While Attending GWU, Couple Discerns Calling to Serve the Local Church

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Chase and Mindy Robinson met While Serving in Campus Ministry

Chase Robinson (’16) of Vale, N.C., came to Gardner-Webb University thinking he was on his way to the foreign mission field. As he began serving in student ministries and working in local churches, he discovered God’s calling was closer to home, and he wouldn’t be alone.

His future included Mindy McNeely (’16), a young woman he met through Fellowship of Christians United in Service (FOCUS), a student ministry involving teams of students who lead youth retreats locally and regionally. “Mindy was my FOCUS leader our sophomore year,” Chase reminisced. “The next year we were co-leaders. Before we dated, we were blessed with the opportunity to grow as friends and also to lead in a ministry together. It’s amazing to think that my partner in that ministry became my partner in life. And she is just that. She supports me, encourages me, and is one of the only people willing to lovingly tell me when she thinks I’m headed down the wrong road.”

Looking back, Mindy believes their love for each other grew while they served God. “We dated for about a year and were friends long before that,” she affirmed. “It didn’t take long into our dating relationship for me to realize that Chase was everything I had ever wanted in a husband. I just knew that I didn’t want to be with anybody else. I love supporting Chase in his ministry, but I love that it is not one-sided. We mutually support and love one another. Likewise, we love other people, and it is one of my greatest joys to get to do that and serve together.”

Both Chase and Mindy changed their majors because of their Gardner-Webb experiences. He switched from missions to biblical studies, and she changed from nursing to missiology after taking her first of four mission trips with the GWU Office of Christian Life and Service. “I long to see lost souls come to know the Lord, and I love participating in various cultural activities,” Mindy 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.”

When Chase decided to continue his education at the GWU School of Divinity, Mindy chose to attend as well. They completed their undergraduate degrees in December 2012, and she moved back home to Charlotte, N.C., until they were married Sept. 21, 2013. Divinity classes started a few weeks before the wedding. “It was a really crazy and busy time, but somehow we made it work,” Mindy explained. “We were both working multiple part-time jobs, but we were very intentional about not taking any night classes that first year so we could concentrate on our marriage. By both being in school, we were able to spend this time together and help each other in the process.”

The Robinsons were also supported by their professors and friends in the Gardner-Webb community. “There are several professors that I would feel comfortable calling and talking to about whatever was going on in my life,” shared Mindy, who works as student ministries assistant in the GWU Office of Christian Life and Service. “Dr. Eddie Stepp is one who has always been there for me and my husband, offering a listening ear, words of advice, and even an office to hang out in between classes. When Chase and I were planning our wedding, he was our first and obvious pick for who we wanted to marry us.”

Two weeks after graduating from the GWU School of Divinity, Chase accepted the call to pastor Sandy Plains Baptist Church in Shelby, N.C. He transitioned to the role after serving as the church’s youth and children’s minister for three years. “I love being with people and building meaningful relationships,” reflected Chase, who earned a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies. “My job gives me great opportunities to do so. I still have a heart for missions, but right now my mission field is just a little closer to home than I thought I would be when I started at Gardner-Webb.”

Divinity school prepared Chase to make the transition from youth pastor to pastor. “The classes and material we covered helped in a very real way, but I think even more than that, the community helped me,” Chase assessed. “I was blessed to have Dr. Robert Canoy (School of Divinity dean) as our interim pastor during the transition. His guidance was invaluable. Other professors encouraged me, answered my questions, and gave me much needed advice and direction. Most of all, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can continue to come to them for direction and encouragement for years to come.”