…to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life (from the Officer’s Covenant)

Throughout nearly 40 years of ministry, Lt. Colonels Paul and Renea Smith have never lost sight of the covenant they signed upon their commissioning as officers. They have kept their sights on what matters most—their relationships with God and people. No matter the appointment or responsibility from corps to the College for Officer Training to divisional and territorial headquarters (THQ), everything has been about connecting with people and connecting them with God.

They also have helped many people find their place in the Army’s mission. Video tributes by Captains Josh and Jennifer Polanco and Don and Vicky Karl at the Smiths’ retirement luncheon this spring reinforced this aspect of their ministry. The retirement service proceeded the luncheon and took place during a THQ chapel which focused on the love of God. Territorial leaders Commissioners Brad and Heidi conducted the ceremony.

“It’s all about relationships, isn’t it?” summarized Colonel Renea at the luncheon at THQ where they have served for the last 11 years. “We are so grateful for the people God has put in our path….God has enriched my life through you,” she told the capacity crowd gathered for the occasion celebrating their rooted and fruitful ministry.

Major David Gorton, assistant secretary for personnel, cited significant, positive changes Colonel Renea has brought about as secretary for personnel— the first woman to fill this role in the Central Territory. Working with her team, she developed initiatives and policies that have given officers a greater voice. However, he suggested the hallmark of her service has been consistent love and care for others in both easy and hard times. He commended her ability to see the best in officers, placing them where they could thrive and empowering them to minister well and reach their potential.

“Employees and officers have been well served by your wisdom, compassion, empathy, sensitivity and care,” said Major David.

Both Colonels Renea and Paul were recognized for their creativity, beginning with their training college days when they were placed in the same cadet brigade. While other college drama majors’ egos surely would have clashed, they complemented each other and brought the gospel to life. Many of their programming collaborations have blessed the territory. During his six years as program secretary, Colonel Paul organized and implemented three General’s Congresses and one tour by a General—the sheer logistics for which would be daunting for even the most detailed among us.

Colonel Paul was praised for his personal investment and insights that have guided and improved programs making a significant difference in people’s lives. As program secretary, he was a champion from the beginning in the planning, scaling and implementation of Pathway of Hope (POH). Linda Brinker, assistant Pathway of Hope director, expressed gratitude on behalf of the social services team for his excellent suggestions and unwavering support leading the POH committee over the last decade. “We have a great deal of gratitude for your encouragement and firm and consistent leadership,” Linda concluded.

As assistant chief secretary, Colonel Paul helped guide the territory through the pandemic and played a key role in Project Advance which reorganized the territory to enable more effective mission.

Yet, like his wife, Colonel Paul is widely known and appreciated for his kindness, pastoral care and personal investment in individuals as highlighted by Courtney Smith, his former administrative assistant in the program department.

In response, Colonel Paul talked about how the Army changed the trajectory of his life and the privilege it has been to share this ministry and incredible journey with his wife, who is his best friend.