Michael W. Smith
Christian contemporary music legend Michael W. Smith--also known as "Smitty"-- didn't start his professional career in front of a microphone. Instead, he took a behind-the-scenes approach, penning successful hits for big-name gospel stars like Sandi Patty, Kathy Troccoli, and Amy Grant in the early '80s. Since then, he's become a Grammy Award-winning star in his own right, and made the transition to the big screen with 2006's "The Second Chance," in which he plays an associate pastor and musician at a wealthy suburban megachurch who is forced to work with a black pastor at an inner-city church. In a Beliefnet interview, Smith spoke about the challenge of forming community at megachurches and emphasized the need for home groups. "I think there's some megachurches, or any church for that matter, who are trying to lure the audience in, and they're using entertainment," he said. "Because of that, you're watering down the Gospel." In 1994 he founded a teen club, Rocketown, in Nashville, to provide a safe place for young people. He is active in Billy Graham Crusades and The Samaritan's Purse, a ministry headed by Franklin Graham. In 2006 he released the pop/worship album "Stand."