Category Archives: Church News

An Interview with an Amazing Man – Ron Mize (our former Youth Pastor)


Ron, you have amazed me throughout the years with all of your energy!  And you always have a smile on your face and good things to say about others.  Us “old folks” know you as a man who wore many “hats” at our church, always helping where you were needed.  But many new members may not know or realize that you held a full-time job and was our part-time Minister of Music and part-time Youth Minister.  I use the term “part-time” loosely, because you gave each job 110%!  I want to ask you some questions about your days as Youth Minister.

When you started at WFBC, did you automatically fill the role of Youth Minister, or did that just evolve because you are so good with youth and so full of energy?

When I was called to Winterville FBC, I was called as both Music Minister and Youth Minister.

How many years were you our Youth Minister?  You eventually started getting youth interns to help during the Summer months and sometimes longer, how many interns did you “train”?

I served as Youth Minister for some 32 years.  I worked with and trained five (5) Student Interns.

Do you have any idea how many youth trips you went on?  I doubt you can even count that high!  It seems like y’all were always doing something. Let’s see how many you can name?

We were involved in Mission Trips, World Changer Trips, or Centrifuge Trips each year from 1984 thru 2008.  That would be some 24 trips.

Does one Mission Trip stick out above the others?

Oh yes, definitely.  The first mission trip to Pippa Passes, Kentucky, and the coal mining area stands out above the rest.  This was also the most difficult of the mission trips.  The poverty in this area was awful and the people and kids we worked with were difficult.  We learned so much while ministering there and this first trip gave us the impetus to make many other similar trips.

Where did your “March Madness” come in?  Are you a basketball fan, or was this just another way to get the youth to your house and involved?

I am a real College Basketball fan – more particularly a North Carolina Tar Heel Basketball fan!!!  So, we would open our home to all students on the night of the National Collegiate Basketball Championship Game and used this as a great time for the students to fellowship and bond together.

You must have had a little black book of games for youth, because my kids were always telling me of the great activities and games they played at youth group meetings.  Was it hard coming up with something new?

I’m not that creative; so I got activities and games from those who assisted me and from other youth ministers and youth ministry organizations.   Centrifuge camps were a valuable resource for new games and activities with life lessons and scriptural application.  I also, had game books that I used a lot.  So, it wasn’t really that hard to come up with new games and activities.

What are some of your favorite memories of being Youth Minister?

The relationships established that last forever.  Seeing many of my students come to Christ as Savior!  Seeing some of them answer the call to ministry.  Seeing most of them develop into dedicated Christian adults.  Also, having the opportunity to minister alongside many great and dedicated parents to see their teens grow and develop in the Lord.  And, then there was just the fun times I had as I worked with students!

I’ve heard about some scary moments on some trips.  Care to share a couple of those scary moments?

One of these scary times was when I was dared to dive into a river and had to be rescued from almost drowning by Scott Lester.  Another was when we were in Wilmington, NC on a mission trip.  We had just finished loading our u-haul with luggage and I was pulling the u-haul with the church van.  It was raining and as we approached a red light, the van hydroplaned and we hit another van stopped at the red light.  No serious injuries to anyone; but it caused the tow bar to buckle because of the weight of the overloaded u-haul trailer and we eventually had to rent a u-haul truck to get the luggage back home.

And how did you do all those “lock-in’s”!  Staying up most of the night with the youth and getting little sleep?  Were those fun times for you?

I hated Lock-Ins!!!  But, for the sake of the students and to show them that we loved being with them, we did Lock-Ins.  During the early days of the Lock-In’s we would not allow anyone to sleep.  We kept them busy all night long.  And even the later Malibu Lock-In’s were done this way.  Again, I am and was grateful to those fearless adult leaders who assisted me in making these great student-learning times. 

Ron, I know I speak for all the parents of all the youth that you ministered to in years past…we love you and respect you and are so thankful to God that He sent you to WFBC to be our kids leader and mentor! 

Our Ronald Mize is retiring this month as our Minister of Music and today, December 8, 2013 has been declared “Ron Mize Day” with all sorts of fun events and surprises for him.  I know that since he is the Minister of Music the choir must have some surprises for him and we are having another music minister to lead the service today, so Ron can sit back and enjoy the festivities (but just knowing Ron, he is probably not excited about all the attention!).  One surprise we have for him today is a really special photo book with notes from several of the “old” youth group and some of the parents (the last few pages will have many snapshots of youth trips, meetings, activities, etc.)  He will be presented with this and all the “former” youth group members that are here this morning will be asked to stand up while the book is presented to him.

Since these notes are so wonderful and the people of our church (and the youth that contributed) would love to read them too, I am posting each note to Ron here.  I hope that our church members will enjoy reading the testimonies of so many former youths and see how much Ron impacted their lives!  The “youth” are now grown, some with families, some have moved, some have been called to ministry, some are deacons…as you can see, the Lord worked through Ron and the youth group for His Glory!!


Ron, Ronnie, Crown, Terri’s Dad, you’ve embraced so many different names throughout the years, it’s hard to pick my favorite. No matter what moniker assigned, you have always been faithful to respond. There are too many fond memories from so many different periods of my life to recall them all here, but I hope you’ll be able to browse through these pages and be reminded how much you’ve meant to so many people during your ministry. In my early years, you were my best friend’s dad. Even as I child, I could see you embraced your role as the only male in your house and were grossly outnumbered at many a slumber party.

A few short years later, I was privileged to call you my youth minister. No doubt having two teenage daughters at the time prepared you well, but I recall you putting to shame youth leaders half your age in many a setting. Youth group gatherings are some of my most treasured memories of high school, whether it was the cleverly named Yak N Snack, beach trips to Centrifuge, mission projects or ski trips. I still think of you anytime I pass a Hardees, and I bet there’s a cup of coffee nearby as you read this…regardless of the hour. Perhaps, that’s how you managed to hang so well with us teenagers.

Finally, my most recent memories are of your willingness to allow a troop of silly young adult women take over your living room every Thursday night to watch our favorite sitcoms and dramas. You endured strange aromas of nail polish and that week’s new recipe. You may look back and laugh at that group of women, but I hope you’ll also realize what a treasure those nights were for us. Out of all the sweet memories I have of you, the common threads seem to be your warmness, humor, genuineness and hospitality.

Although, I’ve grown, married and have two children of my own, it’s always a treat to return to my home church, WFBC. And I know that when I catch your eye, you’ll have a big smile and a warm hug waiting for me. Thanks for making visits home feel even more like home.

With much love and appreciation,

Laura G.


Happy retirement, Ron Mize! Thank you for all of those years you put up with us. Thank you for your service and dedication to youth and to the music program. You were always such a joy to be around and such a wonderful example to us all. You can wear a ball cap like no one else can and perfected the opposite field bloop. Take care and God bless.

Russell A.



I just wanted to let you know how much you and Mrs. Dyanne have meant to me. You had such a great influence on me growing up and becoming the man I am today. I will never forget the many mission trips to World Changers and having Mrs. Dyanne find me before we left and tell me that I needed to keep an eye on you and make sure you didn’t get hurt or over do it. In reality I think my parents probably told you the same thing. Your friendship and leadership are always appreciated and even though I have moved away I still think back to the days when I was in the youth group and the many fun times we had. I hope you enjoy your retirement and have many happy times to come.

Again, thank you for your dedicated service to the youth group.

Seth R.


Ronnie, Ronnie, Ronnie,

How could we ever say what you have meant to us in a few sentences? It would take a life time to explain. To say that you were the best youth pastor we had is an understatement. Our lives have been touched by you in such a way that we could never express enough gratitude. Mission trips to the hottest places on earth, getting poison ivy while rinsing out paint brushes after painting houses, ski trips to Boone where we almost drove the van over the side of the mountain and then had to walk beside it while you drove to keep it from sliding on the ice. You were always in such a good mood whether you were fussing at us because we weren’t listening or it was midnight and you were trying to wrap up our evening devotionals…you did it all with a smile on your face. You weren’t just our fearless leader, you became a father to us all. They tell us that you are retiring. Never thought we’d see the day. You have more energy than anyone we know. Thank you for investing in us and putting up with all our craziness. Thank you for the memories.

Craig and Cassidy M.



When I think about growing up in the youth group at Winterville 1st Baptist Church, the first thing that comes to mind is how much FUN it was!  I mean crazy fun, all the time!!  There was never a dull moment, someone was always laughing, or crying, because they were laughing so hard!!  At the center of this comic show, was our “fearless” leader, Ron Mize.  As an adult, I now realize, that Ron had the energy level of a teenager!!!  I don’t know how he did it???

I love that he purposely would never say my name right, just to push my buttons.  Of course, all of us had many nicknames, some we liked more than others. 🙂

It didn’t matter what we were doing, whether it was Wednesday Night Volleyball Smackdown, Youth Group Centrifuge trips, or late night card playing at the Mize’s, Ron was always there.  Whether it was with words of encouragement, or a silly joke, we always knew that he was there for us.  For me, our youth group felt like one big family, and I firmly believe that it began with the love and devotion that Ron poured into it.  I can’t thank you enough, Ron, for doing that for us.

I hope that my kids feel the same bond in their own youth groups, as they grow up.  What a blessing that would be!

Love ya Ron!

Jocelyn P.



Here are a few things, in no particular order, that come to mind when I think of Ron Mize: a devoted Christian, laughter, smiles, optimism, enthusiasm, energetic, music, coffee, neighbor, friend, leader, mentor, youthful, and running the bases in blue jeans with a baseball hat sitting high on his head but somehow not falling off.

Having grown up in Winterville First Baptist Church, I have always known Ron. I have been blessed by his teaching and influence throughout the years.  I also have many memories of Ron from mission trips, lock-ins, Christmas caroling, Youth Evangelism Conferences, youth retreats, youth revivals, ski trips, yak-n-snacks, youth musicals, Easter and Christmas musicals, and the list goes on and on.  His home has always been open to me. Even on snow days, several of us in the youth group would walk to Ron’s house and cook breakfast.

When you travel with Ron, you can always expect an adventure.  I’ve personally seen a U-haul trailer jump off the van Ron was driving, and miraculously no one was hurt. I once witnessed him hydroplane into another vehicle while heading home from a mission trip.  I participated in a group effort to push the church van up a snow covered hill while on a ski trip.  I even saved Ron’s life once by pulling him out of a river before he drowned.  And, I spent one of the longest nights of my life with Ron Mize when I had to sleep in a double bed with him, while wearing blue jeans, on a youth retreat.

Ron has been a great role model for me during my youth and even more so now as an adult.  He has taught me many things from God’s Word and has encouraged me to live by faith as I have seen him do in his own life.

I find it appropriate to end this note with a chorus from the song “Thank You” by Ray Boltz:

“Thank you for giving to the Lord.

I am a life that was changed.

Thank you for giving to the Lord.

I am so glad you gave.”

Scott L.


When I think of Ron Mize,

I think of someone who always let us eat wherever we wanted to on trips, even if it was the same place over and over again.

I think of someone who is always laughing, even when he turned on the car after Amy Stroup and I turned the music, windshield wipers and air on full blast.

I think of someone who has awesome driving skills —- so what if we hydroplaned into the back of a van and did a 360 in the snow on the way up a mountain.

I think of someone who always made sure we had the best trips, from white water rafting to the miracle strip at Panama City Beach.  I can still hear him saying after getting off a ride at the miracle strip – “just throw up – you’ll feel better – I did.”  (FYI – He threw up while on the ride.  I’m sure the people below loved that!!!)

I think of someone who always opened his home up to anyone. You never had to call and check if it was okay to come over. The door was always open. And the holidays were the best – so many people – so much food!!

I think of someone who never cared if his home was invaded by 4 girls on Thursday nights for several years in a row. Law and Order – SUV – right Ronnie!!

I think of someone who never got mad at us – even when the Thursday night girls caught the oven on fire at the Candy Circle house.

I think of cheese bagels.

I think of Ron’s glasses sitting sideways on his head from boxes landing on his head from taking Christmas decorations down from the attic.

I think of Mama Dy, “Dy’nere”

I think of playing baseball in blue jeans.

I think of Ron jumping from the Ski Lift after he missed his stop and his blue and red stocking cap that we could always find on the slopes!

But most importantly, I think of someone who spent his life living for Jesus Christ and showing us all how much fun living a life that serves Jesus can be!

Thank you for everything Ronnie!!!!!

Stacie L.



As parents, we want to express our deepest gratitude for all you have done for our kids, Scott & Stacie.  I know that their lives were deeply impacted by the friendship, leadership, and love you have shown to them over the past years!  You and Dyanne were like second parents!

It was probably the highlight of their lives when they finally got old enough to join the “youth group”!  They had the time of their lives on all the mission trips, Centrifuge, youth retreats, yac ‘n snacks, lock-in’s, March madness at your house and so many more events than we can remember.  And living just around the block from you back then was a treat for our kids, because when it did snow, everyone would come and enjoy sliding down the hill in front of our house, but they always ended back at your house to make breakfast!  I always wondered how you and Dyanne always had so much food in your house!!

We hate to even think about our lives and the lives of our kids without you and Dyanne right in the middle of their lives!  You may be like “George Bailey” in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and not realize the impact you had on so many young people’s lives!  I hate to think of their lives without “Ron Mize”!

We have heard many stories about youth trips, and some of them I’m glad I didn’t know about until after it was all over and everyone was safely home! 🙂  But one thing comes to mind about a game of who has the ugliest feet.  I hear you won!  I have never seen your feet, but it reminds me of a verse in Isaiah 52:7 and I think this is true about your feet.

“How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

Ron, you have always brought the Good News of Jesus Christ to our youth, been a wonderful example of what a Christian should be and a wonderful leader for our youth.  I know your days as Youth Minister ended years ago, but the impact you made on our kids life will last a lifetime!  Thank you!

Paul & Debbie L.


Who is that man running around on the basketball court in blue jeans? That would be Ron Mize. I remember I used to get so tickled at him playing basketball in blue jeans. There were numerous basketball games, volleyball games, and much more on Wednesday nights at Winterville First Baptist. It was a safe place to come, spend time with friends, and be challenged in our relationship with God. Ron Mize was a big part of making that happen. Serving with the youth may not have been his first ministry but he sure did put his heart into working with the youth and guiding us along as we learned to serve the Lord with our talents and share our testimony with others. I have many fond memories of youth trips in the vans, Sunday morning worship in Sunday School, Disciple Now weekends, and so much more. Ron was there with a smile on his face the whole time and a servant heart. That is what I will recall the most about Ron Mize, his servant heart and his ever-present smile.

Emily R.


Ron Mize

Before we started coming to church at Winterville, Ron and Dyanne Mize were our neighbors.  When we decided to look for a church in Winterville, our decision was strongly influenced by the love and care they demonstrated as our closest neighbors.  One morning, Jim fell in the shower and broke his wrist.  At the time, Ron and Dyanne were the only people we knew in our neighborhood.  I did not drive back then, so I called Dyanne, and she talked to Ron.  A few minutes later Ron drove up and took Jim to the Emergency room.

Years later he was Chris’s youth leader.  I was always amazed at Ron’s energy.  It’s hard to keep up with a group of teenagers, but he didn’t seem to miss a beat. I’ve never seen Ron when he wasn’t smiling.  There is nobody I know that has a more positive outlook on life.  I think this attitude comes from his faith and trust in the Lord.  I know that God has a special place in ministry for Ron after her retires and I imagine he’ll be as cheerful, productive and enthusiastic as he has always been.

Best wishes,

Jim, Carmen, and Chris R.


Ron was my youth pastor all through middle school and high school. He always went out of his way to plan fun events for the youth to participate in and he always joined in. On any trip I ever took with him, I remember him always preaching to us to “be flexible!” Ron was always happy. I didn’t think I ever remember seeing him frown. And he was always so encouraging to us youth. I feel very blessed to have had a youth pastor who cared about each of us and who loved the Lord will all his heart.

Katie H.


Many of my greatest memories as a youth was with Winterville First Baptist Church’s Youth Group. All the Ski Trips, Youth Trips, and Camps have tons of great memories shared with you. Ron, you are a true example of a Christian and one of the most genuine people I have ever met. Even though I moved to the West side of Athens and stopped attending WFBC, I always made sure to ask my parents how you were doing. Please know that you will always hold a special place and thanks for being a great example of Christianity. Your direction and word, while I was a youth, will always be cherished. I am so excited for you that you are retiring. Your days of relaxing and taking trips are here!

With Love,

Kim “Kimbo” P.



I just wanted to send a quick note to thank you for making an eternal impact on my life. As a music leader and youth pastor you always told me and showed me how to follow Jesus and share His love with others. I will never forget some of the good times we had on youth trips!! You were a great pastor to me and my family and you always had an encouraging word to give. Thanks for your faithfulness and diligence in ministry over the years because the Lord has used you to touch many lives. I’m thankful that I was privileged to be one of many that you impacted. I pray that in retirement you can continue to follow Christ and reach the lost.

With love,

Josh H.


Mr. Ron,

Thanks for all the years you put in as youth director at WFBC. You had such a positive influence in so many areas of my life. I will always remember the mission trips, World Changers, and playing volleyball on Wednesday nights.

Josh R.



I have never been able to call you Ronald because you have always been “Ron” to me.  I remember when I was a child you came to lead the singing at a revival.  That was the first time I met you.  Then when you came to be our minister of music I remember bringing dinner to your house when you, Dyanne, and Tina moved into our community and our hearts.  John was about a couple weeks old.

I have so enjoyed singing in the choir and playing hand bells under your direction.  I thank you so much for being so patient with us.  I know sometimes it couldn’t have been easy!  I have also enjoyed participating in the mission trips.  Remember our first one to Pippa Passes?!  What a culture shock!  But under your leadership those youth (and adults) learned what it is to love the unlovable.

I know my children have enjoyed growing up at WFBC and beening a part of the “youth group” all these years and I appreciate the countless hours, days, months, years that you have invested in their lives!

As you begin this next chapter in your life I pray the Lord’s guidance and blessing on you!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done for WFBC!

In Christ,

Jan & Blake G.


Dear Ron,

In this Thanksgiving season, I’d like to thank you for the many hours you have given WFBC as music man and youth leader. I have always been impressed by your energy and positive approach no matter the situation. I remember seeing you run the bases on the softball team in your early sixties! Former pastor Lonnie Norris expressed it well when he said you did twice the work for half the pay of any staff person he had known.

Each of our boys benefited from your work with the youth. Maylin and I are especially thankful for the time and effort that required. Some of those early mission trips made a lasting impression on our sons in that they had never seen real poverty. The opportunities to sing you afforded Russell and Kevin were a wonderful blessing to us as parents and hopefully to others as well.

Of course, Maylin and I will always cherish those many years we enjoyed meals and cards, trips and cards, and whatever and cards with you and our precious sister Dyanne. What a joy she was.

May the Lord continue to bless you and Deborah. You have our permission to slow up just a little, but not too much.


Robert and Maylin A.



Just wanted to take the time to tell you how much we as youth from years ago appreciate you taking time out of your schedule to spend with us.  You always provided us with constant opportunities to grow as young Christians while having a great time.  Activities at the church as well as numerous trips are things that we will never forget.  Thanks again and enjoy your retirement!

Ben E.


Memories with Ron……..youth choir, coffee, youth hand bells, Panama City beach centrifuge, mission trips, having wrecks on mission trips, coffee, youth evangelism conferences, sky hook 3 pointers, blue jeans and red coke-a-cola hat playing softball, coffee, North Carolina basketball, march madness at the Mize’s, late night card games, positive attitude, hug and hand shake every Sunday, coffee, adult choir, Godly influence, you and I both almost drowning on rafting trip, men’s ensemble, Be Ye Glad Ensemble, coffee……..Ron, I can think of many, many more great memories from the last 25+ years of knowing you and your family. You played a huge roll in my life growing up at WFBC. I am a very blessed man to be able to call you FRIEND!!!

Matt H.



Best wishes in your retirement.  Thanks for all your support, dedication and prayers over the past years I have known you.  May God bless you as you take this next journey in life.

Brenton P.


Ron … We don’t know where to begin!!  When we think of you, we remember so many, many fun times ~ VBS, youth choir, Centrifuge, Wednesday night volleyball and Bible study, mission trips, Easter musicals, trips to Six Flags & Braves games, Sunday nights at Beaverdam pool, lock-ins, Panama City, Jekyll Island … the list is endless!

Endless ~ that word perfectly describes your passion for ministering to youth, your hours of sacrifice and planning, and the effort you gave on our behalf!  God blessed you with a love for youth, and you honored and greatly fulfilled your calling to lead us well!  We are so thankful for the years of impact you’ve had in our lives … We are stronger believers because of your guidance, teaching, and love!  What a selfless example you’ve set for us all … a true legacy!  We can only hope that Meredith has as great of a Godly influence during her teen years as we had in ours with you as our Youth Minister!

Enjoy your retirement!

Much love,

Greg & Cindy H. and Angie H. 

Phil: 1:3-6 ~ I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.



I am very thankful to God for placing you in my path, you always bring out the best in people. I had always had a passion for singing but was very shy about it until you discovered that talent and helped me overcome that uncertainty about singing in front of others. Thank you for helping me to use the talent that God gave me.

I was called into the ministry during one of our youth group trips and am now very blessed to have a wonderful youth group that is not only hungry for God’s word but ready to do His work. Watching you through the years has taught me so much in how to become an affective Youth Minister. Thank you for always being there and sharing your love of God with me, not only during my time in the youth group, but even now as I work on God’s plan for the youth group at New Harmony.

God bless you Ron as you go into this next chapter of your life, I know God has great plans for you as you continue in His work. Thank you for what you have meant to not only me but to the many youth that have come and gone through the doors at Winterville First Baptist.

Thomas C.


What is there not to say about Ron Mize?  Every time I see Ron, he always has a huge smile on his face.  When I was in the youth at WFBC, I always enjoyed Wednesday night youth because of Ron.  Whether it was playing basketball with his infamous “hook shot”, or playing volleyball, he always made it fun and made it somewhere you wanted to be each and every week.

When I see Ron today, he still always has a huge smile on his face and he’s always happy to see me.  He had an influence on every youth that he came in contact with.  I can say today that he had a big impact on me to be the man I am today.

On behalf of all the youth he touched over the years, I say thank you for being a great, Godly role model to us all.

Phillip C.


I want to end with this Bible verse:

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”

Numbers 6: 24-26


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