I met Reverend Doctor Robert Yarbrough, (Rev. Bobby),via Contributor, Susan Peters on Facebook. His posts were poignant, humorous, hard-hitting, with a spiritual undertone. I soon discovered that Rev. Bobby was a home-boy, from Chicago, and when I finally met him face-to-face, I walked into a warm hug, which defined/s the best of him. Bobby was as multi-dimensional as his posts. Rev. Bobby has a loving heart – Victorine
Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Yarbrough, 65, still lives there. His mom still lives in Greenview, the neighborhood where he grew up. Both his mom and dad were teachers, and Yarbrough was “big brother” to his two younger sisters. “On Halloween, I made sure their share of candy was even.” Like most Chicago neighborhoods in the 50’s, there was a place and time for baseball, basketball, and Boy scouts. “We had a baseball diamond on the block.” Yarbrough attended high school at Lindblom, and when he began to have a few run-ins there, he transferred to St. Emma, a military school in Powhatan, Virginia and spent his junior and senior years there. Yarbrough was shaped by his home and military school life.
St. Emma was the only all black military school in the USA. “There were boys from all over the country,” Yarbrough noted. “It was a closed society and the dynamics were different.” They slept in dorms, so there were no hiding places for conflicts. They formed a “brotherhood.” Yarbrough is still friends with many of his schoolmates. “One day, I received a call from one of the guys,” Yarbrough reflected. “This guy was sitting with a number of the other (St. Emma) guys, and we were all cracking up as we talked.” After high school, Yarbrough attended Morehouse College in Atlanta.
In the 70’s, Atlanta was still a hotbed for Civil Rights, and Morehouse was called “Social Justice University.” Dr. Martin Luther King attended Morehouse, and the college was “steeped in his legacy,” recounted Yarbrough. “My great grandfather was a minister in Atlanta and had a history of being an anchor in the black community.” Yarbrough found himself with other students marching on the State Capital and taking over the Council Chamber. “I looked up and there were Julian Bond and Andrew Young,” noted Yarbrough. “They came in and told us the State Troopers were coming.” The students left the building in single-file, as instructed by Bond and Young, each touching the shoulder of the student in front of them. “When we got outside there were troopers,” said Yarbrough. “That set the tone for what I learned about the South.” A career at IBM took Yarbrough back to Chicago. He also started a family there.
Yarbrough has three (3) children, the oldest, Erin, “who is married,” Brandon, “who recently married,” and Gianna, who is “simply amazing.” “IBM paid for the birth of my 3 children.” Yarbrough indicated. “Working at IBM was a wonderful experience. They actually developed their staff.” Yarbrough started as a typewriter repairman. In 1991, when he left the company, he was in marketing. He took an early-out package. Hired through a government program, Yarbrough said, “By the 90’s the social strata had changed, and IBM became a hostile environment that no longer needed black folks.” His experience at IBM was his description of “being black in America – some good and some bad.” After IBM, Yarbrough says his life “crashed and burned,” with nothing he tried catching on. He moved to Atlanta and used his IBM payout as seed money to start a limousine service.
In Atlanta, he went to church one Sunday at Hillside International Truth Center, with Dr. Barbara King as Minister. He looked at the church marquis and it read the name, “Michael Beckwith.” Michael Beckwith was a close friend from his Morehouse days. Yarbrough walked out of the bathroom, and there was Beckwith. Yarbrough hollered, “Spike!” and the two hugged like old times. As Hilside turned out, Dr. King needed a chauffeur, and Yarbrough got the job. While at Hillside, Yarbrough began to study ministry. “I also worked in insurance and became a District Manager, which took me back home to Chicago.”
Yarbrough began to study with Johnnie Coleman at the Universal Foundation for Better Living, (UFBL). “I had to start at the beginning with (ministerial) classes,” said Yarbrough. His ministry started with preaching and teaching at the Westside Center of Truth, a branch of UFBL. He had a TV outreach program, Eating from the Tree of
Life, stemming from Revelations 2:7: “7 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give permission to eat from the tree of life that is in the paradise of God.” NRSV “The Tree of life is you,” explains Yarbrough. “It is appropriating from what is within you.”
Yarbrough has written two books: The Prayer that Jesus Prayed and 28 Days: A Journey Within, and has been a part of the Xtend-a-Hand ministry for the homeless since 2005. He extends his ministry through teaching classes, writing, and healing others, and he has been on somewhat of a healing journey himself. “I’m coming off a 7-year sit down that is now rolling into 9 years,” indicates Yarbrough. “I am surrounded by healers.” He says he is “in awe: in a place of fulfillment with kids, Mom, friends, and self.” His life is in harmony.
– Rev. BobbyThe Reverend Doctor Robert I. Yarbrough is an independent New Thought Minister, trained and steeped in Fillmorian Theology. He is a writer, author, lecturer, workshop/seminar facilitator, and former television host, of “Eating From The Tree Of Life” in Chicago. His extraordinary Bible skills led him in his two-year series on the book of The Revelation, where Rev. Bobby shared the secrets recorded in the most loving book in the Bible with others. His unique presentation style places audiences at ease which is always conducive for them to come away with some spiritual meat that they can immediately apply to their lives. In his newest book, 28 Days A Journey Within, Rev. Bobby establishes the bridge necessary for those ready to break through and move all of their desires into manifest reality. Reverend Bobby is also a board member of the X-Tend-A-Hand Ministry in Chicago. He handles all pastoral care duties and functions as the non-profit expert as he incorporated the ministry and developed the 501 (c) (3) package. Rev. Bobby also fields, initiates and handles all communication between X-Tend-A-Hand and the government agencies that have oversight responsibilities for nonprofit organizations