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AU News

Pastor Goes from Physical Healthcare to Spiritual Healthcare

April 25, 2023
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Pastor Robbie Baxley has always wanted to help others in need. After a long tenure in healthcare, God called him to be a pastor.

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Robbie Baxley devoted much of his adult life to the healthcare needs of his community. 

Baxley, who is currently enrolled in the Anderson University College of Christian Studies, feels that his God-given skills in healthcare have gone hand-in-hand with Christian ministry.

The son of an associate pastor at a small church, Baxley always felt his heart’s desire was to help others in need. 

“I always wanted to help people—I just didn’t know what avenue. We had some folks in our church that were in healthcare, and I was afforded some opportunities every once in a while, especially during school. We got to job shadow in a lot of hospitals and start understanding that setting, so it just lit a fire. I was leaning toward pharmacy or radiology… As God began to work again to pray, He opened more doors and it seemed like radiology was where we were going to land. There were a lot of computer aspects, of course, with digital imaging. So I enjoyed computers,” he said. “The Lord just continued to open doors in that area, and I was still able to help people. Probably some of my most rewarding time has been in the cardiology side, where I worked in the cath lab for many years, putting stents in people’s coronary arteries and ballooning and clearing the plaque out and things like that. It was always great to see somebody come in suffering from a heart attack and see them leave a whole different person. Obviously God was using those talents and skills. Of course He gets all the glory. But to help save people’s lives—that was really rewarding. It still is.”

Baxley holds degrees in radiology and is board certified in four different areas—primarily nuclear cardiology being the primary—and directed a radiology department for more than 20 years. 

At the same time, Baxley has served in many church leadership roles. In 2017, he was licensed in the ministry at First Baptist Church of Mullins, South Carolina. He felt God was leading him into full time ministry, so in 2019 he retired from healthcare and the church called him to be their pastor. First Baptist Mullins has experienced growth, particularly in the number of young families joining. About 900 people now call First Baptist Mullins their church home.

Baxley is blessed to have been a member of First Baptist Mullins for many years. For his wife, Caroline, First Baptist Mullins is the only church she’s known. They feel blessed by knowing members and their families for practically a lifetime and having the opportunity to welcome new members and their families into a growing congregation. 

“I’ve been chairman of the deacons three or four times, taught almost every level of Sunday school from little kids all the way up to 80 and 90 year old women’s only classes,” he commented. “Long story short, I was singing in the Southern Gospel group, I was doing a lot of things for the Lord—singing, and and also ministering here at the church, and then had a lot of churches would call for me to fill in if a pastor was on vacation or out sick for a couple of weeks,” Baxley said. “I would fill in for the next six weeks while this guy’s recovering from surgery. God just really began to pour in me and work in my heart and began to call louder and more with affirmation that He had something bigger.”

The walls of his pastor’s study are filled with degrees highlighting his healthcare credentials, and Baxley is working on adding some Anderson University degrees to add to that wall. 

Baxley knew that he wanted to pursue further studies early on in his pastorate, and when considering institutions across the state, he found that the Anderson University College of Christian Studies was a great fit. 

“Anderson was the only one that had a pathway for me to be able to take ministry online to pursue a bachelor’s in Christian studies, and ultimately I’m working on a master’s in ministry,” he said. “There was no way possible for me to be able to leave and just go sit on the campus, even on a weekend, because we’re preaching on the weekends. I’m just so thankful to the Lord for Anderson University and how He opened that door to afford an opportunity for people like me to be able to pursue our degrees in Christian studies, and ultimately, hopefully a master’s, and if the Lord should provide a Ph.D one day. The professors have all been fantastic, and I have learned a lot.” 

Baxley especially appreciates the fact that most of his professors are currently serving as pastors. 

“They’ve just added another level to it because they understand. They’re preparing three sermons a week—Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night—like I am, so they get it,” he said. He’s also been able to earn master’s course credit while still in his bachelor’s program.

For Baxley, known to his congregation as Pastor Robbie,  shepherding a growing church in a small town involves combining the wisdom of older longtime members with the energy and strength of younger ones.  

Baxley continues to keep his healthcare licenses up-to-date and serves as a consultant to the healthcare system he worked for. 

“God didn’t tell me to go throw all that away and just walk away. I don’t know if He might use us way down the road to be a medical missionary. I still love that part of life, so I try to keep all my skills up and stay in the game with that, because that game is changing and evolving every day in medicine. But that keeps me sharp,” he said. “In healthcare I was helping people physically most of the time. Now I feel like I’m helping people in a much greater way spiritually. God doesn’t always do things in our early time. Sometimes He’s preparing us, and He may be using what we’re in right now to prepare us for the next ministry step, so until He calls me all I am of the mind that I have no idea what he may still use or call me to do until one day I’m standing there and kneeling and laying my crown at His feet.”


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