Jesse grew up in this church; his father Ted Smith served as the Senior Pastor for 31 years. After attending Biola University where he earned a degree in social science with minors in education and Bible, Jesse was hired as High School Pastor at Northwest Church in Fresno. During his tenure at Northwest he also served as College Pastor, Director of Youth Ministries, and eventually as Associate Pastor. He came to River City Christian (then First Covenant) September 1, 2005 to serve as Associate Pastor working alongside his dad. When Ted announced his retirement in early 2011, the Board of Elders unanimously recommended to the congregation that Jesse become the new Senior Pastor. The congregation overwhelmingly approved and Jesse took leadership of the church in May of that year.
Jesse received an MA in Church Ministry from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, now Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary. He and his wife Holly have three children Styer, Kegan, and Blaire. His favorite leisure activities include hanging with the family, golf and fly fishing.
1. What three words best describe your role at River City Christian?
Lead and feed
2. What is one thing about you that might surprise people?
I absolutely, with no shame, love kids movies and kids shows. More than once Holly has walked in and found me watching something like “Dog with a Blog” on the Disney channel and the kids aren’t even home.
3. What is one name or title for Jesus that has special significance for you?
Mighty God. I love the fact that no matter what I face the Jesus who loves me is bigger than any situation.
4. If you were not working for the church, what career might you pursue and why?
Who knows, probably something in sales because I can pretty much sell anything.
5. Besides the Bible, what one book has had the most influence on your faith and why?
I don’t have one favorite book but I have been greatly influenced by C.S. Lewis and Max Lucado who are pretty much polar opposites of one another.
6. If you could have lunch with one famous personality living today, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Jimmy Fallon. I don’t know… he just makes me laugh.