Iconic Christian music artist @Michael W. Smith is friends with Bono. He counts @Amy Grant as a dear friend. (Smith was Grant’s keyboardist on tour before he signed a record deal.) He’s led Christmas carols at the White House at the request of President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. He’s spent extensive time with Billy Graham and was even asked to sing at the renowned evangelist’s funeral. But despite all of the great men and women Smith has held in his company through the years, there’s one man who stands above them all—his hero, his dad.
Smith celebrates the life of this great man in The Way of the Father: Lessons from My Dad, Truths about God (available for pre-order now and out May 18, 2021), the first release on K-LOVE’s new publishing imprint, K-LOVE Books.
The man Michael W. Smith is today is a testament to the man who raised him. The Way of the Father is as much Smith’s story as it is his dad’s. Across 15 chapters, the award-winning singer does his best to adequately describe exactly who this man was and what he taught him about life by the way he lived.
Paul Smith was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather, a talented athlete and a hard worker, who tirelessly provided for his family. In his new book, Smith shares personal stories about his dad and what made their father/son bond so special. From coaching his little league baseball team to dancing in the aisle at his son’s concerts, Smith recounts one fond memory after another about his dad—the man he most aspires to be like.
By sharing heartwarming, and often humorous, anecdotes about his father, the GRAMMY-winner also gives readers a glimpse into his own past. He candidly discusses his drug addiction during his early years in Nashville and the way his parents gently loved him through that challenging season before Smith had a radical encounter with the Lord that changed everything. Using his parents’ response as an example, he provides advice to parents currently praying for their prodigal son or daughter.
For every attribute of his father that Smith recounts, he always compares this to the character and response of our Heavenly Father. Each chapter also includes Scripture that backs up Smith’s main points, as he emphasizes that we serve a God who calls us His children.
“I know a lot of people are going to read this book, and they didn’t have a dad,” Smith offers, “but I just believe with every fiber of my being that God can father you.”
Smith even cites the example of his own mother, who was abandoned by her biological mother—his grandmother—when she was just 8-years-old. She and her three younger siblings were split up between extended family for years before being reunited with their father permanently once he remarried. “My mom could have been bitter for the rest of her life,” Smith offers, “but she said, ‘I’m going to let God father me, and if I have a family one day, I will never ever let that happen to my family.’ ”
As Smith and his sister, Kimberly, can attest, his mother didn’t repeat the mistakes of her parents; and she and Paul were married for nearly 59 years before his death in 2015.
Now as a father of five and a grandfather of 16, Smith is carrying on the legacy of his dad and reaping the benefits of a faithful mother who chose to stay. The Way of the Father walks readers through not only the Smith family narrative but also the grief attached to losing a parent. He offers reflections from his own children about their grandfather and provides some parental advice of his own, rooted in lessons learned from his dad. Smith also speaks to caring for both of his parents throughout their battle with dementia, something his mother still suffers from today. In addition, he gives readers the opportunity to commit their lives to Christ, allowing Him to fill many a void left by earthly fathers.
“I just hope that when people read the book, they feel like they can get through whatever trial comes their way,” he says. “For somebody who is struggling and trying to find their way, I think the ultimate goal would be that they really find a great sense of hope in it. I just hope people totally reconnect with why they are here and know that they are loved.”