One of our outstanding students, Trevor Smith, shares how simple obedience led him to Oaks College. Within the program, church, and even on campus at Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU), Trevor is well-known for his friendly heart, inclusive spirit, and charismatic leadership. He is one of our Oaks College student leaders who embodies what it looks like to fully rely on God with wholehearted faith. By trusting God throughout his life, Trevor has become one of our most excellent students.
Childhood and Family
Trevor Smith grew up as a Pastor’s kid, being raised in a Christian household. Because he grew up in the church, he explained that he had to deal with a lot of challenges and pressures that are found in ministry. He found that he was constantly “putting on a face” for other people. When asked what his biggest personal challenge was while growing up, he responded with, “accepting help from others”, which caused him to want to appear perfect at all times, thus tying into the concept of putting on a mask for people. Trevor recalled that he viewed asking others for help as a weakness; if he didn’t present himself to be great, then people wouldn’t see him as someone they could depend on.
“Even in some church cultures, it’s customary for you to not show how you truly are doing emotionally and spiritually. I honestly hated the idea about going into ministry growing up. Why would people want to dedicate their entire lives to something as time-consuming as this? But when God called me to youth ministry while I was in high school, I began to realize that ministry is something you get to do, not be obligated to do. I get to help other people by serving them, I get to be a part of life change.”
However, his parents — being great examples for him to follow — made life in the church a lot easier and taught him a significant amount of lessons that will impact his future endeavors. Despite the fact that he was constantly involved in church, Trevor never felt pressured to work in ministry. Still, he began to realize as a senior in high school that God’s calling isn’t a singular thing as much as it is just continually saying “yes” to whatever He has for you. Because of this concept, his next step in going forward in life was to say “yes” to a Church Leadership degree and attending Oaks College.
Oaks College Experience
In his senior year, a few Oaks College students — some now have become Oaks Church staff members — came to Trevor’s home church and hung out with his youth group. Trevor easily connected with Tylor Ritz, the Connections Pastor of Oaks Church, and considers their meeting to be a “God-thing.” Before Ritz left, he encouraged Trevor saying that he saw so much potential in him and offered him an intern position on his team on the spot. In that moment, he felt conflicted knowing that he was called to youth ministry. After praying and contemplating on joining Oaks College, particularly the Connections department, Trevor felt like God was asking him to say “yes” to the next step that was placed in front of him, and — eventually — he did.
He states that Oaks College has definitely not been what he expected it to be. He came in expecting to work for a church, but found out that Oaks College is more than just being an intern.
“I expected to work for a church. Instead, I felt like I was constantly being surrounded by people who want me to grow, not for their department, but for the sake of the kingdom. Having people constantly investing in you and championing you on while also being your direct reports is something that is very rare to find today.”
It hasn’t always been an easy journey though. Trevor shares that there have been many difficulties that he has gone through while in Oaks College. He states that he contemplated leaving multiple times, but it had nothing to do with what was going on at Oaks College, yet, it had everything to do with what he was going through. Taking a step into the calling that God has placed over your life means that you’re going to face many trials, doubts, and challenges that are going to mold and refine you into the leader God has called you to be. Trevor shares that if you’re not in alignment with what God is doing through you or trying to do through you, you’re going to project your focus on things that don’t need your focus.
“I had to learn that being in alignment with God takes an everyday surrender because you’re a decision away from being on the right path with Him. It’s not because God’s will is a thin line, but it’s more so the posture of your heart can look like you’re saying ‘no’ to what God’s trying to do through you. Always check the posture of your heart.”
What Does Your Life Look Like Now?
Trevor currently serves as the Assimilation Ministry Assistant (MA) for the Connections Department. As a student leader, he gets to walk with people right from when they dedicate their lives to the Lord at the altar call to the practical steps in walking in their faith. It’s hard for people to walk in new freedom, so why should anyone do it alone? With this concept, Trevor stewards his job description as an opportunity to give people (1) full information of why they’re making this decision and (2) who they’re making this decision with.
When it comes to personal goals for post-graduation, Trevor states that the only goal he has is to say “yes” to God. He explains that he feels like God has confirmed a lot of things in his life, such as being a physical and spiritual father, as well as being a youth pastor. Moreover, none of these things can happen without him waking up everyday and saying “yes” to God. He also explains that what he’s doing right now is preparation for how God’s wanting to use him later, emphasizing that there is so much significance in the preparation and the waiting.
Dear Future Student,
“It doesn’t matter what you think your calling or a promise from God is going to look like or how it ends up looking like…As long as you know that God is in the midst of it, you’ll be okay.”