We hear a lot about Kathryn Kuhlman and Maria Woodworth-Etter whom both I love, but there also was a black woman that God had his hands mightily upon named Elder Lucy! Her ministry makes my baby within go crazy!
Lucy Turner Smith, also known as Elder Lucy Smith, was the first black woman to build and pastor a megachurch in Chicago, which was named All Nations Pentecostal Church. She saw an estimated “200,000” miracles and healings in her ministry.
The greatest encouragement from Elder Lucy Smith was “just be yourself.” She was known to have little regard for grammar, and she never tried to be oratorical. She would at times calmly talk and move around as she preached or ministered, but when she prayed for the sick, all manners of sickness and disease would be healed. What she lacked in man’s eyes, God’s power greatly compensated!
Lucy was born on January 14, 1875 in Woodstock, Georgia, and birth named: Lucinda Madden. She was born in a “little one-room log cabin” where she and 5 siblings were raised solely by their mother. She gave her life to the Lord at the age of 12 and began school for the first time in her life at the age of 13. She went on to marry and have nine children, but she was abandoned by her husband and decided to move to Chicago in 1910.
After being in the city a couple of years, Elder Lucy joined a predominantly white Pentecostal church called Stone Church. It was known for its incredible healing services. The most well-known divine healing ministers of the time regularly ministered there: William Seymour, Smith Wiggelsworth, John G. Lake, Maria Woodworth Etter. It was in this atmosphere of miracles where she received her personal calling into the divine healing ministry.
Lucy began a “one-room prayer meeting” in her own house with only two people. The meeting grew quickly as many were being healed and baptized with The Holy Ghost. Three years later they moved out to a larger facility. After 10 years, in 1926, she built a $65,000 church (equivalent to one million dollars today) and by the 1930s, had nearly 5,000 members. She said that the healing services were the reason for such growth.
The healing services at All Nation Pentecostal Church were phenomenal. Elder Lucy Smith would hold healing services three times a week. The deaf, the blind, the crippled, the lame, stroke victims, and those with goiters and cancers were healed weekly. The basement of the church was “decorated” with the crutches and canes of many who had been healed. Lucy traveled across the state of Illinois and abroad, taking God’s healing power and seeing several hundreds healed and saved. She was popular with people of all classes and color who would come from near and far.
God spoke to Lucy and told her to broadcast the services over the radio. This broadcast became known as “The Glorious Church of the Air” radio program in 1933. It was the first LIVE service to ever be broadcast from a black church. It would often result in letters coming in from all over the country, telling how people had been healed as she prayed. The radio program also helped fund the tremendous charity work the church did. They fed thousands of people during the Great Depression and provided food and clothing to black families in the city.
Lucy Smith is a primary example of what tremendous exploits God can do with a simple yielded vessel. She didn’t try to be more than she was. She simply knew what she was called to, and she stuck to it. Lucy died on June 18th, 1952 and over 60,000 people came to show their respects. It was the largest funeral in Chicago history.
© Hope Anthony
2 thoughts on “A God’s General: Elder Lucy Smith”
Are there any books that have been written about, her life and ministry? I would love to read about Her.
I am so grateful to have come across this incredible article on Elder Lucy Smith. I too love and appreciate all the men and women of God who have yielded themselves to be used in love and mighty power of the Spirit. It’s just refreshing to hear of African Americans whom God also used like He did with Mother Edder, John G Lake and Smith Wigglesworth. Gid is also calling me to chicago I’ll.