rev. gail tolbert smith
founder | lead pastor
Transforming lives, developing leaders, impacting communities and evangelizing the world
In 1985 Gail made history as the first woman licensed to preach in the Baptist Denomination in Macon, Georgia. As she ascended the pulpit of her father’s church before a capacity crowd, the Baptist Association was ousting him as president and the Macon Telegraph was grinding out the front-page story.
On February 2, 1989, Pastor Gail proclaimed – “We are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14) – and 35 people from all walks of life, converged on the historic campus of Progressive Christian Academy to begin Universal Light Christian Center. In the lunchroom of the school founded by her mother, the praise began, the Word went forth, and true to her mantra, ULCC has never been the same again.
A licensed temperament therapist, social worker, and Christian counselor, Gail holds a B.S. degree in Sociology; an M.S. in Christian Counseling Psychology; an M.A., in Christian Leadership and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from Capella University in Public Service Leadership with a specialization in Nonprofit Management. She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
In 2014, Pastor Gail received the coveted "Key to the City" of Macon for her Silver Jubilee 25th Pastoral Appreciation and in 2015 celebrated her 30th year as a licensed minister. Recognized as one of Georgia's Greatest Female Pastors, she serves as the State Parent Engagement Coordinator for the Department of Juvenile Justice and a celebrated columnist with the Macon Telegraph.
Pastor Smith was married to the late Rev. James N. Smith, II and is the mother of choreographer and mime artist, James Nelson Smith, III.