Donald D. Owens was elected as a member of the Board of General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene at the denomination’s 22nd General Assembly in Indianapolis, Indiana, on June 28, 1989, and served until his retirement in 1997, at which time the 24th General Assembly conferred on him the distinction of general superintendent emeritus.
Members of the Board of General Superintendents serve as the highest elected officials of the Church of the Nazarene. Major responsibilities include presiding at district assemblies around the world, ordination of ministers, and ruling on matters of polity.
At the time of his election, Dr. Owens was president of MidAmerica Nazarene College (now MidAmerica Nazarene University) in Olathe, Kansas, where he had served since being elected to that office July 18, 1985. For the four years prior to this, he served in Metro-Manila, Philippines, as Asia Regional Director for the World Mission Division. He was founding president of Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary in Manila from 1981 to 1984. He taught at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1974 to 1981 and at Bethany Nazarene College (BNC, now Southern Nazarene University) in Bethany, Oklahoma, from 1966 to 1974.
Dr. Owens established the Church of the Nazarene in Korea. He also founded Korea Nazarene Theological College, which is now a university.
Dr. Owens served in the U.S. Army (1945-46) during which time he was stationed in the Philippines and Japan. He began his career as a pastor in Fairbury, Nebraska, and was ordained as an elder in the denomination in 1953. He planted the Bethany, Oklahoma, Lake Overholser Church in 1968, serving as its pastor until 1969, and erected the church building while teaching at BNC. Having received the bachelor of arts in 1951 and bachelor of theology in 1952, he received the master of arts in religion in 1967 from BNC. He subsequently received the M.A. (1970) and Ph.D. (1975) degrees in cultural anthropology and Asian studies from the University of Oklahoma in Norman.
Dr. Owens twice received both BNC’s “B” award and the Outstanding Alumnus Award. He was honored with the Nazarene Theological Seminary’s service award in 1981 and was the recipient of the Citation of Merit award as an outstanding educator in the denomination in 1985. In 1997 Dr. Owens received honorary doctor of divinity degrees from both MidAmerica Nazarene University and Mount Vernon Nazarene College.
He has authored several books, including Challenge in Korea, Church Behind the Bamboo Curtain, Revival Fires in Korea
, and Sing Ye Islands
He and his wife, Adeline, have four daughters: Mrs. Donna Bean of Olathe, Kansas; Mrs. Darlene Conyers of Allen, Texas; Mrs. Debbie Bohi of Gardiner, Kansas; and Mrs. Dorothy DeNeve of Olathe, Kansas.