We are a team
Pastor John Cowan
During High School, I jumped into the ‘hippie’ movement - playing in rock-n-roll bands, doing drugs and looking for ultimate meaning. I searched in many different directions - psychedelic experiences, philosophy, metaphysical thought, new-age spirituality - but it was all empty.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that the ultimate answers were to be found on the ‘other side’ of life. My life was a mess and my mind was so ‘out there’ that I thought the universe was infinite and thus anything you could imagine must be reality somewhere in the infinity of the universe. So, I decided to go to the other side. I took a full bottle of very strong sleeping pills (‘reds’) and dropped acid (LSD). I burned incense, played my music and got ready to begin the adventure. Thankfully God intervened!
There’s much more to the story, but the bottom-line is that I ended up in a coma for 3 days, the Lord preserved me and that renewed my search for Truth in this life. Eventually I came to Antioch Ranch, a Christian commune near Mendocino, California and there I met genuine born-again believers who opened their ranch and their lives to me and shared their love of Jesus.
Finally, I prayed and gave my life to Jesus, not really understanding the Gospel, but asking Him if He were real, to take my life and do whatever He wanted with it. I was born again that day and have never looked back as Jesus has faithfully, patiently and consistently led me on the grand adventure of living for Him. He is Awesome!
As a musician, I immediately began writing songs about the Lord as soon as I was born again. This led to opportunities for me to sing and share my testimony. I’ve been doing music for the Lord ever since - eventually being joined by my wife, Laura, and now many of our kids write and sing for the Lord as well!
In 1976, I went on staff with Maranatha! Music (at the time, an outreach ministry of Calvary Chapel Cost Mesa) as Director of Media and experienced my ‘boot camp’ training in ministry. I did radio, TV and film productions related to the Saturday Night Concerts which were held at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa every Saturday night. I also produced Pastor Chuck Smith’s Sunday morning television program and helped get the new Maranatha! Music albums (yes albums) into the hands of christian radio stations and producers. We were right in the middle of a new musical explosion overflowing from a genuine revival among the hippies - who were now know as ‘Jesus Freaks’!
During this time, Laura and I got involved with another ministry, ‘Enjoying Marriage’, initially based out of Calvary Chapel. Led by Pastor Ron Wiseman and his wife, Betty, Enjoying Marriage offered weekend seminars teaching couples the biblical principles of marriage. It was a very effective and fruitful ministry used of the Lord for saving, strengthening and equipping marriages across the world. We served as music ministers, as a sharing couple, and, eventually, as Board Members for the Enjoying Marriage ministry. The Lord used that ministry and it’s leaders to build His principles into our own marriage and give us substance for ministering to others.
In 1978, I was the founding Producer for ‘The Word for Today’ radio program and oversaw it’s distribution to radio stations across the country. The Word for Today features the teaching of Pastor Chuck Smith. This ministry also grew explosively and became very fruitful for the Kingdom. I was blessed, once again, to be in the middle of it all!
It was during this time that I began to experience a desire to study and teach God’s Word that was stronger than my aversion to speaking in public (unless I had my guitar on). Editing Chuck’s teaching tapes saturated me with the Word of God and, when I was given an opportunity to teach at our home fellowship, God began to place His calling upon my life.
Soon after, we moved to Sacramento, California and, through the specific (and often miraculous) leading of the Lord I began Calvary Chapel of Sacramento, where I was privileged to be the pastor for 26 awesome years. During that time we saw God raise up ministries, plant churches, send out pastors and missionaries, and bring men, women and children into His Kingdom - and much more.
Then, in 2006, a change came. After 26 years at Calvary Chapel Sacramento, I began to feel that I was becoming too comfortable and needed a change. Thinking the Lord was leading us to take a 1-year ‘active sabbatical’, I joined the pastoral staff of Calvary Chapel Salt Lake City, Utah, where I served as an Associate Pastor along with Terry and Alison Long. Terry had previously served with me as a ministry intern at Calvary Chapel Sacramento and I had the blessing of ordaining Terry when the Lord sent him to Salt Lake. The ‘1-year sabbatical’ became 9 years of active and fruitful ministry at Salt Lake! The Lord is doing a significant and strategic work there.
In July 2015, Laura and I were sent out by Pastor Terry and the body at Calvary Chapel Salt Lake City to minister to pastors, churches and missionaries through Poimen Ministries (www.poimenministries.com).
And now? The Lord has brought us to Bishop, California to Pastor Calvary Chapel Bishop while continuing to be available for other Poimen Ministry assignments. The Lord is doing a wonderful work here of which Laura and I are extremely blessed to be a part.
I love the adventure of following and serving Jesus!
I am extremely happily married to Laura - my best friend and ministry partner of over 48 years (576+ months). She is an awesome lady, amazing Pastor’s Wife, gifted speaker and writer, tremendous pre-school teacher, and a prayer-warrior with a heart for missions and cross-cultural ministry. We have 8 children (6 boys and 2 girls) and homeschooled for 20+ years. Currently (2021) we have 13 grandkids.