Beyond the Song by Jantina Baksteen
Some time ago, I caught up with Melissa Smith. She has a great song out on radio that is so relevant for this time and day. When the nations are shaken by the Corona crises that affects us all, the time is now for Christians to “Stand Together as One.”
Melissa shares her ministry in this interview.
Jantina Baksteen:Â Please introduce yourself to the readers of SGNScoops?Â Â
Melissa Smith: Iâ€™m Melissa Smith, born and raised around Greenville, South Carolina. Now live in Finley, Oklahoma, where my husband and I are associate pastors here at our church, Fresh Beginnings, and I lead praise and worship.Â
JB: How did you get involved in Gospel music?Â Â
MS: Iâ€™ve always loved gospel music even as a child. I started playing the piano by ear at age four. I would hear a song at church, and as soon as I got home, would climb up on the piano bench and start playing the song I had heard. I didnâ€™t start singing until the age of 12. I thank God for the musical gift he has given me.Â Â
JB: I know you write most of your songs. What was the first song you sang, and the first one you wrote?
MS: The first song I ever wrote and recorded is entitled, â€œWe Were Healed,â€ based on 1 Peter 2:24. It was given to me by God after getting healed from a broken leg. Itâ€™s still on paper somewhere in a file.Â
JB: Where do you get your inspiration to write songs? Â
MS: To be honest, I cannot write a song without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. God has given me the words to every song Iâ€™ve written. So thankful to God for using me to pen the songs Heâ€™s given me.Â
JB: Who are your musical influences?
MS: Thereâ€™s so many I could name. Sandi Patti was my first one. I love listening to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. I lead praise and worship at my church and get most of those kind of songs from them, unless I write one. If a song ministers to me, I feel it would minister to others, no matter who is singing it. I love so many artists and groups.Â
JB: Is there a song you wished you had written?
MS: Iâ€™ve never really thought about that, but it would be a toss up between “Through the Fire,” written by Gerald Crabb and “Standing on Holy Ground,” written by Geron Davis. Both of those songs minister to me every time I hear them.Â Â
JB: Please share us how your “Redeemed” album came together?Â
MS: In 2013, I wrote the song â€œI Need Your Grace.” We were in the process of moving to Oklahoma from South Carolina. I found a studio in Oklahoma where I did a demo of that song. Two to three months later, I wrote another song. By that time, I was introduced to Donnie and Lisa Williamson, and went to their studio to do a demo of the song. God started giving me songs periodically and I would go to the studio and record each one. This happened about every two to four months. When I had 10 songs recorded, we decided to make a cd project with those. Then (we) decided later to add an old hymn I love, called “Oh I Want to See Him.”
JB: How special is that, to have one song on there where your dad does the bass vocals? Could you share how that affected you?
MS: My dad loves the old hymns and is a wonderful bass singer. He loves to sing and I thought it would be so wonderful to have him sing a bass part on “Oh I Want to See Him.” When he and Mom came here to Oklahoma for my sonâ€™s wedding, I decided to surprise my dad and took him to the studio, and when we arrived, I told him that I wanted him to sing a bass part on the chorus. This is extremely special to me because Dad was diagnosed with severe heart disease and congested heart failure. The doctors have given him two to three years to live because only a small percentage of his heart is working. Heâ€™s already had a triple bypass. We do not go by the doctorsâ€™ report, but we go by the report of the Lord, and stand on his promises concerning healing. He has already lived past two years. This song (was) released to radio by Wise Choice Promotions (Summer 2020).Â
JB: Your current song that is out on radio is called, “Stand Together As One.” What was your inspiration to write this song? Also, some may not know the artists that join you on this song.Â Who are they?
MS: I got my inspiration to write this song after seeing the news, videos, and pictures, of how people were coming together and helping cities and victims affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and Irma. Thatâ€™s when the thought hit me. We have got to stand together as one as a nation if we are going to help those in need. Now, with whatâ€™s going on in our world, itâ€™s a crucial time that we stand together as one for our country and for God. When I went to record it, I thought it would be awesome to have different groups and artists singing on the recording also. Iâ€™m very honored to have Rodney Provence, The Williamsons – with Lisa, Donnie, Karl Rice, and Darin Ebert, along with Russell Wise, Tiffany Hamilton, and Jesse Fuson, who was part of the group called Surrendered, singing on there.Â Lisa, Rodney and Karl each have a solo on the second verse.
JB: How does this song speak to you personally?
MS: I think it is imperative that we as Christians be in one mind and one accord. God has always wanted us to be that way. The 120 were that way in the upper room and something powerful happened that day. Great things happen and are accomplished when his people stand together in one mind and one accord, and be that light in a dark world to show love and compassion for others.Â
JB: How relevant is the song for today? HowÂ can we practice this as Christians?Â
MS: With all thatâ€™s going on right now in our world, this song is very up to date. So many people are living in fear and uncertainty right now. We can practice this by showing them love and letting them know that God is our refuge in time of trouble. Also, itâ€™s time we as Christians pray like never before for our nation, that we as a country founded on the principles of God, humble ourselves and pray, and turn from our wicked ways, then will God hear from heaven. He will forgive our sins and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14.
ppJB: Right now you have a tee shirt on sale with that very same title. How did that process go? How can they order your tee shirt?
MS: I thought what a better way to get the message of this song out,Â by having it put on a tee shirt. When people wear this tee shirt, it lets others know how important it is for us to stand together as oneï¿¼. To order the tee shirt, you can either go to my website, which is www.Godexaltedministry.com or go straight to my PayPal at www.paypal.me/msmith1124
They can also send check or money order to:Melissa Smith,Â P.O. BOX 116, FINLEY, OK 74543. The cost is $30 and that includes shipping and handling. I will also need what size shirt they’re needing and their address.
JB: If you could sit around with any artist from the past or present, who would that be, and what would be the conversation?
MS: I would love to just sit and talk to all the great songwriters of the past and present individually, and find out how they write their songs and what inspires them to write one.
JB: Next to singing, you are very active at church work. Could you share about that? Â
MS: Sure! My husband Tommy and I are associate pastors here at Fresh Beginnings Church. He preaches and I mostly sing. I also love leading our praise and worship, and directing the praise team.Â Â
JB: What message of hope could you bring us, that would encourage those who have no hope?
MS: Know that God is for you, so who can be against you! He is touched by the feelings of our infirmities, and when we trust him with all our heart and not let our own feelings or understanding get in the way, our paths are directed by him, which leads to greater blessings than we can ever imagine.
JB: How can folks find you to book you for a church service?
MS: They can go to my website, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to one of my ministry pages on Facebook which is Melissa Smith Ministries or God Exalted Ministries.
We hope you enjoy Melissa Smith, sing “Stand Together as One.”
Thank you, Melissa, for sharing your ministry with SGNScoops. May the work you do for him bring people closer to him, or have a first experience of hearing the gospel in song.