Episode #198 — At the beginning of so many incredible stories is someone who believed in someone else, and took the time and effort to let them know. In the case of the storied recording artist Michael W. Smith, it was his parents who first recognized and pointed to his musical gift.

“My mom and dad I’d say were the catalyst in me just going, ‘Really?! Wow!’ They were my biggest fans, and they still are. My dad’s on the other side now. He went to Heaven a little over three years ago. He was my biggest fan and my PR agent. He would tell everybody how great I was, all the time – which was embarrassing!”

“But my dad thought I hung the moon. And so I think that just instilled inside me so much faith and so much belief. ‘Maybe I really do have something.'”

Michael’s church community also played a central role in helping him unlock his purpose.

“I was 15 years old the second time I walked down the aisle of my church – I was 10 years old when I realized Jesus was who He said He was – and then at 15 I walked down and asked the pastor to pray for me. And I said to him, ‘I think music is supposed to be part of the fabric of my life, for the rest of my life. I don’t know how to get there. I don’t know what the rules are. But would you pray for me because I think that’s where I’m headed.’ And he prayed for me.”

“It’s crazy looking back on that! That was a long time ago!”

The affirmation and encouragement kept coming.

“And then my whole church and my whole town – they’d hear me play and I’d say, ‘I’m thinking about moving to Nashville’. And they’d say, ‘You can do it! You can do it. We believe in you!‘ And it certainly made a difference.”

Michael W. Smith is the treasured recording artist behind the refreshing new project Awaken: The Surrounded Experience – the product of a transformational live event, “A Night to Pray, Worship & Be Awakened” in Nashville last fall.

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On the Road with Michael W. Smith