NTS News
NTS Blogs

Dr. Carla Sunberg Elected Tenth President of NTS

Nazarene Theological Seminary (NTS) elected Carla Sunberg as its tenth president on January 3. Sunberg, the first woman president in the school’s history, was elected on the first ballot and accepted the position.

The election followed a discussion by the NTS Board of Trustees that resulted in a call for leadership to focus on repurposing the seminary with a strong emphasis on pastoral preparation for the Church of the 21st Century.

 “This decision by the Board of Trustees is a bold statement about our confidence in the future of the Seminary,” said Jeren Rowell, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Dr. Sunberg is an experienced leader with the academic and ministry credentials necessary to lead NTS in preparing the next generation of pastors to lead the Church in joining God’s redemptive mission in this world.”

Sunberg is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene. She was ordained during the 13 years that she and her husband Chuck served as missionaries in the former Soviet Union, where she served as director of compassionate ministries as well as director of theological education.

In 2005, the Sunbergs returned to the U. S. and pastored at Grace Point Church of the Nazarene in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where Carla served as pastor of evangelism and discipleship. In 2011, she and Chuck accepted a call to serve as co-district superintendents for East Ohio.

“With her experience in leading the educational system in the Commonwealth of Independent States Field and the depth of her theological training in both America and Europe, Dr. Sunberg brings to Nazarene Theological Seminary a fresh and broad perspective that will help her lead the institution to a future of missional effectiveness and doctrinal coherence,” said Gustavo Crocker, Church of the Nazarene general superintendent.

Carla has a Ph.D in historical theology from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, a Master of Arts from Nazarene Theological Seminary and a Bachelors of Science from MidAmerica Nazarene University. In 2012, Olivet Nazarene University awarded her an honorary Doctor of Divinity.

Carla has served on the General Board, the governing board of the Nazarene denomination; on the NTS Board of Trustees; as Alumni Association president for NTS; as member and chairperson of the USA/Canada Region’s Nazarene Women Clergy Council; and as member of the Church of the Nazarene’s Pensions & Benefits USA Board.  In addition, after serving on its board as the official representative for the Church of the Nazarene, Carla also served as president of Wesleyan-Holiness Women Clergy.

She is the co-author (with Gene Van Note) of Faxes from Russia (Beacon Hill Press, 1996) and has authored numerous articles for various church publications. This spring, her book (co-written with Suzanne Burden and Jamie Wright), Reclaiming Eve: The Identity and Calling of Women in the Kingdom of God, will be released.

Sunberg is passionate about the integration of practical ministry and theological education. She loves to teach and train leaders for the future of the church and has served as adjunct faculty for a number of institutions. She was born in Germany, the daughter of missionaries. Her heartfelt passion is a life of holiness and service for the Lord. 

Chuck and Carla are proud parents of two adult daughters, Christa, who along with her husband Iain Maciver lives in England, and Cara, who with her husband Justin Shonamon, lives in Kansas City.

« NTS Announces Launch of Center for Pastoral Leadership Center | Main | NTS Receives Lilly Endowment Grant to Improve the Economic Well-Being of Future Ministers »

References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (51)

Congratulations on your election Carla! God will bless NTS through you!

01.4.2014 | Unregistered CommenterGyula Fiak

An extremely wise, albeit slow decision, by the NTS Board of Trustees! Great days ahead for NTS...

01.4.2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Parker

Congratulations Carla,
You are a perfect match and will do very well. I can see great things in the future!

01.4.2014 | Unregistered CommenterLyle Knebel

The best is indeed yet to come for NTS and our denomination's contribution to the Great Commission. Congratulations Carla - great days ahead!

01.4.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa Page

Fantastic news! What a blessing for Carla as she enters this new work and community. And what a blessing for the NTS community!

01.4.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia Cortez

Carla, we will be praying for you in your new ministry. The Church of the Nazarene continues to move in a new and evolved direction. Praise God for women and men who are obedient servants for the cause of Christ. Blessings to you and Chuck!

Congratulations Carla! May God continue to bless you and Chuck as you move forward in the Ministries God has called you to.

01.4.2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharolyn Heffron

A good step, because 95% of the districts, while accepting women in ministry in theory, don't allow it in practics.

May I ask how many of the General Superintendents are women?

The problem starts at the top.

01.4.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark

I just looked:

All Men General Superinstendants

Yep, all GS's are men.

Old boys club.

01.4.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark Dulisse

Congratulations from Holland with love.

01.5.2014 | Unregistered CommenterKlaas Geugjes

This is a bright day for NTS. My prayers are with you.

01.5.2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry Spaulding

Congratulations Carla! Allison told Lynn and I about your new position. We are so happy for you as President of NTS. Blessings to you and Chuck.

01.5.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike Trulock

Carla...What awesome news!! We are excited for you and NTS! We are also anticipating Cara's arrival to Flint!! You and Chuck will always have a home to stay in when you visit Michigan. Just let us know. We have plenty of room :o) We'll take good care of your kidos!

3 presidents in 3 years? Wow.

01.6.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAdonna Scoulld

Congratulations Dr. Sunberg and blessings on you and the seminary as you lead us forward in God's purposes for the Church of the Nazarene and Nazarene higher education.

01.7.2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Blye

Congratiolations Carla!!! It's great that you will be able to connect your pionering gifts and education. May it contribute to the mission of the church in a significant way!

Carla, May you have the fullness of God's Holy Spirit, godly wisdom, and a God-given vision as you assume and carry out this Kingdom opportunity. Fred Wenger

01.8.2014 | Unregistered CommenterFred Wenger

We are praying for you, Carla, and are very proud of you.

01.8.2014 | Unregistered CommenterScott Mapes

Carla, so excited for you and NTS. I know the Lord will bless your vision and energy in the days ahead. Blessings from me and Cheryl

01.15.2014 | Unregistered CommenterDean Cowles

Congratulations Carla and NTS! Looking forward to fresh initiatives in education of our clergy and lay people! Showers of blessings!

I applaud this decision of the NTS Board of Trustees on this historic decision to appoint Dr. Carla Sunberg to lead NTS at this time. I believe God has raised her up "for such a time as this."

01.16.2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarcella Charles

Congratulations! This is exciting news! Blessings to all of you in this new endeavor. This is another exciting chapter for NTS.

01.16.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTim Lytle

This is a wonderful new chapter for NTS. Many congratulations and blessings to all of you!

01.17.2014 | Unregistered CommenterTim Lytle

Congratulations, Carla! Blessings in the name of the Lord, to you, your husband, your Seminary colleagues, and current and future students!


01.24.2014 | Unregistered CommenterReg Finger

Carla, all your many hours of hard work in studying, research, traveling has all been worth it! God had this planned for you from the very beginning! Praise God you followed His leading. He has only just begun using you for His higher purposes! Congratulations to you and Chuck.

02.14.2014 | Unregistered CommenterRev. Terry Rose
Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.