Sherri Robbins and her husband, Steven, have served for the past six years as student ministry pastors at Capital Church (McLean Foursquare Church) in Vienna, Va., and as youth camp directors for the Mid-Atlantic district for the past three years. As of August 5, the couple was appointed as pastors of Sonrise Community Church (Westminster Foursquare Church) in Westminster, Md.—Steven as senior pastor, Sherri as co-pastor.
Sherri Robbins’ life and ministry is marked by a testimony of God’s faithfulness. She grew up attending a Foursquare church in Massachusetts, where she discovered her personal relationship with Christ at age 15 while attending a Foursquare youth retreat. God spoke to Sherri at that young age about her calling to minister to women.
After graduating from high school, Sherri attended Life Bible College East in Christiansburg, Va., married her college sweetheart, Steven, and dedicated her life to full-time ministry. But it wasn’t until she was nearly 30 that she fully discovered the incredible nature of God’s faithfulness, though not through the easiest of circumstances.
Sunday, April 19, 2009, is a date that marks Sherri’s life and testimony. She and Steven’s newly purchased home burned to the ground. On that particular Sunday evening, Steven and Sherri had put their two young children to bed early, and were relaxing in their bedroom.
Sherri describes a prompting to check on her children, earlier than her normal evening routine. As she entered her children’s bedroom, she distinguished some unusual rattling sounds coming from downstairs, and realized that the house was on fire. She and Steven quickly evacuated with their children.
“It all happened so fast,” Sherri recalls. “We were standing in our pajamas, barefoot in the street, watching our house burn, and within a few short minutes, the attic collapsed, and the children’s bedroom was the first to be engulfed in flames. Next, all the floors dropped in on each other—all the way to the basement.
“We lost everything in just a matter of moments,” she continues. “That night, if I had not been prompted to check on my children in time, my whole family, especially our children, could have easily died. We couldn’t get over the way God spared our family’s lives by just minutes—it was an incredible miracle.”
Even though they lost everything, God clearly spoke to the couple through Daniel 3:27, where Daniel and his companions were miraculously saved from a burning furnace.
“Anyone who has made a campfire knows how the smoky smell lingers in your hair and clothes. After our fire, the smell of smoke permeated the whole neighborhood for days,” Sherri recalls. “But just [as with] Daniel, God promised us that not even the scent of fire would remain—that the tragedy of losing our home was not something that would linger over us forever. We would come out of our trial without a singe, and with a powerful testimony of God’s faithfulness.”
Sherri expresses a confident conviction that her life is precious and marked for God’s divine purpose. Her life experiences give her a deep understanding that God has always been near to protect her and to sustain her life.
She has experienced more than one miraculous demonstration of God’s saving power. Exactly one year previous to her house fire, Sherri nearly died during a surgical procedure when she was given too much anesthesia. For a full five minutes during surgery, she became lifeless, with no oxygen and no vital signs. In those lifeless minutes, the attending surgical nurse remembered that Sherri was a pastor, and as the doctors attempted to revive her, the nurse tried praying in Jesus’ name on Sherri’s behalf.
“The nurse later told me that when she prayed, I immediately went from lifeless to alive—100 percent oxygen and normal blood pressure,” Sherri tells Foursquare.org. “The nurses and surgeons were utterly amazed that I recovered completely; it was miraculous.”
Sherri describes that for several months after her surgery, she struggled with questions about her identity and purpose. She wondered why God brought her back to life. She questioned why God would consider her so deserving of favor. Even when she was yet an unborn child, Sherri notes, her mother was pressured to have an abortion—yet she chose life.
Sherri believes that each of these lifesaving events are not by accident, and that God has positioned her and called her to communicate the special purpose and plan that God has for everyone’s lives—to share the truth that every life is marked before creation, and that God doesn’t make mistakes.
Experiencing God’s power demonstrated so tangibly in her own life—more than once—gives Sherri purpose and direction in her ministry.
“My whole life has become a testimony,” Sherri explains. “God is showing me His plans for my life and why I was created. I know that all I have gone through has prepared me for ministry, especially to women who struggle with the same kinds of identity questions I’ve struggled with.”
Everyone experiences hard times in life, but through all her personal trials, Sherri asserts this simple truth: “God is my faithful Father; not just mine, but everyone’s.”
By: Amy Swanson, a pastor’s wife and director of women’s ministry at New Life Church (Santa Barbara Foursquare Church) in Santa Barbara, Calif.