Young Black Church Leader: Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow
As a college student, Ronnie Miller-Yow heard God call him to ministry. It was a life decision he struggled with at the time. Today, Yow is a college chaplain and works to help young people hear their own calls. Many credit him for keeping them coming back to church.
(Locator: Little Rock, Arkansas)
(Voice of the Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow) "I had my plans on being an attorney. God had other plans for me."
(Choir sings) "I'd rather have Jesus, than all of the silver."
The Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow: "I am Ronnie Miller-Yow, senior pastor of Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, chaplain at Philander Smith College, and national president for Black Methodists for Church Renewal in Little Rock, Arkansas."
(Ronnie Miller-Yow speaks to congregation) "May God bless you. Now while you're standing, look to your left, right, and give 'em a great big hug and let 'em know how glad you are to be in worship with them today."
(Voice of the Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow) "My church family means everything to me. They showed me tangible ways in which I could share my faith with others, ultimately not just being saved and on my way to heaven, but changing the world so that others can enjoy and be a part of that party with me as well."
Pamela Harris, Member, Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church: "Rev. Yow is very adept at making you get it."
(Rev. Miller-Yow reads Scripture) "In his days, may righteousness flourish and peace abound."
Pamela Harris: "That is one of the things that drew me the most. That, and the relationship that he has and the draw that he has for the college students. It's just phenomenal. It's amazing."
Gerald Thomas, Senior, Philander Smith College: "Rev. Yow has been a major influence in my life since coming to Philander back in 2008. Initially talking to Reverend, I said, 'You know, I don't go to any church back at home.' I didn't know what it meant to be a Christian, a disciple. I came to him seeking exactly that."
Sarah Connor, Sophomore, Philander Smith College: "My friend died, like a month ago. And I called Reverend, I was just crying and crying. He sat on the phone with me and we prayed. And you know, I don't know too many people who have pastors who they can just call and just, you know, talk anytime."
The Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow: "I travel to go to conferences. I see a lot of older people. We need to have a truly intergenerational church. Not that we get rid of one group, but that we stabilize all groups so that young people feel welcome and that the church is inviting, accepting them of all their gifts and graces in which they can enhance the church."
(Rev. Miller-Yow preaches) "We just flew around in circles in the air in the same place. They call it a holding pattern and that's where some of us are in our life right now. We're in a holding pattern, all around in circles."
April Cotton, Junior, Philander Smith College: "I actually met him in the Financial Aid office. I did not want to be at Philander so I was very angry. I was a mess and I was cutting up very badly. The first thing, he just sat there and was looking like, 'Oh my gosh, what is wrong with this young lady?' But he never said anything. And he slowly, as the conversation progressed, he asked me if I had a church home. And I looked like, 'Why are you in my business?' But later he said, 'I want you to come to my friend's church.' So when I came, I sat in the balcony and everybody progressed in and I see he is the pastor of the church! And I'm like, 'I just acted royally a mess in front of the pastor.' So I was very embarrassed. Yet, I acted that way and he didn't give up on me."
(April Cotton reads Scripture in church) "May the mountains yield prosperity for the people."
The Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow: "We're really engaging our students in such a way that we're not only producing leaders for the world, but we're producing leaders for the church as well."
(Voice of April Cotton) "I'm an ambassador for the Black College Fund and I represent the 11 historically-black colleges and universities related to The United Methodist Church. I would like to see various ethnicities and different age groups within The United Methodist Church. We need to learn about the next person's culture and their day to day life so we don't become self consumed."
The Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow: "The challenges that African-Americans face within The United Methodist Church, I guess I would first say the need for vital, effective congregations within The United Methodist Church regardless of location and size. The other, I would say, is the urgent need for restorative justice. Technically BMCR represents all United Methodists within The United Methodist Church who strive for economic and social justice in our community. That includes over 400,000 United Methodist churches but is not just limited to the United States of America, but also in North and Central America, Caribbean, Africa as well."
(Yow reads Scripture) "May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor."
The Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow: "We believe it's important for us to participate as it relates to immigration reform because we understand Scripture that adequately says that we were once as strangers within this church as well. And so we believe that it's important that we work with other groups so that the church can really mirror what the Kingdom of God is like."
(Yow leads Communion service) "He said, 'This is my body. It's my gift. It's given for you.'"
The Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow: "Being a part of The United Methodist Church says that I'm part of the world, which means I have an opportunity to shape and transform lives throughout the world, through gifts, through graces, through participating in mission trips and partnering. Every time I go to a city I look for the cross and flame because I know if there's a cross and flame in that city I have a place that I can call home."
(Yow ends service) "In Jesus name we pray. And the people of God said together, 'Amen.' Hug someone. Have a great week."
You can contact the Rev. Ronnie Miller-Yow through Philander Smith College where he serves as chaplain, at 501-370-5344. Or visit the Facebook page for Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church.
Posted: February 3, 2012