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Meet CATC's new pastor, Pastor Shawn Smith.

The search for CATC's next pastor has come to a close! Our congregation has voted to place Shawn as our new pastor. We welcome Shawn, his wife, Laura Ashley, and their boys, Stone and Shepherd to the CATC family. Thank you for prayerfully welcoming the Smith family to Orlando!

Keep scrolling for more of Pastor Shawn's story below.
Pastor Shawn's Introduction

Hear from Pastor Shawn and Laura Ashley.

Pastor Shawn's Bio



I cannot begin to tell you how humbled and blessed I am to be the Pastoral candidate for your Church. Thank you for getting to know me a little bit. I married my fantastic wife (Laura Ashley) in 2015, and we have two boys, Stone and Shepherd, who are 4 and 2. I grew up in Fayetteville, Ga, and Laura Ashley grew up in Odessa, TX.

Growing up, I was always aware of the faith as I grew up in Church, as my dad is in full-time ministry. However, it wasn't until I was 15 that I realized my need for Christ, and at that point, I gave my life to Jesus and followed in baptism. Quickly after my salvation experience, I recognized a calling to full-time church ministry. Immediately after High School, I joined a full-time touring ministry partnered with Liberty University. I was a part of this ministry for four years, allowing me to travel to 48 states and be in hundreds of churches. During my time in this ministry, I became passionate about church leadership and preaching and began my education. I have been blessed to have a bachelor's in Biblical Studies and Biblical Counseling from Liberty University, a Master of Divinity with a specialization in Pastoral leadership from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and I am currently in the dissertation phase of my Doctorate of Ministry in Expository Preaching from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

From the touring ministry, I went to a small town in Haskell, TX, to be a summer intern, and then I planned to pursue a church to do ministry. Shortly into my summer internship, the Senior Pastor left, and the Church asked me to stay indefinitely. I served there for five years as the Youth, Worship, and Interim Pastor. During this time, I found some great outside mentors who poured their pastoral hearts into me, ultimately shaping my heart for the Bride of Christ.

After serving in Haskell for five years, I was contacted by FBC Odessa, TX. They were looking for a Pastor to oversee youth and college ministry and manage the staff for both ministries. I served there for four years and saw the Lord do amazing things in evangelism and discipleship. We saw hundreds of people saved and baptized each year, with the vast majority coming from our youth and college departments.

Odessa was a massive milestone in my life because this is where I met and married my wife. Before meeting me, Laura began to feel called to some ministry but had no idea what that would look like. After we began to date, it became clear to her and I both that the Lord was preparing her heart to marry a pastor and embrace all that comes with it. Laura Ashley is a phenomenal musician. Before we met, she received her bachelor's in music and was hired as a middle school choir director. Shortly after we began to date, she pursued and received her bachelor's in worship studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. 

While serving in Odessa, I worked directly with the Senior Pastor, shadowing him in all meetings and partaking in the Senior Pastor's responsibilities.

I was hired by Immanuel Baptist in Marshall, TX, in July of 2018 as their Senior Pastor. Shortly after starting in Marshall, we had our first son and second a few years after. I have had so much fun watching my boys be excited every time they get to come to Church. Stone (Our four-year-old) is the life of every party. If he is in the room, you will know! He is full of joy and loves to do anything with others. Before long, he will be an excellent door greeter on Sunday mornings! Shepherd, or Shep as we call him, is the epitome of a momma's boy. If Shep has his momma and food in hand, he is one happy guy! Being a husband and dad has become a tremendous joy in my life.

While serving in Marshall, we saw the Lord do amazing things. We saw the Lord change so many hearts for the Kingdom and grow the Church into a healthy and thriving Church for the community. I followed a pastor who had served the Church for 35 years, so we learned how to strategically encourage the Church for its strengths and challenge them to address their weaknesses. As the Lord began to work, we were blown away to see the Lord's faithfulness.

In the last year, we began to feel that the Lord was preparing us to leave Marshall to come to a new place of service. This was unexpected, but I truly could not run from this calling. Upon learning of CATC and speaking with the committee, Laura Ashley and I recognized the Lord binding our hearts to your membership, staff, and community. You have an amazing church. I have been praying that the Lord would allow me to one day lead a multi-generational, multi-ethnic congregation that unapologetically stands on the authority of God's word and passionately pursues the lost. CATC, please know that you are already prayed for and loved.

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