Sharing with you some of my favorite preachers is one of the things I enjoy about these blog posts. This morning I get to share yet another one.
Dr. Johnny Ray Youngblood is Pastor Emeritus of the St. Paul's Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn, New York. I met Youngblood several years ago when he was on a tour promoting his seminal work "Upon This Rock". He came to the church I pastored to speak with a group of pastors about his book and his work with the Industrial Areas Foundation and its Brooklyn network, East Brooklyn Congregations.
Youngblood and I got to know one another while in my office while he was awaiting a call to give a telephone interview. Youngblood, whose life story and ministry is revealed in his book, is a complex, intellectual, minister with broad interests and a tremendously creative approach to ministry that helped St. Paul grow from about 18 members when he became her pastor at the age of 26, to more than 5000 today.
Johnny is easing toward retirement, but not without leaving a mark that is indelible in Brooklyn and across this country. His visionary work with the IAF that resulted in an affordable housing initiative known as 'The Nehemiah Homes", spurred federal legislation and inspired me to try and approximate the work in Dallas in the Ideal Neighborhood, working with EBC's sister network, Dallas Area Interfaith.
Even Youngblood's retirement is different: he has become pastor emeritus, while the new senior pastor, Rev. David Brawley, establishes himself, while Youngblood assumes a smaller pastorate at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
It's been difficult to find a video clip of Dr. Youngblood, but I finally located one and it is quintessential Johnny Ray. He is preaching at the Washington Cathedral in Washington D.C. at a fundraising service for Hurricane Katrina victims (Youngblood is a native of New Orleans) in 2006.
Imagine! He has brought with him about 900 members of St. Paul's and Mt. Pisgah share this signal experience with him.
Do yourself a favor and click here and take the time to be refreshed by this wonderful and unique preaching event!