Gardner-Webb’s Close-knit Community Supports Academic Success

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Mindy Robinson (’16) Grows in Faith, Develops Skills for Ministry   

While earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Gardner-Webb University, Mindy Robinson (’16) realized that the most important part of her education wasn’t found in a textbook.

“In both my undergraduate and graduate studies, what I valued most was the Gardner-Webb community,” she reflected. “I met my husband, Chase, and some of my very best friends. I have formed lasting relationships that I will carry with me long after my time at Gardner-Webb has come to an end. There are several professors that I would feel comfortable calling and talking to about whatever was going on in my life. These relationships and this community were crucial to my academic success, and the people truly made my experience what it was.”

Some of the professors who had a profound effect on her did so by their actions as much as through the subjects they taught. Department Chair and Professor of Religious Studies Dr. Eddie Stepp offered a listening ear and words of advice. Because of his friendship, the Robinsons asked him to perform their wedding ceremony. Adjunct Professor Dr. Guy Sayles displayed enthusiasm in the classroom, a heart and passion for the ministry and commitment to his students. Professor of Biology Dr. Timothy Zehnder genuinely cared for students, and he and his wife reached out to those who lived too far away to go home for the holidays.

Robinson grew spiritually while learning how to share the gospel with people of other beliefs. “My Spiritual Formation Classes made me focus on myself and my relationship with the Lord and taught me different spiritual practices that would enhance my walk with Christ,” she disclosed. “This is crucial in ministry: learning to first nourish yourself, so that you can then pour into others. My time at Gardner-Webb has taught me how to love people and how to accept those who are different from myself. It has also enhanced my time management skills, my administrative abilities, and my interpersonal skills. All of these things will help me in my ministry.”

Originally from Charlotte, N.C., Robinson came to Gardner-Webb to pursue a degree in nursing, but changed her major to missiology after taking a mission trip to Guatemala. “I have a love for people. I long to see lost souls come to know the Lord, and I love participating in various cultural activities,” she shared. “I see the kingdom of God as inclusive, broad, and incredibly diverse. I want to see that reality here on earth. It isn’t going to happen unless we tell the world about Jesus Christ and unless we learn to accept one another’s differences and recognize those things as a reflection of God’s creativity.”

Robinson’s husband also has undergrad and graduate degrees from Gardner-Webb. He is the pastor at Sandy Plains Baptist Church in Shelby, N.C., and previously served as the church’s youth pastor. She supports his ministry and also works as student ministries assistant in the GWU Office of Christian Life and Service. “As an undergraduate student, I participated in four mission trips through the Office of Christian Life and Service,” she affirmed. “The people in this office are truly some of the best people that I know. They have a heart for the students and a heart for the Lord and their leadership and friendship has made a huge impact on my life. I am honored now to be a part of this leadership team through my job in this office, and my prayer is that I might have this same impact on the students to come.”