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What will be the “signs” of the end of the Church Age?

What will be the “signs” of the end of the Church Age?

What will be the “signs” of the end of the Church Age?

“And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end . . .  And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold.” (Matthew 24:6, 12, NASV). To what extent should we expect to see these end times prophetic events to occur in our day?

Join Calvary University’s Dr. Mike Dodds as he and Dr. Richard Schmidt of Prophecy Focus Ministries discuss his recent book, Globalism, and end time prophecies.

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Duane and Cristina Smith: Faithfully Building up the Body of Christ

Duane and Cristina Smith: Faithfully Building up the Body of Christ

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).

Why hassle with serious Bible study?

Why hassle with serious Bible study?

Why would someone already engaged in a successful career complicate life by enrolling in graduate school? Why would a person who has completed a successful career go back to school? Or what if you or a friend are involved in ministry as a lay person, why would you or they need seminary training? Is getting a degree online worth the hassle of the extra time and effort added to an already busy and fruitful life and ministry?

Join Dr. Mike Dodds, Mentor for the Master of Divinity degree at Calvary University, as he talks with Ric Joyner, founder of “Bible Study Company” (, about why he is pursuing a graduate degree at CU, and how learning to study the Bible has changed his life and marriage.

Visit the Calvary Conversations page to join the conversation, get on our email list and learn more.

Alumnus Recognized: Bruce Baker

Alumnus Recognized: Bruce Baker

Dr. Bruce Baker (CTS ‘97) and his wife, Bonnie, were married for 40 years and had three children together: Daniel, Jacob, and Elizabeth. Dr. Baker went to be with the Lord on February 13, 2022 from ALS complications.

Dr. Baker served in the US Navy for 11 years until he was honorably discharged in 1991. He dedicated the rest of his life to ministry and preaching the Gospel at various churches and across the globe. He received his Master’s of Divinity from Calvary Theological Seminary in 1997 and his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Baptist Bible Seminary. According to his wife, “his extroverted personality made him a natural teacher and expository preacher, and God allowed him to be a gifted one.” Bonnie also said that he hardly ever wasted an opportunity to talk about Christ with those around him.

In 1999, Dr. Baker went on a mission trip and discovered the impact he could have in teaching pastors and church leaders from across the globe who did not have access to sound biblical teaching. From that point on, for as long as his health allowed him to, he traveled to over 11 different countries on 4 different continents on an annual basis. In 2007, he took a trip to central Africa which stirred within him a passion and love for the people who lived there. The trip also gave him the idea to start his own organization, called Becoming Mature. Dr. Baker created this organization to help train pastors and church leaders, as well as build churches in central Africa. The Bakers’ son, Jacob, is now the Executive Director and Missionary-at-Large for Becoming Mature. Bonnie and their daughter, Elizabeth, also help with the ministry. Bonnie is the Office Manager and Elizabeth is the Online Coordinator. The Baker family hopes to continue expanding the ministry and the work being done in Africa through Becoming Mature.

In the last 12 years, Dr. Baker wrote two books. In 2010, he published Spiritual Maturity: The Road to Wonderland. After being diagnosed with ALS in 2018, he wanted to write a book of hope for believers who, like him, would stare death in the face. In 2019, he published For Thou Art With Me: Biblical Help for the Terminally Ill and Those Who Love Them.

According to Bonnie, Dr. Baker’s true passion was teaching others about the Lord and the Bible. “When he could no longer preach, it was a very low point for him.” COVID brought about more complications for his desire to teach, as it meant that he was not able to leave home. However, God continued to use and bless Dr. Baker, “He was asked to teach the adult Sunday School class. He would sit at his computer, in front of the camera and God would give him just enough energy to make it through the lesson. But that was enough for Bruce,” Bonnie continued, saying, “Even right up to the end of his life, God just kept giving Bruce small, yet vital roles.”

Calvary University is delighted to recognize Dr. Baker for his faithful service in ministry. During Calvary’s commencement service on May 7th, Bonnie Baker accepted the Alumni Association Award on behalf of her late husband and announced the establishment of the Baker Scholarship in his honor.

To invest in the Dr. Bruce Baker Mermorial Scholarship fund, please click here to visit 

For more information about Becoming Mature, established by Dr. Baker, please click here to visit

Rev. Tom Zobrist: A Man of Ministry

Rev. Tom Zobrist: A Man of Ministry

Calvary gave me a solid foundation of Bible and theology on which all of the ministry God has given me has been built.


During this year’s Calvary Commencement Ceremony,  Rev. Thomas (Tom) A. Zobrist will be receiving his Honorary Doctorate of Divinity. Additionally, Calvary will introduce the Zobrist Family Scholarship in recognition of Tom and his wife Cindi’s exceptional contributions to Calvary University and their deep and enduring ties to the Calvary community. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial support for those who, like Tom, actively demonstrate a passion for full-time ministry. 

Tom has been a pastor for nearly 35 years since he graduated from Calvary University in 1987. After just one year of internship, he was called to pastor Liberty Bible Church, a small storefront church in Eureka, Illinois. Over his years of pastoring, he has watched his once small church transform into a lively home of over 500 members: “We are a mission minded church from which many of our blessings come. We have an excellent leadership team there including two pastors that are also Calvary graduates, and we have many mature men to disciple our younger men.” Tom has also had a hand in ministries outside pastoring his church: “IFCA International, Calvary University, Brazil Gospel Fellowship Mission, and Adelphos USA are all ministries I have been able to serve for many years. I have grown to love the people and places and am thankful to the Lord and to LBC that I have been able to be a part of these ministries.” 

Tom’s experience of attending Calvary was both invigorating and challenging. He was a father of three children at the time, balancing family, work, school, and homework all at once; yet to this day he is incredibly grateful for the impact Calvary made on him both personally and professionally. He reflects: “Calvary gave me a solid foundation of Bible and theology on which all of the ministry God has given me has been built. The practical classes offered for pastoral ministry were all so valuable that I have kept all of the notes from every class and referred to them over the years.” As a young man, Tom looked up to many of the men that were leaders at Calvary during his educational journey, and he strived to reflect a life that exhibited dedication to the Lord as they did. Two men in particular, Dr. Madison and Dr. Langmade, impacted Tom’s life as a believer long after he graduated from Calvary. “I also have to mention one Board of Trustee member that first told me of Calvary and took me for my first visit,” Tom reflects, “Wilbur ‘Bud’ Miller was an elder at my home church and he remained my friend until the day he was promoted to glory.” Ultimately, through many men of faith at Calvary, Tom learned the importance of passing on knowledge and he experienced a new generation of leaders for the church: “That is why I encourage young people to consider Calvary, where they continue to teach the same theology after 90 years.” 

Concerning his ministry and career journey, Tom says there were “many hard knocks along the way”, but despite it all, he had many pastors help him in times of need and he had a church that was gracious and showed love toward him regardless of his flaws: “God used them all to refine me and make me a better servant of our Lord.” He goes on to say that there are so many accounts of impact he has had as a minister that he would have to write a book to share them all, but one of the most amazing experiences he had was baptizing his 79 year-old mother while her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren watched. “Our church continues to grow at a rapid pace and it is exciting to meet new families and watch them get excited about the Bible. I hope to work with more young aspiring pastors to help them gain the experience they need to serve in the local church.”


The Zobrist Family Scholarship will be given in honor of both Tom and his wife Cindi, for their deep and enduring ties with Calvary University. 

Christian Leaders Conference Focuses on Reality of Creation

Christian Leaders Conference Focuses on Reality of Creation

Weekly Portraits of Calvary Life

On February 8, Christian leaders and Calvary students gathered for a one-day conference focused on creation.  Dr. Baurain taught the first session, and Dr. Cone spoke on how to use the truth about creation in evangelism and discipleship.  Dr. Gromacki’s lesson on why believing in a literal Adam matters doubled as Chapel for the students.  After lunch, Dr. Dodds addressed the theological significance of creation.  Dr. Boyd taught the final session of the day.  It is our prayer that all of the attendees came away with an understanding of the importance of the literal, six-day creation.

Sara Klaassen

Alumni Relations Coordinator