Mr. Smart and The Freedom Kids

"I Don't Do Kids"
Article by Mike Fullilove/Gulf Coast Clarion Call

We must be careful what we say we will or won't do. God often has diffrent plans.

Kevin Smart was happy singing in the adult choir at church, a solo here and there, just being in the flow of "grown-up" worship. As an earnest Christian, Kevin regularly sought the Lord's guidance for his life. He and wife Jenny committed their marriage and lives to serving the Lord. The Lord had big plans.

One day Jenny volunteered them to help fill a need with the pre-school children at church. "You're crazy," he told Jenny, "I don't do kids." But, he agreed to until the church found someone else. The uses of music was natural way to minister to the children, and Kevin could do that. So he sang to the childrren. It wasn't long before the children's pastor's wife cames to Kevin and told him, "I know you'r rather work somewhere else in the church, but these kids really love you."

He brushed it aside as just a compliment, but one evening shortly after, while at the kitchen sink washing dishes, Kevin heard the Lord clearly say, "My kids love you and they need you." He broke down and wept. He had heard clearly from the Lord.

While at a preschool training session one Sunday, Kevin learned how important it was that the children hear how precious they are to God and that they are special. The Lord soon gave him his first song for children, "You Are Precious." The Lord continued to give Kevin more songs. "I couldn't just sit down and write songs on my own," related Kevin. "They came from the Lord when He was ready to give them to me."

Shortly, Kevin put together his first nine songs on tape-Dinotrax "PreHistoric Preschool Praise and Worship." The tape sold about 600 tapes locally. He has continued to write and catalog songs over the years as the Lord gave them to me."

Total committment to the children didn't come right away. kevin still enjoyed singing solos with the adult choir in church. He was trying to split time. A little over a year after first beginning to work with the children, the Lord chided Kevin that he wasn't committed to "His kids." That was eleven years ago.

Kevin committed to the children and trained under then "Kid's Power and Light" children's pastor, Carl Lindelien, at Cedar Lake Christian Assembly in Biloxi, MS. The children began to melt his heart, and the Lord told Kevin that He would give him a ministry to children like Ken Blount, the character Nicodemus of the Gospel Bill Show.

But all was not quiet and peaceful on the Smart homefront. Kevin and Jenny were having to learn to wait on the Lord in many ways. The primary struggle behind the scenes was the sever medical problems of their oldest son, Jeff. Jeff has Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a condition involving a fluid-filled cyst at the base of the brain. The cyst cannot be removed because the area is part of mornal brain funciton. Jeff's condition has required 42 surgeries so far during his lifetime to correct shunt hardware problems or infection. "When his shunt malfunctions, he has constant, severe headaches," Jenny said, "and if left uncorrected can be life-threatening."

"We committed to serve the Lord from the beginning, and the Lord has shown us from the beginning that He would be with us," said Kevin. "Jeff's condition is rare to begin with, but when the shunt is working properly Jeff can function quite normally," continued Jenny. He has been a puzzle to the doctors for the years.

"In the mids of turmoil God calls His children," shared Kevin. "God has told us our son will be okay. We all have tried to keep focused on Jesus." Despite all his problems, Jeff, soon to be 17, feels he has been called to be a youth pastor.

Kevin Smart took early retirement from the Air Force in 1994 to come on staff as Associate Children's Pastor at Cedar Lake Christian Assembly. On December 31, 1997, he resigned that position to pursue his children's music ministry full time.

"The opportunity of a lifetme must be seized during the lifetime of the opportunity." Words by Leonard Ravenwood which Kevin first heard at the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola. The words stuck. "Now is the time to do the music," the Holy Spirit said early in 1998. He must make a CD. He discovered that would cost about $3500 to make that CD. After seeking godly counsel, he turned it over to the Lord and prayed. Six hours later, one of the recording companies called Kevin and siad they would do the recording for free, but that Kevin would have to come up with the money to produce 1,000 CDs. The Lord provided the funds in short order. The Lord provided the funds in short order.

"If You Love Jesus, Moo Like a Cow" was made received air on WAOY 91.7 American Family Radio in Gulfport, MS, and Kevin sent a copy to Tim Wildmon with AFR in Tupelo, MS. Tim invited Kevin up for an appearance on "Today's Issues," AFR's morning talk show, giving the "Moo LIke A Cow" CD national exposure.

Shortly before that appearance, while in Chattanooga, TN for one of Jeff's many surgeries, Kevin called Johnny Barranco of "Freedom Kids Records" in Nashville, to whom he had also sent a "Moo" CD. Later Barrnaco called back later saying, "We need to do this!" Kevin signed a four year contract for eight projects with "Freedom Kids Records" in August 1998.

Another high point for Kevin came after sending a copy of the "Moo" CD to Ken Boone, who has a nationally broadcast children's radio show called "We Kids," and asked permission to oused one of Kevin's songs on his show.

Johnny Barranco liked what he saw and heard in Kevin Smart's work so much, he asked him to develop a pilot for thirty minute children's radio show. The pilot has been recorded and will be marketed as "Freedom Kids Radio."

"God is great," says Kevin. "He blesses when you obey and surrender to His will. We have been truly blessed We must continue to exhibit pure faith in the little children."

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