Clay Bowlin

Email:  Clay Bowlin, Senior Pastor

Eugene Peterson said it this way, “Every congregation is a congregation of sinners. And if that weren’t bad enough, each has a sinner for a pastor”. What can I say, I am a sinner saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. This brief resume will serve as a way to introduce myself. I’m glad you’re here! Let’s get to know each other.
My Testimony

At the age of 14, at a “Lay Witness Mission”, I heard a number of people share about how they had found a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. The next day, our youth leader, Earl Drown, instructed us on how to have a “quiet time”. In brief, he encouraged us to look up a scripture, read it, and talk to the Lord about it in prayer. Not knowing a great deal of scripture, I turned to our theme verse, John 14:6, where Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me”. Remembering what the other teens had shared, I realized I wanted salvation, and asked the Lord Jesus to be my Savior. It was March 30, 1974.

Four years later, at a Kansas City Youth for Christ rally, I was challenged to consider full-time Christian work by the speaker. I went forward, and talked with them, only to run away from God to Northwest Missouri State University.

Only I ran right into two fellow-students who were with The Navigators, and they turned me right back to God! While there, my family and I became charter members of Northwest Bible Church. I went to Calvary University, and I have been growing and learning ever since. I am part of Bible churches in great part because of the role being in the Word, and part of a church that teaches the Word, has had in my personal growth.

My Training

In 1982 I graduated with my BA in Pastoral Studies and Bible from Calvary University and I completed the M.A. in Biblical Studies there in 1984. I have extensive graduate coursework in the field of Counseling from Liberty University, and am currently enrolled in a Doctoral program in the field of Pastoral Ministry through Trinity Theological Seminary of Newburgh, Indiana.  I am also enrolled in Clinical Pastoral Education Level 2 through Heart of America.  My ordination in 1989 was at Pleasant Grove Bible Church.  I served three terms on the Board of Trustees of  Calvary University, including five years as chairman, and I am credentialed with the IFCA International.

Personal

I am 59 years old, and grew up at Lake Waukomis, in the Northland of Kansas City. I have been married thirty-one years to Rhonda, she too is a native of the KC area, growing up in Independence. Rhonda is a graduate of the University of Missouri- Kansas City, and was an elementary teacher when we met. She loves decorating, sewing and all sorts of arts and crafts. We have four adult children, one son-in-law and one grandchild!

Hobbies and Interest

I am an avid sport shooter. My latest hobby being Cowboy Action Shooting, a re-enactment of the American West (or at least the version of it in “B” Western movies!). In the Single Action Shooting Society I’m known as “Osage Jack”.  I enjoy riding my motorcycle, the Royals! College football, (Go Mizzou!) and reading.

Philosophy of Ministry

When I received a call to my first interim pastorate, fresh from college graduation, I went to the office of one of my professors, to see if he had any advice and parting words for me. He told me “Just love ‘em and preach the Word”. This stuck with me, and has been the central focus of my ministry, loving people and preaching the Word.

Two things on this earth are going to last forever, they are the Word of God, and people. If one wants to invest in eternal things, then these are the two that we can give our lives and hearts to. That is what I want to spend the rest of my days doing. Several things are key values I hold, and by sharing them I hope you will better understand where I come from in my ministry.

  1.  My strong belief in the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and its power to motivate people to service. Coming to know the love and acceptance of God the Father because of my relationship with the Lord Jesus has motivated me more than any other thing in this world (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). I want others to know it too.
  2.  My high regard for God’s word. There is no greater pursuit than to know God’s word and seek to put it into practice. I believe in it’s absolute authority. I have found that the answers to my questions, and tools to face life’s struggles are no farther away than my Bible. (2 Timothy 3:16-17,  Joshua 1:8)
  3.  I emphasize that church is a family.  My heart has warmed greatly to the declaration of the Lord Jesus to the group of brethren gathered there; “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:49-50). I feel a great closeness and affection for my Christian family.
  4.  I want the church to be a place you can find a friend even when the rest of the world is a cruel place. The Lord Jesus said the way the world will come to know we belong to Him is the love we have for one another (John 13:34-35).
  5.  I believe that the people of the church are members of one another, with each one important to the whole ministry.  When everyone is involved, no one misses out.  I want cultivate the attitude of other-centeredness (Philippians 2:3-4). I would like to see each person adequately equipped to share the Gospel, and to have the biblical tools to help others who struggle. In shepherding the flock, each person I help, I hope will help someone else (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
  6.  I believe in the institution of the Christian family – I am committed to strengthening people in the areas of marriage and parenting (Ephesians 5:21-6:4).
  7.  I believe in having a biblical view and vision for ministry leadership – too many churches have become like a corporation.  Biblical leadership is unique and distinctive, it is the servant-shepherd with the sheep, not the CEO running the company (Mark 10:42-45,  1 Peter 5:1-4).