Hope Church Staff • Senior Leadership at Hope Church


Rufus Smith

Senior Pastor

All Staff, Executive Staff, Preaching & Teaching Team

Rev. Rufus Smith, IV is the Senior Pastor of Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the largest 100 congregations in America. He joined Hope’s Staff in September 2010 as Associate Pastor of Discipleship and in November of 2013, was elected to succeed the Founding Pastor of 25 years, Dr. Richard Craig Strickland. For nearly12 years he was the Senior Pastor of The City of Refuge (COR) Church in Houston Texas, an inter-racial, inter-generational, biblically centered and socially active fellowship. Pastor Smith believes that the authentic and attractive gospel of Jesus Christ consists of three things equally necessary: preaching (the proclamation of a person); teaching (the explanation of principles) and healing (the mitigation of human pain).

Prior to being “called” to Memphis, he was the Founder and CEO of the FORGE for Families (FFF). The FORGE employed athletics, after-school enrichment, adult life-skills, and entrepreneurial programs as a means to empower “at risk” families. In 2010, they successfully completed a $6,000,000 million dollar capital campaign and built a 40,000 square foot Family Life & Educational Center debt free! For three years he was the Lead Chaplain for the NBA Houston Rockets and he continues to advise other local/national boards. He studied at Houston Baptist University majoring in Theology and Psychology and maintains an active traveling and speaking schedule. He loves baseball, reading and walking, but his claim to fame is his wife Jacqueline of 31 years and their three children: Ruth Abigail, 29 (Furman U. in SC; BA); Rufus V, 27 (Howard University in DC); and Rhoda Anna, 25 (Agnes Scott College, Decatur GA; BA). All of the children live in Memphis and have chosen to work in professions that empower those who are under-resourced.