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The DIOP Circle V.10

August 26th, 2019


Kaloma Smith

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're fortunate to share the wisdom of Rev. Kaloma Smith. Our 343rd customer, he's made Akira part of his Sunday best. And he's going to tell us how he came to lead one of the most diverse congregations in the country.

Some people go into things. I tripped into them.

I grew up attending a Baptist church in Mt. Vernon New York. But like many young adults, I stopped attending regular services when I turned 18.

And like many young adults, I went through challenges in my late twenties. I had made the mistake of asking myself “What should I be?” instead of “Who am I?”. I struggled because I held on too tight and tried to figure it out myself.

But the presence of God captured me. The signs were there. I went to church and felt moved.

I started off in young adult ministry unfolding chairs and picking up food. My involvement grew organically and soon I was leading discussions.

Professionally, I worked in audio/video integration. It was a lot of fun. We even won awards for our work. Being a success is great but being fulfilled is better.

I decided I wanted to be a full time minister before I turned 40.

When I was 37, an opportunity came up in Northern California. I had to take a 98% pay cut.

My wife gave me 24 months to see if it was what I wanted to do.And then she told me she didn’t want me to retire with regret if I didn’t try.

I began my work in Palo Alto in the heart of Silicon Valley. It’s one of the most diverse communities in the country but not especially religious. The University A.M.E. Zion Church is historically Black but mixed now.

We’ve had a good run in the last six years as we get younger and more diverse but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

We run like a regular business, from marketing and accounting to facilities and maintenance. Sometimes our quantitative measures take a backseat to our qualitative measures.

Because what does it all mean if you don’t see the impact?

Ministry is a journey. And we see the need here. We’re in a community is neither strictly Black nor Christian. And as good as we are at attracting young adults, we’d like to broaden that out further.

We’re putting forward a model of revitalizing community churches, one that focuses on leadership as well as fellowship.

I can’t change anybody; I can barely change myself. What I have the ability to do is shepherd people along and see how God moves through their life.

It’s amazing to watch people develop their spirituality.


The DIOP Circle V.10

August 26th, 2019


Kaloma Smith

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, we're fortunate to share the wisdom of Rev. Kaloma Smith. Our 343rd customer, he's made Akira part of his Sunday best. And he's going to tell us how he came to lead one of the most diverse congregations in the country.

Some people go into things. I tripped into them.

I grew up attending a Baptist church in Mt. Vernon New York. But like many young adults, I stopped attending regular services when I turned 18.

And like many young adults, I went through challenges in my late twenties. I had made the mistake of asking myself “What should I be?” instead of “Who am I?”. I struggled because I held on too tight and tried to figure it out myself.

But the presence of God captured me. The signs were there. I went to church and felt moved.

I started off in young adult ministry unfolding chairs and picking up food. My involvement grew organically and soon I was leading discussions.

Professionally, I worked in audio/video integration. It was a lot of fun. We even won awards for our work. Being a success is great but being fulfilled is better.

I decided I wanted to be a full time minister before I turned 40.

When I was 37, an opportunity came up in Northern California. I had to take a 98% pay cut.

My wife gave me 24 months to see if it was what I wanted to do.And then she told me she didn’t want me to retire with regret if I didn’t try.

I began my work in Palo Alto in the heart of Silicon Valley. It’s one of the most diverse communities in the country but not especially religious. The University A.M.E. Zion Church is historically Black but mixed now.

We’ve had a good run in the last six years as we get younger and more diverse but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

We run like a regular business, from marketing and accounting to facilities and maintenance. Sometimes our quantitative measures take a backseat to our qualitative measures.

Because what does it all mean if you don’t see the impact?

Ministry is a journey. And we see the need here. We’re in a community is neither strictly Black nor Christian. And as good as we are at attracting young adults, we’d like to broaden that out further.

We’re putting forward a model of revitalizing community churches, one that focuses on leadership as well as fellowship.

I can’t change anybody; I can barely change myself. What I have the ability to do is shepherd people along and see how God moves through their life.

It’s amazing to watch people develop their spirituality.


By Kaloma Smith

Follow Pastor Kaloma @kalomaasmith and University AME Zion Church at @universityamez

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.


- Kaloma Smith


Follow Pastor Kaloma @kalomaasmith and University AME Zion Church at @universityamez

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.