About John P. Bowen
For nearly 50 years, John Bowen has worked with students and young leaders—and he has loved it. His most fundamental motivation has been his desire to be a follower of Jesus—although he still feels like a very slow learner—and to help others to understand Christian faith and discipleship.
Author, Professor Emeritus, Follower of Jesus
- Evangelism for ‘Normal’ People: Good News for those Looking for a Better Way (Augsburg Fortress 2002)
- The Spirituality of Narnia; The Deeper Magic of C.S.Lewis (Regent College,2007)
- Growing up Christian: Why Young People Stay in Church, Leave Church, and (Sometimes) Come Back to Church (Regent College, 2010)
- The Missionary Letters of Vincent Donovan, 1957-1973 (editor) (Wipf and Stock 2011)
- Green Shoots out of Dry Ground: Growing a New Future for the Church in Canada (editor) (Wipf and Stock 2013)
- Good News Church: Celebrating the Legacy of Harold Percy (editor, with Michael Knowles) (Castle Quay 2018)
- God is Always Bigger: Reflections of a Hopeful Critic (Wipf and Stock 2021)
- The Unfolding Gospel: How the Good news Makes Sense of Discipleship, Church, Mission, and Everything Else (Fortress 2021)
And some shorter booklets
For church leaders:
- Preaching the Church’s Mission: Sermons towards Self-Understanding
- From Visitor to Disciple: Eight Ways Your Church Can Help
- What is a Fresh Expression of Church? A Beginner’s Guide to a Movement that is Changing the Church
- Making Disciples Today: What, Why, and How . . . on Earth?
For those exploring faith:
- Tolkien and Faith: The Spiritual Worldview of “The Lord of the Rings”
- The Gospel according to Robin Williams: Jesus’ Answers to Robin’s Questions
- Finding a Story to Live by: Christianity Rediscovered
Working with Students
For 25 years, he worked with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship in universities and camps, first in Britain and (since 1977) in Canada, helping students figure out what they believed and how to spend their lives.
Almost twenty summers were spent at Ontario Pioneer Camps, working with 16- and 17-year-old Leaders in Training. John’s particular role in the program was to teach the basics of a Christian worldview, under the title of Building Blocks. Videos of the last time he taught the course in 1987 are available on this website.
In the 1990s, John spoke on many university campuses across Canada, debating philosophy professors about the existence of God and the rationality of faith, and speaking on Christianity and contemporary culture with topics like The Gospel according to Calvin and Hobbes and Trapped in A Free World: The Message of Groundhog Day.
In retirement, John is doing more of the things he loves—teaching, preaching, writing, and mentoring young leaders—and fewer of the things he loves less (but which come inevitably with paid employment!). He has a particular passion for encouraging a new generation of Christian leaders, not least to plant new churches and fresh expressions of church.
John is also a lover of classical music, photography, and good coffee.
John’s formal education includes a BA and MA from Oxford University, where he studied English, and met Deborah. (He will tell you, with attempted modesty, that his literature tutor was the last student to be tutored by C.S.Lewis, and his language tutor worked with J.R.R.Tolkien.) He also has a Doctor of Ministry degree from McMaster University. Those things were the easy part. His informal education is a daily challenge.
The Alphege Award for Evangelism and Witness
In 2021 John P. Bowen was awarded the Alphege Award for Evangelism and Witness is named after St Alphege (Archbishop of Canterbury in the 11th century). It is awarded for evangelism and witness by the Archbishop of Canterbury.