Elder Ronnie Miller Yow
Are “preacher’s kids” different – maybe a little rambunctious and knowledgeable of bible verses quoted around the dinner table? Are they destined to be preachers? In the case of Ronnie Miller Yow, it was predestined; it was inevitable. He was one of eleven children, raised by a Pentecostal preacher; and he was always doing something in church. “We lived in the church; and my mom and dad had us doing everything in my father’s church,” recalls Reverend Yow.
Things are not very much different today, as the Dallas, TX native spends his time still doing many things in the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church, located on the campus of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, AR, where he serves as the Senior Pastor. In addition to serving his congregation, he is the full-time Chaplin and Director of the Office of Religious Life at Philander Smith. This dual role might seem challenging; but quite the opposite for Yow, a creative, confident pastor who thinks outside the box as he strives to give service on the other side of the walls of the church. His enthusiasm for preaching, coming from his Pentecostal background, gives him the right edge to attract young adults at Philander Smith, while his training and the academic atmosphere provides the setting for those parishioners who remember the vesper services at the historic Wesley Chapel. The Reverend Ronnie Miller Yow, also an elder in the United Methodist Church, has just the right knowhow, coupled with the talent and experience, to be perfect for the multiple tasks.
Educated at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Yow began his career as an elementary teacher. However, after hearing the calling to preach the gospel, he relinquished the teaching career for the pulpit — continuing to teach but to a different audience and with different aspirations. “I was in college when I heard the calling for the ministry. My first sermon, entitled What Time Is It, was preached when I was a sophomore. I said “yes” to the calling and entered seminary to educate myself in order to better serve God. ” says Yow who earned his Master of Divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
First appointed by the United Methodist Church as the Associate Pastor at St. James United Methodist Church in Pine Bluff, Reverend Yow was appointed to Wesley Chapel in 2003. The membership at Wesley Chapel has grown considerably since Pastor Yow arrived. And, even more importantly, much of the growth in the membership comes from the students at Philander Smith who are taking an active role in church leadership and participation.
Pastor Yow is extremely active in the United Methodist Church. He served as the Chairperson of the BMCR (Black Methodists for Church Renewal), a national organization of African American United Methodists who come together to raise up prophetic and spiritual leaders who will be advocates for the unique needs of Black people in the United Methodist Church. Further, he is on the Board of the Higher Education & Campus Ministries of the United Methodist Church and the Arkansas Conference Board of Ordained Ministry. His activities in the Little Rock community include several public service organizations such as the Board of Directors of the American Red Cross. He is the vice president of the Delta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in Pine Bluff.
The Reverend Ronnie Miller Yow is married to Shantella Miller Yow, a Margin Manager at US Food Service, who takes an active role at Wesley Chapel. Mrs. Yow began the “My Soul’s Desire” Women’s Ministry and also sings in the choir. On April 25, 2013 she gave birth to their son, Mason Jeremiah Bernard Miller Yow.