Ray and Cathi Smith were married in October of 1976. Their journey together began as Missionary Evangelists through out the United States and the World. In 1982 they answered the call to the Rocky Mountain District Youth Department of the Assemblies of God, where they served for 14 years.
In 1996 they returned to their home church, Valley Assembly of God, as Senior Pastors after Ray’s dad retired. During that time the church grew and went through several remodels. In 2000 they stepped aside from ministry for three years, worked secular jobs and spoke on weekends in various settings.
In 2003 they began pastoring Vision Fellowship (now New Destiny Christian Center) in Thornton Colorado.
After merging Vision Fellowship with a new church plant Cathi and Ray moved back to Utah to re-introduce the production Master Mender, a passion play that was very influential in the community since it began in 1982. It was during this time that they accepted a pastorate at Salt Lake Christian Center in 2006. During this time they have led SLCC to become an International / Multi-Ethnic Organization comprising 14 Churches and over 20 language groups worshipping on two campuses. Worshiping at SLCC is truly like a “little slice of Heaven” found in Revelation 5:9.
They have two children and 5 grandchildren.
The youth pastors of The Gathering Youth Church at Salt Lake Christian Center are Chris and Danielle Reno.
“So, Chris, why did you move to Utah?”
“Danielle and I believed in 2012 that God was calling us to move to Utah. We felt it would be a great decision for both our family as well as that there would be more ministry opportunities for us. We felt strongly that God was speaking to us that we were going to find out more of what He has for us after we keep taking new steps to trust Him to lead us. God opened the way for us to move to Utah in 2013.”
“Interesting. Why did you join Salt Lake Christian Center?”
“Danielle and I have always had missions in our hearts. We met at a ministry school where God taught us both to have a deep love for other cultures and nations, just as He does. We had heard that Salt Lake Christian Center had some international ministries, and we were intrigued by it. But when we got here and saw what it looked like we were especially drawn in. We knew right away that this church had like-hearted people and that this is where we would belong. It has been a pleasure being here ever since.”
“Very nice. How then did it come about you becoming the new youth pastors?”
“When we started coming to Salt Lake Christian Center, I just had a heart to serve Jesus and get involved somehow. I always say that I just started poking my nose around to see what ministry would fit with me, looking for God to speak. When I started meeting some of the current youth group students, my heart went out to them! I started becoming so excited about teaching them God’s ways in the Bible… even though I wasn’t a leader or ‘technically’ involved yet! So I started pursuing ways to get involved in their lives and just start showing up to their meetings and building relationships. It just came along naturally for me from there. Soon enough, there was an opening to be the youth pastor. I then asked Pastor Ray, ‘Would you consider me for this? I really have a heart growing with love toward this group.’ That’s how it happened, and my heart has still been growing with love since then!
“That’s really great. So what would you say to any parents/guardians who are looking for a youth church for their students? What can young people expect by coming to The Gathering?”
“That’s a great question. I’d say there’s something so incredibly important and formative for young people at this time of their lives, that they need peer support and mentor support (in addition to the support they can receive at home). Peer support can come from ‘gathering’ with others who are learning how to serve the Lord in a safe environment like this. Mentor support in my opinion is discipleship. It is being pointed back to Jesus in all of the different circumstances of life. I am dedicated to creating a youth church where it is a safe place for young people to learn how to implement more of God’s teachings and ways into their lives through a foundation of worshiping Jesus in spirit and truth. So… definitely come to The Gathering! Weekly meetings are on Wednesday nights at 7:00pm.
Chris and Danielle have been married for eight years and have three children.