Church Of Christ Preacher Uses Championship Pool Playing Skills To Evangelize
Posted by Job on March 3, 2008
He can’t turn water into wine or walk on water, but put a pool stick in his hand and Eric “The Preacher” Yow can work wonders. Yow can make a cue ball leap over obstacles and jump through a miniature basketball hoop, or zigzag around a billiard table as if under remote control.
He says it’s all part of using his talents for God. “If God has blessed you with five talents, he wants you to use all of them,” said Yow. Bluff, is ranked No. 10 in the world of artistic pool players. The Dickson County preacher also practices law in Clarksville.
Even though he has only been playing for eight years, Yow has already been named a world champion in jump shots and masse, a trick shot specialty. Yow took his “Trick Shot Madness” exhibition to the Hendersonville Church of Christ on Wednesday night.
During a 15-minute mini-sermon he told students: “You were not created on an assembly line … we were formed in the image of God for a purpose.” Then he stripped off his suit coat to reveal the cranberry colored vest of a pool shark and got to work.
While performing trick shots behind his back and standing on one foot, he mixed in Bible verses and stories about how God was working in his life. Yow says that pool can be “a mechanism for bringing people to Jesus.” “When I go to a pool hall and do a trick shot — all of a sudden, I’ve got their attention,” Yow told the students on Wednesday night. “And you know what I do then? I preach Jesus to them. That’s really cool.”
Yow began playing pool at Freed-Hardeman University, a Church of Christ school about 20 minutes outside of Jackson, where he also learned to preach. He had a work-study job running the school’s game room, where he got paid while playing pool. Before long he had become devoted to the game, spending long hours practicing trick shots.
He then posted videos of his shots at ericyow.com — making him a minor Internet celebrity — and later entered tournaments. He was eventually invited to the 2007 World Masse Championship in Russia. Jeremy Johnson, youth pastor at the Hendersonville Church of Christ, hopes that Yow’s message about “using your gifts for God” got through to his students.
And some of Yow’s church members see his pool playing as a plus. Janette and Kyndall Daugherty, along with Kara Baker, drove from White Bluff to Hendersonville on Wednesday night. “He has done wonders for our congregation,” says Janette Daugherty. Yow’s youth and exuberance, she added, has recharged the congregation of about 170 people.
She said that despite his success, Yow never takes himself too seriously — which gives the church members permission to admit their own mistakes. “He just laughs when he messes up,” she said. “We are all human, and we all mess up.”