Pastor and Wife Date Night provides encouragement

Gatherings planned for Midland, Keller and Houston

August 5th, 2019 / By: Kayla Rinker / comments

AUSTIN   It was an evening filled with laughter and a few tears, but the Smiths’ favorite part of the “Pastor Wife Date Night” held in Austin last March was the power of personal prayer that brought them some much-needed peace.

“Our marriage has never been in trouble or anything, but there are struggles in ministry that can just wear you out,” said Dusty Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church Cameron. He and his wife, Kristy, have been married for 19 years and have three teenagers at home.

“This was an opportunity to stop and catch our breath,” he said. “We are going through a slow revitalization process right now at church and this event gave us another shot in the arm to continue in the work God has led us to. Receiving encouragement helps you stay the course and it helps you realize God is in control.”

The Austin location was one of six Pastor Wife Date Nights that the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is hosting this year. One was held in Lufkin, one in El Paso and three additional date nights are scheduled for this fall: Sept. 6 at Alamo Heights Baptist Church in Midland; Sept. 13 at First Baptist Church of Keller; and Nov. 15 at Houston Northwest Church. Each Pastor Wife Date Night includes plenty of support and encouragement, a catered dinner and door prizes. They are free of charge for all senior and associate pastors of SBTC churches and their wives.

“By going out into the state through these date nights and meeting with pastors where they are, we realized we could potentially increase our engagement by 400 percent,” said Tony Wolfe, director of pastor/church relations at the SBTC. “Our department can often be a triage where we end up mostly helping with difficult situations. We want to serve our pastors and wives with encouragement and invest in them on the front end as much as we can.”

During each date night, Wolfe and his wife, Vanessa, along with a rotating group of several other SBTC staff couples, participate in a panel discussion that includes topics ranging from creative date night ideas to most embarrassing moments in ministry.

“Mark Dance from LifeWay often says that the pastorate is the only profession in the world where you must win both at work and at home,” Wolfe said. “In other words, if his home life is poor, it will hurt his standing as a pastor. That’s a heavy responsibility, and if you don’t pull away from the weightiness of it to laugh together and enjoy each other as a couple, it will get to you.”

Smith enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere and challenging presentation during the date night, but he especially appreciated the Wolfes’ heart for pastoral care and the time they took before and after the event to invest in the people there.

“They seemed laser-focused on meeting the needs of our family,” he said. “We stayed and talked for close to an hour after the event itself and they prayed over us. They even followed up, which is not always the case with larger state-run events. Their personal touch impressed me.”

Steve Meadows, pastor at Westside Baptist Church in Crockett, attended the date night event in Lufkin along with his wife, Terri.

Sitting with couples 20 or more years his junior, Meadows left the event encouraged about the future of the Great Commission and refreshed to “keep on keeping on” in the good work God has assigned them to in Crockett.

“The most important ministry a pastor has is at home and if he loses that, he’s lost everything,” Meadows said. “I don’t care how old you are or if you’ve been married five years or 40 years like Terri and I have, as pastors we need to be making our marriage, our children and our grandchildren a priority.”

For more information or to register to attend one of the three remaining 2019 Pastor Wife Date Nights, visit