MOULTRIE — Heritage Church welcomed a new lead pastor to start off 2010, and he is striving to ignite passions in the church and everywhere.

Brad Bowen was named as lead pastor of Heritage Church in December, replacing David Oaks, who became the church’s pastor of organizational development, on Jan. 3, the first Sunday of 2010. Bowen had previously served as the church’s executive pastor for five years after coming to the church in 2000 as its youth pastor.

Serving as executive pastor really helped to prepare Bowen for the role of lead pastor, he said, as it taught him all about the inner workings and behind-the-scenes roles of the church. Among the duties he oversaw as executive pastor were pastoral leadership, administration, personnel oversight, public communication, finance management, individual and group mentoring, conflict resolution, major event planning and organizational project management.

Bowen said he was born in Athens but graduated from Pelham High School, and his family still lives in Pelham. He and his wife, Michelle, moved to Moultrie to be closer to their families as they raise their four boys, ranging in age from 9 to 4 years old.

The idea of him taking the role of lead pastor had been talked about for several years, Bowen said. When he was asked to take the role, he felt the full range of emotions but he said he knew it was God’s time for him to lead.

“I feel called and empowered to lead,” Bowen said, “and I am ready for the challenge. I am very humbled because Heritage has invested in me for a decade.”

Since becoming lead pastor, Bowen said he has set several ambitious goals for the church, but he believes all can be easily accomplished through Christ.

“We are primed and ready to make an impact on the world,” Bowen said.

One goal is to see 1,000 people attending a worship service besides Easter Sunday, and Bowen said Heritage is already close to reaching the goal. The church set an attendance record with right at 900 people, and Bowen said Colquitt County’s population makes the goal very reachable.

Another goal for Heritage in 2010 is to have 52 baptisms this year, an average of one per week, Bowen said. The church has already seen five baptisms already, and he believes the church will reach that goal and far beyond this year.

Bowen said a third goal for 2010 is to be a church with much greater diversity. He wants to see Heritage to become a place without a label on it and to be a better reflection of the community.

“I want Heritage to be a place where people of every background can feel welcome and to contribute,” Bowen said.

His fourth goal is to have everyone a giver. He said he wants everyone at the church to give not only their money but their time, energy, resources, heart, compassion and mind. Giving involves every part of each person and is essential to spiritual maturity, he said.

“There is no greater indicator of spiritual maturity than in your giving,” Bowen said. “I don’t think you can be selfish with your stuff and live for God to the fullest.”

The final goal is to have everyone fulfilling their passion, Bowen said. He said everyone needs to get away from being passive in Christ and live a life full of fire, passion, conviction and purpose for Him.

“We are challenging people to find their God-given passion,” Bowen said, “and we are releasing them to pursue it with all that they are.”

Bowen said he has several activities outside of Heritage, as he does leadership consulting through Life Leadership, which he founded. He is part of the Moultrie YMCA mentoring program and serves as officiating minister for weddings at Gin Creek. He is also an avid racquetball player at the YMCA.

Bowen said he earned a master’s degree in global leadership from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Georgia. He has lived in Texas and in Savannah before settling in Moultrie, and said he truly enjoys being here and what can become of Moultrie and Colquitt County.

“I enjoy being out in the community as much as I can,” Bowen said. “I love being a part of this community, and I love what the future holds for Heritage.”

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