Tami Smoot, pastor of Church on the Rock, is a role model for all women, and especially women of faith. But it wasn’t always the case.
While living in California in 1987, Smoot (then Schwamberger) had an unusual experience which raised her curiosity about the bible. In the weeks following, she had a longing in her heart that she knew had something to do with God, but there was no one to explain it.
She got a call one day from a former coworker who had moved to Virginia a year earlier. He began to tell her of how he “got saved” and that he was going to church. She says that as he spoke, she got excited, like Elizabeth, who felt her baby leap in her womb when Mary came to visit. Smoot knew instantly that this was what she’d been waiting to hear. Her former coworker sent her a plane ticket, and on the July 4th weekend in 1987, filled with expectation, she flew to Virginia to attend his church. She gave her life to Jesus during the service. She says her life “was totally transformed that night.” The coworker who had invited her to church, Larry Smoot, soon became her husband. They were married in 1988.
Together they began a new adventure, as they learned about God and what He had called them to do. Two years after she was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit, Smoot felt led to begin a home bible study. Her husband readily agreed, and they started Sharing Time Ministries. “All we knew,” she says, “is that God completely changed our lives, and we wanted to tell others and teach them the Word.” They began with a handful of people, but the meetings kept growing. Smoot says that their level of commitment was supernatural–“God really just did it!…We never deviated from the plan and purpose of God for our lives.”
As they ministered and grew in their understanding of the bible, their pastor recognized the gifts on their lives and recommended they be licensed as pastors, which they did. Two years later they were ordained, and in 1996 they officially launched Church on the Rock. They set up their basement to look like a sanctuary and held church services there until size prevented it. After several faith-stretching relocations in the Stafford area, they are now located in the building that also houses Liberty Lanes bowling alley. They have purchased 22 acres of land in Stafford county and are working to build a new facility there. In the meantime, visitors to Church on the Rock can expect to see Pastor Tami’s gift for leading worship on Sunday mornings, and on Wednesday evenings she also preaches and teaches a bible study.
The Smoot’s have now been married for 22 years. They have two children, Jason and Hunter, ages 20 and 13, respectively. Tami also enjoys a close relationship with Larry’s two children from his first marriage. Whichever relationships or roles–preacher, wife, worship leader, mother, counselor, or teacher–Pastor Tami’s life is a testimony to God’s love and proof of the destiny He has in mind for all.