After training as a plumber he started his own business in 1882 and that same year he got married to Polly. During the first three years of marriage Polly taught him how to read and write. The plumbing business was successful but it began to consume more and more of his time. Extreme busyness caused by a very bad winter in 1884 resulted in many burst pipes which badly affected his spiritual life. He grew cold in heart as he neglected private prayer and public attendance at meetings which led him into a backslidden condition for a period of two years. During this time his wife burnt all the brighter in her devotion to God, and she soon won him back to Christ. He eventually went on to become a powerful Spirit-filled Evangelist who travelled the country preaching, seeing souls saved, and sick bodies healed.
When he first stepped out in faith to preach full time rusting God for all his financial provisions he laid down only one condition, that if his shoe-heals or the knees of his trousers ever wore out that he would go back to secular work as it would reveal that his Heavenly Father could not look after him. He coveted no man’s silver or gold and he hated extravagance wherever he saw it. He never made known his needs when he ministered and he never asked for guaranteed payment. He always promoted the needs of others.
In 1915 Smith was invited to join the council of the Pentecostal Missionary Union (PMU). At his yearly convention in his church in Bradford he raised large amounts of money for the PMU missionaries and for the Congo Evangelistic Mission (CEM), run by W.F.P. Burton. When he travelled ministering in churches and conventions he always insisted on taking up a missionary offering as a priority. He kept enough money for his own expenses and then poured everything else back into foreign missions so the gospel could be carried to those in other countries who had never heard of Christ. In the year 1920 alone, he raised £2,150 for missions and he sent £1,400 of this to the PMU, which was over a third of their income that year.
During the 1920’s and 1930’s he travelled to many nations, among them Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, India, Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada, Palestine, and South Africa. He made ten trips to America, ten to Switzerland, and five to Scandinavia. He often ministered in small meetings but he also preached frequently to large crowds of 4,000 and even 20,000 people. His sermons and testimonies were published in all the major Pentecostal magazines in many nations. Everywhere he went leaders and believers were inspired by his dynamic faith and the remarkable healings that followed his ministry. By the time he died in 1947, at the age of 87, he was known across the world as the Apostle of Faith – a man rich in faith. He had stored up his riches in Heaven.