The Heart of A Shepherd began as Pastor Smith’s ministry to the Hillsdale church family he pastors, and is designed as a practical, lay-friendly, daily devotional commentary of the Scriptures. With graphics that accompany and compliment the daily reading schedule, Heart of A Shepherd has grown to over 800 daily readers, representing over 200 nations and territories in 2022. With the introduction of “Konvert” language software, 2023 will be a milestone year when Heart of A Shepherd devotions will be available in 29 languages.
The Scriptures are often profound in their stately simplicity, while challenging man spiritually and intellectually to ponder the Creator’s revelation of Himself, His holy character, moral attributes, and redemptive plan for the highest being of Creation…Man. Unfortunately, the Bible has become merely a book of religion for many, and is often neglected out of ignorance, or dismissed out of callousness. Adding to the challenge of understanding the Bible, is the shallow, spiritual state of many pulpits and churches around the world. Nevertheless, when understood, and accurately and practically applied, the Scriptures have power to become a life-changing agent! (Psalm 119:11; Hebrews 4:12)
As a pastor, I acknowledge God’s authority, and Jesus Christ as the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). I am humbled by the calling and privilege to serve the Lord as a spiritual shepherd, and it is my longing to be found a faithful pastor, teacher, and messenger of God’s Truth. I pray my labor in the Scriptures will draw lost sheep to the Shepherd, and encourage the sheep within Christ’s fold to walk in the confidence of His love, and in the light of His Word (Psalm 119:105). My wife, who co-labors as my editor, counselor, and cheerleader, shares my passion to challenge and encourage believers to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18)
Travis D. Smith, Senior Pastor and Author of Heart of A Shepherd
Pastor Smith was born and raised in rural Lancaster, South Carolina, and when he was 12 years old, he trusted Christ as his Savior. Called to ministry, he received his undergraduate degree from Bob Jones University in 1977, married Sheilah, his college sweetheart, and continued Graduate studies through January 1979. Pastor Smith received his Master’s in Biblical Studies from Bethany Theological Seminary in 1997, and in May 2000 was awarded an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Divinity) from Bob Jones University. Fresh out of college, he had the privilege of serving as Youth and Music Pastor for the First Baptist Church of Sterling Heights, MI, under the tutelage of Dr. Blaine Farley (January 1979–September 1985). In October 1985, Pastor Smith became the Youth Pastor of Hillsdale Baptist Church, Tampa, Florida, where he served under the senior pastor, Dr. Alan Bradshaw until his home-going in June 1995. A wonderful, ministry-minded group of teens emerged from those 10 years of ministry, and today many of them continue to serve as leaders of Hillsdale. In October 1995, Pastor Smith became senior pastor of Hillsdale and continues in that role today, surrounded by a talented staff of ministers, administrators, and teachers. The Lord has blessed the Smith’s with three children and their spouses, and three beautiful granddaughters. Pastor Smith’s life verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Sheilah Smith, Editor and the beloved wife of the Shepherd
Born and raised in rural North Carolina, Sheilah met her Savior at the age of 15 in Monroe, NC. Two years later she dedicated her life to serve the Lord full time in whatever capacity He would reveal. Realizing she would need a good education to begin that task, she enrolled at Bob Jones University in the fall of 1974. A few weeks prior to enrollment, she met Travis, who was a current student, not realizing he would later become her husband. She graduated from BJU with a Bachelor of Arts degree, from the School of Religion, and has spent her life serving beside her husband. Along with domestic duties, she assists in their current ministry, and also devotes time as the editor of Heart of A Shepherd. Together, Travis and Sheilah have three grown children who have blessed them with three beautiful granddaughters.
Currently, she enjoys studying the Scriptures from an historical, cultural, and language point of view, which is evidenced in her writing and teaching. She believes Truth should be gained from the original intent of the author, and that studying with an ancient perspective, helps unfold greater understanding of our Scriptures today.