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)
Jason joined the Immanuel team in 2019. He has served in local church ministry since 1998. Before coming to Little Rock, Jason served as a worship pastor in churches in Ohio, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee, and while living in Alabama, he served on the faculty of the University of Mobile. Originally from Mobile, Jason travelled with his father’s music group, TRUTH, after graduating from Liberty University. Jason’s ministry experience has allowed him to travel the world and record music for over 30 years.
Jason graduated with a degree in Church Music from Liberty University and is currently completing a master’s degree in Worship Leadership from the University of Mobile. Jason and his wife Amy met at Liberty and have 4 children: Emily, Abigail, Jackson and Jefferson. They love spending time together as a family and serving the Lord together. They are passionate about leading people in worship and training the next generation to do the same.
Pastor of Ministries and Mission
Cody Brumley joined Immanuel in 2019 as the Pastor of Ministries and Mission to align the ministries of the church with the mission of being a Kingdom Advancing Gospel Church. Cody and his wife Breanna have been serving the church together since 2007. After serving as a Baptist Collegiate Ministries Director in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cody joined the staff of First Baptist Jenks, Oklahoma as the Student Pastor and later as the Executive Pastor. While he enjoys watching good football, basketball or a concert, Cody most enjoys seeing people take the next step in their faith. He holds a Mass Communication degree from Northeastern State University and Masters in Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. God has blessed him and Breanna with three children, Charlotte, Walker, and Judah. They love being a part of this church family and this city.
Pastor of Church Administration
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.
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.
Chinese Mission Pastor
Chunhai Li was born in Heilongjiang, China. He experienced God’s healing power and was saved by Jesus Christ in 1993 at the age of 16. He received his Master of Theology from Nanjing Union Theological Seminary in 2005 and his Master of Religion from Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma in 2010. Chunhai planted and pastored Northwest Mandarin Church and Lawton First Chinese Church in Oklahoma in the past ten years. In June 2018, Immanuel Baptist Church called him to be the Chinese Mission Pastor. He is married to his lovely wife Shasha and they have two children, Tiffany and Isaiah. His serving motive is “I am not disobedient to the vision from heaven” Acts 26:19.
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.
Middle School Pastor
Ross serves as the pastor over our middle school ministry. He holds a Doctorate of Ministry in Biblical Counseling and Masters of Divinity from Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary and earned his B.A. in Christian Studies from Ouachita Baptist University. Prior to joining the staff at Immanuel, Ross was the student and college pastor for Second Baptist in Arkadelphia. As middle school pastor, Ross seeks to join arms with parents to develop a biblical approach of discipleship for middle school students. He and his wife, Caroline, have two sons, Luke and Andrew.
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.