Pastor Mike Owen shares his heart for missions
by Emily Adams
SYCAMORE – “Start where you are, and go out.”

That is the mission of Pastor Mike Owen, and he plans to bring that to his new congregation at Sycamore Baptist Church.

“I believe God has sent us here to help this church catch a vision for the world,” Owen said. “We are hoping God will use us to turn the church outward a little bit. This is a great, vibrant church, and we’re excited.”

Owen, along with his wife, Lori, and four children, moved to Sycamore six weeks ago from their previous church in Vallecito, Colo. Originally from Gordo, Owen said his family was looking to move closer to home.

“Our families live near here, and we wanted our kids to be able to see their grandparents and have those relationships, so we’re happy to be closer to them,” he said.

Owen began his ministry at a church in Reform while attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and raising a family.

“It was tough in those early days, but it was great experience,” he said.

From there, Owen took a leap of faith and planted a church in Cullman called Grace Community Church.

“About 10 years before we actually started the church, God birthed this vision on our hearts to plant a church to reach un-churched people,” he said. “And that’s what Grace was. We started with five families, and when we left there were close to 300 people. Two out of every three had been un-church before they came to Grace.”

Owen said he was inspired to plant churches by a book “The Purpose-Driven Church” by Rick Warren.

“He talks about rethinking what church is about and how we are going to reach the next generation,” Owen said. “God put the world on our heart, so we began looking to do something out of the Southeast, where there are so many churches.”

“We found a small church in Colorado. It was about to close its doors, and I felt God say, ‘I don’t want the light of this church to go out in this valley,’” Owen said. “We went, and the church began to grow and prosper.”

Owen said leaving the safety of the Southeast made his family realize what great needs there are all over the world.

Following his conviction to spread the gospel, Owen began traveling with church members to foreign countries to plant churches.

Owen visited Saõ Luís and other cities in Brazil, where they planted eight churches, and the Ivory Coast in Africa, where they planted five.

“We went to places where the people there had never heard the name of Jesus before,” he said.

His group worked with indigenous churches to grow a group of believers large enough to start a church in their area.

“People were very responsive,” Owen said. “People everywhere know there is someone out there, they just don’t know him, so when they hear that God is there and he loves you, they are very understanding and receptive.”

Owen said they plan to carry out the same missions in Sycamore by starting with their immediate area and working outward.

“God commanded us to be his witness in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth, so we want to begin right here,” Owen said. “The light that shines the furthest shines the brightest at home. We want to be that light in Sycamore.”

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© 2012