Robert spent a lifetime in ministry. He was a preacher of the Gospel who started preaching at the age of 16. His dad was a preacher, too, who had grown up around the Welsh Revival and its powerful witness to the resurrection power of Jesus in the midst of His people. Robert began his ministry with Welsh miners and after World War II moved his family to the United States and began pastoring a series of Assemblies of God churches. He preached the good news about Jesus for 72 years, raised up leaders, and sent many into the world empowered by the Spirit bearing witness to the Lord Jesus’ victory over sin,the flesh and the devil.
My own connection with Pastor Robert Owen came from the churches I grew up in — the non-denominational charismatic church and New Day Assembly. He was the reason New Day even existed, since he told Pastor Jeff to lead that congregation (and years later, he still is). Pastor Owen’s love for Jesus, seeing Him revealed in the Scriptures, and singing to the Lord in the midst of preaching embodied the hallmarks of classical Pentecostal preaching. He didn’t have an intimidating presence or an overwhelming voice (although I never heard him preach till he was well into his 70s). What he had was a clear love for Jesus and for His people and that spilled over into every conversation he had.
I remember one particular conversation I had with Pastor Owen. It was during one of his yearly visits to New Day. We were talking after the service about where I was at (in my first year of college) and my recent struggle in accepting a call to be a pastor and pursuing that call. He put his hand on my arm and said, “David, the Lord doesn’t want anything from you. You don’t have to give Him anything. He gave His life for you so you wouldn’t have to throw any pennies on the plate. So don’t worry about giving things, even your life, to the Lord. It’s already his. Now you’re free to tell everyone else about how Jesus has set them free from owing God anything. So tell them. Baptize them. Give them communion. Pray that the Holy Spirit will baptize them. Send them to share that news with everybody else. That’s what the Lord’s called you to.” It’s a word that still comes back today to encourage and strengthen my pursuit of ordained ministry.
Pastor Owen fell asleep November 19, 2012. There’s little doubt in my mind that as he was welcomed by the Lord, he heard these words from Matthew 25:21: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”