It seems I have always had one foot in ministry and one foot in media. I never had to wonder what I’d be when I grew up, because it sort of all found me at a young age even though it seemed to have no congruency at first. At age three, I did my first TV commercial. At age eight, I won a ribbon in a 4-H poetry contest writing a poem about Watergate, of all exciting things. At age ten, I became a follower of Jesus. At age twelve, I was leading half-a-dozen kids at a time to Him in my front yard and then teaching Bible studies for them.
At thirteen, I found the stage and have never left it, eventually starting a Christian Dinner Theatre that launched my professional writing career at age twenty-four, but not before stopping off at Belmont University to study the odd combination of theatre and religion. By twenty-seven my first book was published and a door was also suddenly opened for me to sell my plays and poetry worldwide. With this came more speaking opportunities all over the map, and coupled with leadership training at my home church, I was approached with the opportunity to be ordained and commissioned in my thirties, and so I accepted. Did I mention that during all of this I got married and had six children? What a busy life! But as a “stay-at-home” homeschooling mom, I was not only able to fulfill any creative urge I had as soon as I had it, I was also able to instill them into my astoundingly cool kids. Perhaps the most unexpected cherry on top though came when I -- having duly noted how talented our children truly were -- decided to take them to a talent agency and wound up getting hired myself, eventually landing me a job at Shop At Home TV as a TV host at age 40. That afforded me the opportunity to become the face for numerous clients such as Saturn, The American Red Cross, The Canadian Shopping Channel, Tiffany Lamps, Kodak, Sony, O’Charley’s, Crest Oral B, and scores more, as well as appearing in such publications as Better Homes And Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Southern Living, etc. Suddenly, my life had gone full circle, encompassing every form of media there was -- from stage, to television to print -- in both secular and religious arenas. My television platform was opening secular doors, and my ministry ordination was opening church doors, and I am happy to add that that remains today across denominational lines. And no matter what I’m teaching on or who I’m teaching to, the single-minded ambition is sure to emerge: Convincing people they can communicate with Jesus, and helping them to be whole, spirit, mind and body.
But since that poetry contest I won that ribbon in at age 8, writing has been at the center of everything I do. I used it when I wrote plays and produced dinner theatre productions, I use it when I teach and prepare sermons, and I have used it to write more than a dozen books. I write like I speak, and as a former TV shopping channel host, that means that my heartbeat is to truly connect with the readers and viewers as if you are there with me “live.”
I am a farmer’s daughter and a farmer’s granddaughter. Both of my parents were raised on working farms. I have “eaten the rainbow” since I was a girl and I understand the importance of a balanced diet and have seen food do miraculous things when different health-scares came my way. My love for nutrition led me to return to school to become a certified nutritional counselor and I enjoy teaching others how to use food as medicine and to educate themselves about all the wonderful remedies God designed for us on the third day of creation.
But of all the things of which I am most proud, it is my king-sized family. My husband, Chris, and I have been married for nearly 32 years, and in that time we have had six children (3 boys and 3 girls) and now have a growing list of grandchildren that outnumbers the kids! Chris was a record executive in the Christian Music Industry for almost 20 years before leaving that world and stepping into the world of ministry, soon after which we planted Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship in Nashville, TN. Our children are a multi-faceted mix of all the giftings God has placed in Chris and myself, all with his or her own creative twist. A midwife, a filmmaker and actor, a pastor, a photographer, and two musicians. With our youngest in high school, there is never a dull moment around Campsmith, which is what you call a houseful of Smiths. Though the kids grow up and move away, the name stays.
I and my husband Chris, founded Eastgate in 2004 with an emphasis on community and creativity, which remain today as the ingredients behind the growing church’s city-wide reputation for creative Christian fellowship. Services last about two hours and include a brief open-mic time when the Holy Spirit is allowed to speak to the congregation through members’ exhortations, edifications and encouragements based on 1 Corinthians 14:3. No dress code; just bring an expectant heart!
Come meet us any Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee, at Eastgate Creative Christian Fellowship, where they pastor and teach weekly. Services are at 10am in the heart of Donelson, 2710 Old Lebanon Road, Nashville, TN 37214 or click here to hear our sermons.