Every Friday, Baptist Women in Ministry introduces an amazing minister, and today we are excited to introduce you to Robin Sandbothe.
Robin, tell us about your current ministry role.
I am the director of Seminary Relations at Central Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas (Kansas City metro area). I’ve worked at Central since 1997. For just over a year, I also have been the coordinating pastor of spiritual relationships at Englewood Baptist Church in Gladstone, Missouri (also Kansas City metro area). Englewood is the church which ordained me in 2001. I’ve returned there to serve with a team of two other pastors: Cynthia Saddler, coordinating pastor of congregational relationships, and Mark Buhlig, coordinating pastor of community relationships.
What have been some challenges along the way as you have lived out your calling?
The challenges began when I was in seminary. I served as the student liaison for the chapel planning team, and I was told in no uncertain terms by the president of the Southern Baptist seminary that I attended that we would not have any women preaching in chapel. It was my first inkling, well maybe not the first, but certainly the most blatant, that the road I had chosen, or that had chosen me, was not going to be an easy one.
Although I had hoped to find a full-time church position after graduation, I found those positions to be pretty much non-existent. I was fortunate to find the full-time position at Central, which allowed me to serve in a part-time associate pastor position. I was still certain that the situation was only temporary. I loved my position at Central, but I still saw myself as a lead pastor. It was not to be. Sadly, churches in this area of the country were more interested in hiring a male pastor close to retirement or a young couple just starting out before hiring a woman with congregational leadership experience, even a woman recommended by Central’s homiletics and New Testament professors.
To be fair, I might have been able to find a full-time congregational ministry position had I been willing to move to another area of the country, but moving was another challenge. As a single woman, I found the idea of relocating where I would have no support system, to be a daunting prospect. I also was reluctant increase the distance from aging parents.
Who has inspired you along the way?
Other women in ministry are inspiring to me. I have been a part of ministry peer groups comprised of women, and their sheer tenacity, in the face of similar obstacles, has been impressive. Women who have been fighting the battle for many years, before I even understood what it meant to be called to ministry, inspire me, women like the Molly T. Marshall, president of Central Seminary. My professors in seminary also inspired me. The professors and other colleagues at Central continue to inspire me, as do my colleagues at Englewood.
I’m also inspired by authors such as Marjorie Thompson, Phyllis Tickle, Barbara Brown Taylor, Diana Butler Bass, Marcus Borg, and Richard Rohr.
How do you keep yourself healthy–physically and spiritually?
I wish I could say that I exercise regularly, eat only healthy food, and have a rich daily time of meditation. Frankly, all of those are hit or miss. I tend to overcommit and eat way too much sugar, and the only decent exercise I get is working in the garden on occasion, and, fortunately, I live on a lower level of a house and have to take the stairs when I come and go!
I do appreciate spiritual practices of labyrinth walking, lectio divina, coloring mandalas, and centering prayer. Planning worship and singing in choir are also important to my spiritual life. I am currently completing a certificate in spiritual formation with Columbia Theological Seminary, which is enhancing my spiritual journey and I believe is also helping me to lead others in their spiritual journeys.