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Sam Rodebaugh


This series profiles the men and women who are preparing for the public teaching and preaching ministry at our Immanuel Lutheran College and Seminary in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

Age: 24  Program: Seminary

Year in School: Senior

Where were you born?
Iowa City, Iowa.

Where did you grow up? 

I spent a few years in Wichita, Kansas; but grew up in Franklin, Wisconsin (Milwaukee area).

Married? Unmarried? Tell us about your family.
My parents, David and Rebecca, brought four sons into the world: Josh, me, Noah, and Nathan. Noah joined the Lord after a day. Josh married Kelsey Albrecht, and they have three children. I married Jessica Schaller on March 18, 2016. We’re growing!

What hobbies, sports or extracurriculars interest you?

I love watching football, baseball, and basketball;  but my playing days are mostly behind me. I also enjoy building/making things at my wife’s request.

Tell us one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
I served as a freelance sportswriter for a Brewers blog at SB Nation for a while, but I usually choose homework over writing now.

Which academic subjects especially interest you?
I’ve really enjoyed Hebrew, Greek, Pastoral Theology, and Evangelism.

How did you first come to consider the public teaching or preaching ministry as a career?
I had always considered the preaching ministry as a possibility, though an unlikely one. In the spring of my senior year of high school, I realized I didn’t want to be an engineer, a career that for several years I had assumed I’d pursue. After reevaluating my gifts and the things that were important in my life, I just couldn’t think of a more worthwhile calling and better fit than the preaching ministry. I prayed that the Lord would agree, and I returned to ILC for Pre-Theological Studies. Whenever I had doubts during the last seven years, I was tremendously blessed to have supportive friends and family.

What have you appreciated most about your
time at ILC?
The relationships I’ve built with professors, fellow seminarians, and many younger students have been a very valuable benefit of returning to college at ILC. I’ve cherished the pastoral insights from my seminary professors as well as the thousands of Gospel-focused chapels I’ve heard from them in eleven years. I’ve grown a lot since high school, as everyone does, and I’m thankful to have spent that growth period among the examples of so many strong, Christian men. The thing I appreciate most, however, is the constant emphasis on the importance of Law and Gospel—this is priceless.

What qualities do you think will most be needed by the future leaders of the church?
To hold Scripture as the dearest treasure and to faithfully preach Law and Gospel are the most important qualities of any future pastor in the CLC. After that, I’d say tact and empathy when dealing with others is imperative. I pray that every future pastor in our synod has a willingness to serve the congregation in every capacity, the desire for outreach and evangelism, and the readiness to practice soul care among members of his flock. If he can do all of that, he can (as Luther once remarked) go home, drink his beer, and entrust the rest to the Lord.