Duane and Cristina, 1993.
“When you see people apply the Word that you had the joy of teaching them, it is a tremendous blessing.”
Duane and Cristina Smith grew up in Christian families and came to faith at a young age, meeting at Calvary and marrying soon after. They stayed in the KC area for four years and were highly involved in their local church. Learning how a body of believers functioned would later become integral to them becoming spiritual mentors in their future home church. When the Lord took them to Marshfield, WI, Duane served as the assistant pastor of Calvary Bible Church, where he and Cristina served for over 8 years; during this time, they had all three of their sons. Today, Duane is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Waukon, IA.
When reflecting on how his educational journey impacted his future career in ministry, Duane stated: “The education I received from Calvary laid a biblical and theological foundation for my life in ministry. As a pastoral studies major, my classes helped me understand the practical side of ministry, and Dr. Raiford shared wisdom with us ‘preacher boys,’ as he called us, that was absolutely invaluable.” He also added that his music training at Calvary helped prepare him for conducting worship in church services for over twenty-five years. Cristina reflects that her double major in Biblical Counseling and Church Music was exactly what she needed: “I am blessed to have been the Worship Coordinator at our church for many years now and use my degree not only in accompanying piano and worship leading, but in planning worship services year-round. As for counseling, I use the knowledge I gained from this degree every day.”
When asked what the most rewarding thing about full-time ministry has been, Duane states that it has been witnessing people grow in their faith: “There are many things that can discourage you in this ministry if you let it, but when you see people apply the Word that you had the joy of teaching them, it is a tremendous blessing.” Cristina adds, “There’s nothing like seeing the chains of sin being broken in people’s lives and watching them live in the freedom of their new identity in Christ.”
Duane sends a special word of counsel to those pursuing pastoral ministry: “Remember to cultivate a close relationship with the Lord now. As a pastor, you will be the one feeding others and discipling them. You must learn to feed yourself spiritually! Don’t just look at the Bible as another textbook. Treat it as the living and active Word of God that you derive your spiritual nourishment from. Serving God as a pastor is a tremendous blessing, but if you are trying to do it in your own strength it will be a disaster.”
Duane and Cristina both look forward to what God has in store for their future as a couple serving God in the church. Duane states that he looks forward to seeing people grow in Christ and use their gifts to serve Him: “There are some young men who are wanting to be discipled in my church, and that process will begin soon. I pray that God uses them in mighty ways!” Cristina adds, “We hope to plan another mission trip soon as they have transformed our church family into thinking globally and strengthened individuals in their personal walks with God.”
Duane Smith speaking at Calvary’s 2022 Baccalaureate.
Duane and Cristina’s sons, Nathan (CU grad, 23), Michael (21), and Jacob (18).