Steven W. Smith is a fourth generation pastor. After being a pastor for many years, Dr. Smith most recently served as Vice President for Student Services and Professor of Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also served on the preaching team at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, TX. Dr. Smith is passionate about preaching and teaching preaching in the classroom. He is the author of two books on preaching: Dying to Preach, and Recapturing the Voice of God, and the co-author of Preaching for the Rest of Us, as well as related academic articles and chapters in books. He is currently busy with two other book projects. Most importantly he is married to his best friend Ashley and they have three children, Jewell, Sidney, and Shepherd.
Dr. Douglas D. Pigg received his Doctorate of Ministry and his Master of Divinity degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and his Bachelor of Science in Education from Samford University. Two decades of his 33 years in Florida, Doug served in one of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. It was during this time that his expertise and passion for administration and staff development coupled with his care and concern for God’s people became his focus. Although Doug enjoys a friendly game of golf as well as fishing and hunting, he is most comfortable helping people thrive in their journey with Christ as they seek to follow where He leads. Doug and his wife Renee have three sons, Jonathan, David, and Timothy and most importantly four adorable grandchildren. 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)
Canaan came to Immanuel in 2019 as the Lead Student Pastor. He’s a reader, a gamer, a lifelong learner, and a lover of people. Canaan graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Mass Communications/Filmmaking, but further pursued a masters in Theological Studies from Southwestern Seminary. Before Immanuel, Canaan worked as the high school pastor at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, and before that, the junior high pastor. He grew up and interned at LifePoint Church in Smyrna, TN and is thankful for those in his life who encouraged him to pursue a ministry call. Canaan’s better half is Ami, who he met in college. Together, they have two children, the effervescent and darling Millie and the strong and curious Finn. Canaan has an older brother and six little sisters, four adopted from China. His parents have instilled a love of God and family into his life. If you were to ask Canaan what his philosophy of ministry is, it would be to raise the banner of Jesus high and show the world that it’s not only possible, but ultimately fulfilling to follow His plan for your life. Romans 12:18 is his life verse and would love to remind you that “if possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Go and make much of Jesus.
Pastor of Legacy Ministry
Rusty Hart is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University. He has served as a Worship Pastor, Children’s Pastor, and Missions Pastor in other churches and leads the 55+ Adult Ministry here at Immanuel. A native of Hope, Arkansas, Rusty also served as an International Mission Board missionary to Russia for eight years in the role of Strategy Coordinator for the Ural Mountain area. Rusty led the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Cooperative Program Promotion division as well, traveling the state to promote missions and missions support. Rusty and his wife Lori have been members of Immanuel since 2010 and are the proud parents of three grown daughters, who all live here in Arkansas. As the pastor for Immanuel’s 55+ Adult Ministry, Rusty seeks to help adults navigate the changing situations of life with loving support from their church family, promote a thriving sense of community and fellowship, and help members of every age find meaningful service opportunities here at Immanuel and around the world.
Matt joined our Immanuel staff in 2012 as Lead Student Pastor. In 2019, he began to transition into leading the local and global missions of our church as our Missions Pastor. Matt has a degree in Business Marketing from Southern Arkansas University and Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Cassie, are native Arkansans and have a son named Jackson. Before coming on staff at Immanuel, he served churches in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas including the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Matt desires to serve the church and advance God’s Kingdom by leading people to: realize their need for Jesus and His plan for their lives, prioritize their relationship with Christ above all else, mobilize them into their homes, jobs, schools, neighborhoods, and beyond equipped with the Gospel to make multiplying disciples, and maximize the expansion of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Director of Preschool Ministry
Katie Hurst is our Preschool Director at Immanuel. Katie shares our passion for Jesus and for excellence in ministry. Katie holds a Bachelors from Ouachita Baptist University and a Masters from John Brown University. She has served many years in various ministry positions.
Discipleship Content Director
Courtney and her family joined Immanuel in 2019 and she came on staff as the Discipleship Content Director in 2021. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing and planning our discipleship content and curriculum across our ministries and media platforms. Prior to her time at Immanuel, she was the managing director for a non-profit ministry, and is the author of multiple books and Bible studies. She has a master’s degree in Christian Ministries from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is passionate about seeing people come to love God’s word and move forward in discipleship. She is married to Daniel and they are the proud parents of four boys: Luke, Zach, Seth, and Ben.
Pastor of Recreation
Brian Spigner joined Immanuel in 1990 and has been on staff since 2005. He and his wife, Kristen, have two sons, Slayton and Weston, and one daughter, Harper. Brian received a B.A. in Health, Physical Education & Recreation from Ouachita Baptist University as well as an M.A. in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. As Associate Pastor of Recreation, Brian oversees all ministry and programming for Immanuel’s Recreation Center. Brian has always enjoyed sports and playing all kinds of games. In the Rec Center he uses his gifting for sports and recreation as a tool for evangelism.
Pastor of Biblical Counseling
Ross serves as the pastor of Biblical Counseling. Prior to his current role, he served in the student ministry at Immanuel for nearly 10 years. He loves reading, bargain book shopping, and any sport or game. He and his wife, Caroline, have two sons, Luke and Andrew. He holds a Doctorate of Ministry in Biblical Counseling and Masters of Divinity from Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Director of Children's Ministry
Lindsay Venters joined the Immanuel staff in December 2016. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry from Leavell College and a Masters in Divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Adam, have the privilege of raising two sons, Beau and Rigby. She has served in various ministries in church including college, youth and missions ministries. She became a Christian at age 8, and one of her biggest influences was growing up with her father in Campus Ministry at LSU where her heart for the Lord, missions and people grew. As Director of Children’s Ministry she oversees all aspects of ministry to children in 1st-5th grades. She considers it a privilege and a joy to help children and families at Immanuel serve and grow in the Lord.
Mark Carter was born and raised here at Immanuel. He and his wife, Laura, have quadruplets, Michael, Katherine, Leslie and Ashley. Mark received a B.A. in Business Administration from Baylor University. As the Pastor for Church Administration, Mark manages our church operations and finances and also provides leadership for the church’s discipleship process. God has given Mark a passion for missional business, making reproducible disciples, marketplace ministry, and cross-cultural missions.