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Nazarene Theological Seminary Elects Jeren Rowell As Its 11th President

The trustees of Nazarene Theological Seminary are delighted to announce the election of Dr. Jeren Rowell as the seminary’s 11th president.

Dr. Rowell is well-known for his gifted leadership and theological integrity. He is highly respected by NTS’ broad community, including the Board of General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene, NTS trustees, faculty, staff, students and the seminary’s global constituency. Dr. Rowell received approval by the trustees October 12, 2017. Dr. Rowell’s election comes three and a half months after NTS’ previous president, Dr. Carla D. Sunberg, was elected to the Board of General Superintendents.

Friday’s election follows a comprehensive search process that began in late July. Dr. David Downs, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and vice-chair of the NTS trustees, noted the trustees’ confidence in Dr. Rowell, especially “his understanding of the intricacies of graduate-level theological education. Throughout his ministry — as a pastor, an adjunct professor, the editor of Preacher’s Magazine, and as superintendent of the Kansas City District Church of the Nazarene — Dr. Rowell has demonstrated a strong passion for the theological education and practical/professional preparation of ministers in the Wesleyan/holiness tradition.”


“We are pleased with Dr. Rowell’s election as the new NTS president,” said Gustavo A. Crocker on behalf of the Board of General Superintendents. “It is obvious that the Lord has been preparing him for such a time as this. He has been an effective pastor and district superintendent, a gifted writer on both the theology and practice of pastoral ministry, and a committed member and chairman of NTS’ Board of Trustees. The Board of General Superintendents congratulates Nazarene Theological Seminary on the gift of this election.”

Upon accepting the position, Dr. Rowell acknowledged the challenges of the role, but noted that he has great joy and confidence in the future — not of his own power, but of God’s. “We have experienced the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit in this process,” he said. “By the grace of God, I’m ready.”

Dr. Josh Sweeden, dean of the NTS faculty, was appreciative of Dr. Rowell’s work with the seminary and looks forward to the future. “Dr. Rowell’s gifts as a pastor-scholar will be a gift to the NTS community,” he said. “As both president and a member of the faculty, Dr. Rowell will further strengthen our academic programs and learning community — academically, spiritually, and professionally. NTS is committed to being a community of Christian wisdom and practice that develops leaders to join in God’s unfolding work in the world. We are excited for the ways Dr. Rowell will lead us forward in response to God’s mission.”

Dr. Rowell served in churches in Nampa, Idaho, and Chicago, Illinois, before pastoring the Shawnee Church of the Nazarene in Kansas from 1991 to 2005 when he was elected Kansas City district superintendent. He has served on the NTS board since 2005, and as chair from 2009 until earlier this year. He attended Trinity Evangelical Seminary and NTS. Dr. Rowell earned a Bachelor of Arts from Northwest Nazarene University, a Master of Arts from Olivet Nazarene University, and a Doctor of Education from Olivet. He has served as an adjunct professor for both NTS and Olivet. Dr. Rowell has authored several books and numerous articles on pastoral theology and practice. He and his wife, Starla, reside in the Kansas City area. 

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