pastor james bio

James Owolabi is the Chicago City Life Director for Youth For Christ Chicago and one of the Teaching Pastors at a multi-site church in the Chicago land area.


Owolabi was raised in Nigeria, West Africa, and spent his adult life in the U.S.A. He speaks annually to over 3000 people in different venues across the world and oversees a youth center in Chicago, which reaches over 100 students a week. James loves to teach the Bible with compassion, boldness, clarity, simplicity, and depth. He has earned several degrees and credentials, including:

  • B.S. in Pastoral Studies: Tennessee Temple University, 2001;

  • Masters of Ministry: Northwest Baptist Seminary, 2005;

  • Ordination: Conservative Baptist of America, North Mason Bible Church, 2005. 


Owolabi has served in the Youth Ministry for over two decades in North America and West Africa, in camps, schools, and local churches. James is a second-generation ordained Baptist Minister who is passionate about coaching and mentoring teenagers in urban areas to become successful adults, with Christ Jesus in the center of their lives. In 2000, Pastor Owolabi launched a global ministry Grace for Life (unincorporated yet), that has allowed him to serve churches, schools, and camps in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, Nigeria, and the Island of Dominica.


In October 2015 the Lord moved Pastor Owolabi to Chicago with the mission and vision to share the gospel with 1000 teenagers in Chicago. Since then, he has been leading events reaching over 1000 students through partnerships with churches, schools, and nonprofits in the city of Chicago.


His interests include traveling the world, reading biographies, watching documentaries, exploring Hyde Park Chicago, eating Asian food, reading non-fiction books, listening to podcasts, deep conversations with his close friends about church leadership, attending conferences on personal growth, and organizational leadership.

Contact Pastor James