Our Pastor

Dr. Apostle Cleveland Smith 


Is a native of Hattiesburg Mississippi.  While in high school, he spent the summer months in Mobile, AL with his mother and stepfather.  Over several years Mobile Baptist churches requested his musical abilities for their Worship Services.  In 1960, he graduated from ROWAN HIGH SCHOOL in Hattiesburg, MS, and attended Rust College in Holly Springs, MS for 2 1/2 years.  He returned to Mobile Alabama for the summer and in 1962, he was subsequently drafted in the U.S. Army and was Honorably discharged upon his completion of his 2-year duty.  He remained in Anchorage, Alaska over a year, then moved to Modesto, CA and from there to Los Angeles, CA.

Near the ending of 1968 he moved to Mobile, Alabama to help his mother after his Stepfather passed.  During this time he reunited with St. Peters Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev. P.O. King/Pastor.  Upon his arrival, Mr. Smith was welcomed.  He immediately started playing music city wide for several Baptist Choirs - the director E. Madison Cockrell and another auditorium appearance he directed another concert himself that is when he sung "Walk On by Faith" it was a new in this era.  People began to praise God and miracles began to happen it was a glorious time!

In 1969, Mr. Smith began the Minister of Music for the Mt. Olive No. 1 Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. A. J. Stokes, Pastor. After a Sunday night service, Mr. Smith had no symptoms of being ill.  Early Monday morning he was rushed to the hospital and remained there over 23 days.  During this hospitalization he died several times and became completely paralyzed.  It was predicted he would die several times and God would revive him each time.  Dr. Timothy Adhmadi, MD. had just finished medical school and Mr. Smith was his first patient.  Then Mrs. Helen McGuire Bolden, RN. just finished nursing school. Mr. Smith was her first assigned patient.  Years after St. John's Deliverance Temple Inc. was established, Mrs. Bolden would testify about Pastor Smith's illness and healing!  Mrs. Bolden also, stated she would tell critically ill patients Pastor Smith's experience and some would be healed! 

In 1970, he organized an Interdenominational singing group which grew from four individuals (including himself) to over 125 members.  The group was named The Cleveland Smith Chorale.  It was the first group of its kind to purchase a double decker bus in the city.  Later they incorporated and became a nonprofit organization to sing and help the needy.  They not only sung at various churches, but in and out of state, convalescent homes, penal and mental institutions.  Their objective was to carry God's message in song.  Inspiring those who were unsaved to seek salvation, those who faltered to renew their faith.  Their motto: "I have to live with myself and so I want to be fit for myself to know."  As he continued to work with the singing group, he acknowledged "His Calling" in 1972, under the leadership of Pastor P.O. King and he preached his initial sermon at St. Peters Baptist Church. He studied at the extension of Selma University Baptist Fellowship in Seminary in Mobile, Alabama.

In 1974, St. John's Deliverance Temple, Inc., was organized and continued the Chorale's Community Outreach.  They implemented more community ministry outreach by feeding the hungry, and helping the needy.  Pastor Smith ministered in prisons even those on death row.  Pastor Smith often reflects on an interview with a local newspaper when the church first opened.  He told the reporter, "The Lord was showing him many people needed to be reached and preached many had given up hope and on life, some were thinking they could not do any better and were not in church.  So, God sent him to preach to the outcast, drug addicts, alcoholics, etc. also those that were considered a lower class of people.  After I made that statement I paused and said, "Many of the upper class needed to be reached, also.  They needed to be made aware of the power of God that is available to them through his Son Jesus Christ.  Everybody needed to be aware of the power of God that is available to them through his Son Jesus Christ!" We have traveled across the United States, broadcasting nationwide.  God has supplied all of our needs, seemly many times.  "right out of nowhere, also without any government assistance or financial institution backing us!"

In 1986, St. John's Christian Academy presently called "St. John's School of Tomorrow" was opened.  Since that time it has resounding Alumni.  Many of the graduates from our school have continued their education and graduated from major colleges and universities such as Faulkner State University, Stillman College, University of South Alabama, University of Chicago, Springhill College, and the list continues.  Their professions include doctors of religion, pastors, evangelists, teachers, executives, public school teachers, accountants, nurses, doctors, educators, cosmetologists, graphic artists, government workers, writers, and lawyers and etc.

The Apostle of Love, Apostle Smith, serves as a surrogate father for 135 children or more and legally adopted three children.  two daughters named Bernice, Latisha, and one son Kendrick, and 5 grandchildren.  Apostle Smith says, after 42 years of ministry, it still feels like the beginning.  
II Timothy 1:9 (KJV) - Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but, according to his own purpose and grace.  which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began!