loves being a pastor and leading his congregation. He has served as the pastor of the Deliverance Center for all People in Riceboro for the past seven years.
“I grew up in the church and served as a deacon and musician. I have always loved the Lord. He blessed me even in my mess. God has always made a way for me,” Smoke said. “Even when I did not have the money to attend college, God provided for me. Donald Lovette (who was a member of the Liberty County Board of Education at the time) helped me to obtain a $2,000 ‘Promise to Teach’ scholarship.”
 Although his congregation isn’t large, the church family is involved in the community and is very family oriented. Smoke’s wife, Sophia, is actively involved in tutoring.
“The church has an annual coat drive and an elderly ministry. Once a month we assist them with groceries,” Smoke said.
The church also has married, mission, evangelism and youth ministries. “The youth has a group called, ‘Soldiers for Christ.’ They step dance while reciting the books of the Bible,” Smoke said.  “All of the children in the church are on the honor roll. We stress education. I encourage our young people.
“We are a family friendly church and cater to the family. The order is God, family and church. God wants us to overflow in every area. God wants to make us whole. We believe in balance.  We try not to be so busy to the point that we don’t have time for our families,” he said.
Smoke credits his aunt, Shirley Brandon, with being a mentor and spiritual leader.
“She has spoken many things into my life,” he said. His advice to other pastors is to do what God has called them to do.
“Be bold as to what God has called you to do. You must stand firm and hang in there,” he said.
A seventh-grade mathematics teacher at Snelson Golden Middle School, Smoke is a graduate of Bradwell Institute, Georgia Southern and Armstrong Atlantic University. He also is an adjunct faculty member at Waycross College. He relocated to Liberty County with his mother, Liberty County native Willie Ruth Price, when he was three.
The Smoke and his wife Sophia have been married for 11 years. They are the parents of two boys, Darrick Jr. and Jeremiah. Sophia Smoke is a teacher at Liberty County High School and serves as the department chair of the physical science department.
In his spare time, Smoke loves to watch movies, play pool and bowl.
“I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and attending sports activities with my children,” Smoke said.
Smoke also is a member of the Eleven Black Men, a group that is instrumental in helping young males in the community.
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