Meet Pastoral Resident Je’Qwan Owens

Throughout the Citylight Family of Churches, Internship and Residency programs exists to equip and empower the next generation of gospel-centered leaders to multiply disciples and churches. We believe that the Internship and Residency program is a pipeline for future pastors, church planters, church leaders, elders, and missionaries, in the local church. Citylight Lincoln recently hired Je’Qwan Owens for a Residency in their Hilltop Ministry geared toward young adults.

What is your Jesus story?

I currently have the privilege and joy of serving as a Pastoral Resident at Citylight Lincoln Church. It’s crazy to think that just 5 years ago I was walking in the world having believed myself a Christian and today the Lord has been gracious enough to reveal His truth to me and to have allowed me to join this amazing family. My story, in short, is I grew up in Houston, Texas with 2 younger sisters and a mother who did (and still does) everything in her power to make sure her children were taken care of. I met my dad at 5yrs old and met him again at 6 and from then on he was in and out. In other words, “my mother loved me well, my father liked me sometimes”. Despite a difficult upbringing, I was raised in the church. I sang in the choir, I participated in the programs, I went to vacation Bible school, I could quote certain verses, all the things. But I had no idea who Jesus was and no idea what I was talking about. See, I was raised under what is known in America today as the Prosperity Gospel. A gospel that centers around YOU and not Jesus. One that says God’s end goal for you on this earth is for you to be healthy, wealthy, and prosperous. I would quote Scriptures that we’ve probably all seen on the bottom of a shopping bag or tattooed on somebody’s arm like Philippians 4:13 , Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 3:5-6, Romans 8:28, etc. But if I can be blunt, anytime I opened my mouth to talk about spiritual things I was probably actually leading people to hell rather than the Creator Himself.  All that to say I was a foolish boy, far from God believing myself to be near, but thank God for Romans 5!!! God orchestrated for me to come to college in Nebraska; a place I’d never have chosen on my own. He allowed me to live into what the world says was life (drugs, sex, violence, etc.), deepening the hole that I didn’t even know I was trying to fill. He planned for me to meet a guy named Justin Hullman, hear the FULL gospel, one that makes much of the Savior rather than the sinner, and He completely wrecked my life in the absolute best way. Now I get to tell people all the time about how I was saved from God, by God, for God.

What do you do in your Residency?

Serving as a pastoral resident has been nothing short of a gift. Being in this role has taught, and continues to teach, me so much about God, myself, my relationship with Him, and what it looks like to care for the body in a pastoral way. From celebratory Baptisms to hard conversations with couples, I have the privilege and responsibility of learning through them all. Lincoln, like many other Citylight Churches, brings on residents with the intention of raising them up to be sent out in whatever capacity the Lord has called them to serve. In my case that is, Lord willing, to be sent out as a potential pastor of a future church plant. A constant challenge this role has pushed me into is, “ What does it look like for you to put your ‘yes’ on the table?”. Whether preaching on a Sunday morning, launching a ministry, going overseas, whatever it may be; the Lord, through the guidance of His Word and our Pastors, has intentionally grown me in this area.

I have the amazing gift of being able to lead our new young adults ministry, Hilltop. We exist to help young adults in our church glorify God in every aspect of their life; we long to see young adults in our church making disciples of other young adults in their networks and throughout the city of Lincoln. We believe that every moment lived is an opportunity to glorify God. We have been active since January 22, 2024 and in just a few weeks the Lord has BLOWN US AWAY. The very first sermon at Hilltop a young woman in the ministry realized, through the preaching of the Word and revelation of the Holy Spirit, that she was not submitted to Christ and decided to surrender her life to Him that night!!! After praying with a member of our Hilltop leadership team she immediately signed up for baptisms just a couple Sundays later. God did that! Not us, but God!! He has been so gracious to us as we launch this ministry. Every week I am humbled by the work God is doing amongst the young adults in our church.

I’ve been extremely blessed by the wisdom and leadership of Lead Pastors, Josh Luse and Austin Edwards. They have a deep desire to raise up godly, elder qualified men to send out and make disciples of Jesus and, Lord willing, shepherd local bodies one day; should the Lord call them to it. I can’t say enough how thankful I am to have these men as not just “bosses” but brothers.

What encouragement or wisdom do you have for other Residents?

If I could give any words of encouragement to other Residents or Interns in the Citylight Family it would be this: “walk humbly.” One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Philippians 2:5-8 where Paul implores the church at Philippi to “have this mind among you which is yours in Christ  Jesus…”. Then he lays out the condescension and humility of Jesus,  who did not look to His own interest and save Himself from the wrath of God or “count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but He emptied Himself, by taking on the form of a servant…”. Friends, this is an example and imperative for us. We will face times of temptation where we want to hold our status over others. Where we want to make it about us, our ministry, our interests rather than humbly serving those around us. Residencies are a unique time of testing and discernment, so stay humble. Ask questions often, and listen to the answer. Learn to submit and trust the leadership of those whom the Lord has placed over you, knowing that it is God who began this work in you through residency and it is Him that will finish it. Take time regularly to celebrate what Godhas done and is doing. Make it a rhythm to regularly get your eyes off of you and onto Jesus!!!

How can we pray for you?

It’s so easy for young aspiring men like me to get caught up in all they do rather than what Jesus has done, and that is something I don’t want to be true of me. So would you pray? Pray that the Lord would continue to make me a new, clean vessel that He might use for our good and His glory! Thanks Family!

“The mind of a man plans his ways, but the LORD orders his steps” -Proverbs 16:9

Je’Qwan Owens, Citylight Lincoln

For more information on Hilltop at Citylight Lincoln, visit: