Who is 100 years old, preaches every Sunday, plays golf every Tuesday and drives anywhere he wants to go? If you answered Dr. M. O. Owens, Jr., Pastor Emeritus of Parkwood Baptist Church in Gastonia, you are correct. Dr. Owens is also a staunch supporter and friend of the NC Baptist Foundation.
Dr. Owens is a much respected man of God who inspires everybody with his humble spirit and his sincere desire to give God all the glory. From his learning to read at age 4, through his years at Furman University and until his graduation from Southern Seminary in 1939, he excelled academically.
His very successful pastorates included First Baptist Myrtle Beach, First Baptist Marion, First Baptist Lenoir and East Baptist in Gastonia. While at East, he started two churches to add to the five he had started during his previous pastorates. In every pastorate, membership giving and new facilities greatly increased. The large number of baptisms that occurred was especially dear to his heart.
In 1964, he became the pastor of Parkwood Baptist until retiring as senior pastor in 1980. During that time period, he was co-founder of the Crisis Pregnancy Center of Gaston County and founder of the non-denominational Gaston Christian Schools.
Today, he continues to serve as Parkwood's Pastor Emeritus and preaches at one of the services every Sunday. He has served in numerous capacities and roles in the BSCNC and the SBC. He was instrumental in the purchase of Caswell, acquiring property for Caraway and was part of the establishment of Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute where he has also taught many courses.
At age 97, he was recognized as a NC Baptist Heritage Award recipient. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary honored him in 2012 by establishing the Dr. M. O. Owens, Jr. Chair of New Testament studies. He has always promoted the Cooperative Program, has traveled to fifty countries doing missions work and has written three books.
He has established endowments at Campbell University, North Greenville College, Baptist Children's Homes and the NC Baptist Foundation, where he has also established a Charitable Gift Annuity. Always anxious to praise the work of NCBF, he says, "It is great we have an institution in which we can invest knowing that without any question it is going to be used for the Kingdom of God and the salvation of the lost in preparation for the coming of the King."
Dr. Owens says one of the greatest lessons in life he has learned is, "If you leave everything in the hands of the Lord, it always turns out better." He also shares, "Many times we lived on the barest essentials, but the Bible clearly teaches us to trust the Lord to spread the ninety percent. If you give God what is His, you will always have more than you would have had otherwise."
Dr. Owens is proud that his three daughters, their husbands and their eight children are active in their churches. The outstanding legacy of Dr. M. O. Owens continues to grow, thanks to his commitment to the Kingdom of God.