Robby was raised in the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette, LA, where he experienced an “amazing” childhood with two loving parents and his sister, Lori. His eventual 6’ 6” frame led to a lifelong love of basketball, which began in earnest at Holy Cross High, the all-boys Catholic school he attended in New Orleans.
His giftedness on the court led to a scholarship at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, an opportunity his high school girlfriend convinced him to abandon so he could stay nearby. This led to Robby to approach William Carey University (a small Southern Baptist college in Mississippi) for a try-out so he could stay much closer to home, and the coach there granted him a scholarship. Ironically, Robby’s girlfriend broke up with him two weeks later.
Robby later recognized this as a providential life development, as it was his time at William Carey where he was first exposed to the Gospel. As a half-hearted Roman Catholic at a Southern Baptist college, Robby laughs that he found himself the target of every student taking classes in evangelism. Though most were not persistent, one student named Jeremy Brown developed a friendship with Robby and taught him what a relationship with Christ was all about. Though Robby was unmoved at the time, Jeremy’s faithful witness would later bear fruit.
Robby graduated college as a charismatic guy at the top of his game in 1998, and immediately launched into a computer business with friends that failed a short time later. After that, Robby took time off from a traditional work environment and redirected his energy to the study of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, even wanting to pursue a possible career as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. He worked as a club bouncer and bartender in New Orleans, a season that was short-lived after a customer pulled a loaded gun on him in the parking lot.
In 1999, Robby was driving home from work when he was involved in a serious wreck; an 18-wheeler darted across two lanes of traffic, crushing his car into a guardrail, and knocking Robby’s seat completely off of its hinges. Although he was lucky to escape with his life, Robby left the wreck with severe damage to his back. To help manage the terrible pain, his doctors prescribed several narcotics, including addictive opiates like OxyContin and Percocet.
What began as a pain-management program led to a full-blown pharmaceutical addiction for the 22-year-old who had never previously experimented with drugs. Robby eventually turned to cheaper street drugs, including heroin and cocaine. He even began funding his addiction by selling drugs himself, bringing in thousands of dollars each week. His high-roller lifestyle was a non-stop string of fast cars and wild parties. Things turned bad as Robby watched eight friends die of drug overdoses and six more end up in prison. Law enforcement slowly caught on to his operation, and Robby began to cry out to God for help. Even after stealing $15,000 from his parents for drugs, they took him back in and he began his road to recovery.
The next 18 months were a blur of resounding victories and debilitating setbacks, including another injury that led to a crippling relapse. In November of 2002, as he detoxed once again, Robby decided once-and-for-all that he had enough of this lifestyle and decided to “get real with God” for the first time. On the floor of him room, recalling Jeremy’s words from college, Robby turned away from his sins and asked God to save him from the mess of his life. As he puts it, “I promised God two things: One – that I’m not playing games. I’m going to devote my life to You one hundred percent. Two – I will travel the world and tell everyone what You did for me.”
After his salvation, Robby immediately sensed God’s calling on his life “to be a preacher.” The first expression of this began the next day as he helped Jeremy in a high-impact street ministry to the homeless of the city. Over time, and with the Lord’s help, Robby was able to put his life-altering mistakes behind him and follow God’s leading to pursue seminary training in New Orleans. It was there that Robby was discipled by David Platt (a fellow student and church member at the time), which ignited a zealous passion for missions, expository preaching, and disciple-making that continues to this day.
It was in seminary that he met and married his beautiful wife Kandi. Even after losing everything they owned in Hurricane Katrina, they continued to follow the Lord, including returning to Louisiana to pastor his first church in Morgan City. Through the years, God continued to strengthen and expand Robby’s ministry through more training such as receiving his Ph. D, the development of the Replicate Ministries discipleship organization he founded, and a transition to Chattanooga to serve as Pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church.
During Robby’s 8 years as pastor of Brainerd, God has done an incredible work. The church has grown from about 900 to over 2200 in attendance, while establishing a thriving discipleship ministry. Despite the amazing years there, early this Spring, God began to make clear that He was preparing Robby and Kandi for a new chapter of ministry. Soon after hearing from God, Robby heard from fellow pastors, including Kevin Ezell, that he would be a great fit at Long Hollow. And soon after that, he heard from our search committee. God was clearly at work!
As our church has prayed from the beginning of this season of searching for God’s man to be Long Hollow’s next pastor, we have simply wanted God to make clear His will. The Pastor Search Committee believes wholeheartedly that Robby Gallaty is that man, and the Long Hollow family affirmed their decision by responding with a “YES” vote of 99% on September 20!
I promised God two things: One – that I’m not playing games. I’m going to devote my life to You one hundred percent. Two – I will travel the world and tell everyone what You did for me.
Meet Robby’s Family
Robby and Kandi met on a blind date in early 2004, when a mutual friend sent Kandi to hear Robby preach and have dinner afterward. In a time of prayer before Robby’s message that night, Kandi surprised Robby by praying for him (despite the fact that they had met only moments earlier). As Kandi says “I later realized how special it was to pray for Robby that night, not knowing that I would be praying for him as he preached God’s Word for the rest of our lives.” They dated for two months while Robby lived nearby, and another 3 months through phone calls and emails while Robby served as Camp Pastor in Glorieta, New Mexico. When Kandi traveled with Robby’s family to visit him that summer, he told her that he loved her for the very first time. They were engaged by the end of summer, and married four short months later.
Although their marriage was tested early on with the loss of their home to Hurricane Katrina, it has been a story of God’s rich faithfulness and sustaining grace. Kandi (36) is a beautiful, daily beacon of joy to Robby (39), and has an incredible passion for ministry, as well; she served in countless ministry roles at her home church before beginning their ministry as a family.
When they’re not serving the church, you can find the Gallaty’s working out at the gym, traveling, or watching UFC, College Football, or HGTV (depending on who’s holding the remote). They have two precious young sons, Rig (6) and Ryder (4).