J. Michael (Mike) Lowry was born in Aurora, Illinois. He graduated from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana in 1972 with an A.B. degree; received a Master of Theology (M.Div.) from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in 1976 and a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1985 in Evangelism and Church Growth.
Bishop Lowry was elected to the Episcopacy in July of 2008 and assigned to the Fort Worth Episcopal Area, The Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Mike began his ministry with the Friends (Quakers) providing pastoral leadership for Rich Square Friends Meeting. He was ordained a Deacon in the Northern Illinois Conference in 1974 and ordained Elder in the Southwest Texas Conference in 1978. Before being elected to the Episcopacy, he served as Executive Director for New Church Development and Transformation for the Southwest Texas Conference, University UMC in San Antonio, Bethany in Austin, Asbury in Corpus Christi, Wesley in Harlingen, St. Paul’s in Kerrville and as an Associate Pastor at Plymouth Park in Irving.
Mike has held numerous offices including Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, Chair of the Board of Global Ministries’ Committee on Church Extension, and Chair of the Council on Church Revitalization and Church Extension. While serving at the Executive Director for New Church Development and Transformation, he led a successful conference capital campaign to fund new church starts. He was awarded the B’nai B’rith Award in Social Ethics by Perkins School of Theology. Churches under his leadership have received the Habitat for Humanity Award (2004), the President’s Award from Huston-Tillotson University (2004), and the Churchmanship Award from the San Antonio Community of Churches (2003). Asbury UMC was awarded the Moore Award in Evangelism three times while he was serving as senior pastor.
He was first elected to serve as a delegate to General Conference in 1996, where he served on the Church and Society Legislative Committee. In 2004, he served on the Committee on Conferences Legislative Committee; in 2008 on the Committee on Faith and Order Legislative Committee.
Bishop Lowry serves the larger connection of The United Methodist Church as a member of the Texas Methodist Foundation Board, the United Methodist Publishing House Board of Directors, the Perkins School of Theology Executive Board, Trustee for Southwestern University and Texas Wesleyan University, the Methodist Children’s Home and Harris Methodist Hospital Board among others.
He is a regular contributor in The Abingdon Preaching Manual and Circuit Rider, and his Generous Living sermon was published in Best Stewardship Sermons of 2005. He has taught classes at Local Pastors’ Licensing School, mentored candidates for ordained ministry and been the spiritual director for 24 Emmaus Walks/Chrysalis Flights. You can read more about his current work in the Central Texas Conference by visiting the Bishop’s Corner section of ctcumc.org.
Mike and his wife Jolynn married in 1976. They are the parents of son Nathan, who resides in the Boston area with their daughter-in-law Abigail, and daughter Sarah and son-in-law Steven Meek living in Washington D.C. The Lowry’s also added the title of grandparents to their resume in 2013 when granddaughter Grace Jean was born into the Meek home.
His deep passion is advancing the work of Christ through evangelistic outreach and missional involvement in love, justice and mercy.