Although Riley Sowell worked with Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) in Tulsa, Olivet, he said he never thought he would leave a position at the local church to work for BCM.
“But God changed my heart,” Sowell said. “He made us hand over our leadership at Olivet and I started at Tulsa Community College BCM in January 2020.”
Sowell grew up in the Tulsa area and settled in Sand Springs, where he graduated from high school. He spent a year as an undergraduate at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond and then moved back home to Tulsa Community College. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University, Tulsa.
While in college, he married his wife, Caitlin, who was a student at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa.
“I had started online seminary at Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City and also worked as a barista at Boulder Coffee, mowed lawns during the summer months and served as one of the pastors in Tulsa, Olivet, with a focus on young adults,” Sowell said. “I graduated from school with a Masters in Theological Studies with a concentration in Church Planting.”
Sowell admitted he loves what God allows him to do in BCM.
“We have seen a number of people profess faith in Christ, and countless others are coming to understand their role in God’s mission to preach the gospel and make disciples,” he said.
Sowell noted that the students serve missions in Tulsa each week, sharing the gospel with dozens of people and meeting new students during their weekly lunches, which are provided and served by local churches, while he and those from the BCM sit with the students and speaking.
“The weekly lunches at the West and Northeast campus locations serve two purposes,” Sowell said. “And that is to bless the students with an opportunity for real conversation, including gospel conversations, and to bless the students with a quality meal.”
Sowell said when they meet new students coming for their dinner and Bible study, their goal is to set up a gospel appointment over coffee or lunch.
“A gospel date is easy,” he said. “We hear their story, tell our story, and then tell God’s story. We are also happy to answer questions about BCM.”
Sowell noted that he has never led a BCM missionary trip as COVID happened right after he was hired.
“But we want the students to use their breaks, especially in the summer, to preach the gospel through IMF, NAMB or trips organized by us,” he stressed.
Sowell said the BCM could always use more workers and people praying for workers.
“Pray for the Lord of the Harvest to send workers into his harvest — more students, more churches,” Sowell said. “God is able to open doors and draw people to Him. He has called us to share the gospel with them, make them disciples, and connect them to a local church. We work for it, strive with His power, which works powerfully in us.
Sowell’s wife, Caitlin, works a day school a few days a week. The couple have three young children – Ruth Cate, Eden and Luke.
“We rarely go a week without someone being sick,” Riley confessed. “But we also don’t go a day without hugs, kisses and games. Life is adventure, bang, exhausting, sweet and hard, sometimes all at the same time. I love my wife so much and she takes very good care of our family. We couldn’t survive without them. I couldn’t do my job without her. God has been more than good to us, even in those moments when it’s hard to see.”
Because of the generous donations made by Oklahoma Baptists through the collaborative program, an amazing array of ministries are supported. This united giving encourages fellowship with other believers around the world. Together, Oklahoma Baptists are promoting the gospel together.
Riley Sowell is featured in the 2022 Missionary Prayer Guide for Oklahoma Baptists. For more information about his service, see oklahomabaptists.org/cp.