Dr. Charles Wesley Thurman Named Director of Black Studies

For Immediate Release: May 23, 2024

Nazarene Theological Seminary recently named Rev. Dr. Charles Wesley Thurman, Jr. the Director of Black Studies.

In this role, Dr. Thurman will oversee the multiple initiatives at NTS aimed at serving the Black church. In addition to continuing as Associate Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, Charles currently serves as the Lead Track Faculty member in NTS’s DMin in Black Leadership and Ministry. Further, he has developed a ‘fast-track’ within the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership, through which students can complete both the MATL and DMin in Black Leadership and Ministry in five years. The first DMin cohort in this track is entering their final year of study, and we look forward to celebrating their graduation in May 2025.

Along with these two academic programs, Dr. Thurman sponsors NTS’s Black student group, which meets regularly for prayer, fellowship, and plans school-wide events and advocacy efforts.  Together, these programs are already serving students from around the world and in different denominations, from multiple ethnicities and cultural contexts: African-American, Caribbean-American, international, immigrant, and Anglo-American students are learning together about the history, riches, and contextual challenges of the Black church tradition.

Dr. Sarah Coleson-Derck, Dean of Faculty, reflects, “Dr. Thurman has been a valued friend and colleague. His leadership and the development of this curricular focus have helped deepen and broaden our understanding of the Kingdom of God here at NTS. I am grateful to be able to name him as Director, so that as we lean into our future together, Dr. Thurman’s good work is further empowered!”

Dr. Levi Jones, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, highlighted, “Dr. Thurman has been a consistent and important voice in creating space in our learning environment for those the Church has too often ignored, oppressed, and marginalized. I am grateful for the work he has done to help create a more welcoming community where everyone has a seat at the table. The NTS community and the wider Church are richer because of his pioneering work.”

Dr. Thurman said, “It gives me great pleasure to serve with the students, staff, and faculty of Nazarene Theological Seminary. This opportunity will afford African-American students and others with greater spaces of belonging and theological exploration. I am grateful for the seminary leadership’s faith in me to lead in charting new territory in the field of Black Studies.”

Rev. Dr. Charles Wesley Thurman, Jr. graduated from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology.  He then earned the MDiv with Church Planting and Multiplication Certification (2016), and the DMin with a focus in Transformational Leadership (2020) from Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University. His dissertation focus was “An Analysis of the Methodist Class Meeting and Its Spiritual Effects on Black Millennials in the 21st Century.”

Dr. Thurman is an ordained elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. His first pastorate was completed at the Alive AME Zion Church in Noblesville, Indiana, where he planted and served for three years. He now serves as lead pastor of St. Matthew Ame Zion Church in Kansas City, MO, and has served there since January of 2018.

You can meet Dr. Thurman this summer at several recruiting and site visit events:

  • May 19-24, 2024: NTS Doctor of Ministry, Black Leadership and Ministry Site Visit in Atlanta, GA
  • May 28, 2024-June 2, 2024: Midwest Mega Conference- Ame Zion Church in Indianapolis, IN
  • June 24-28, 2024: AIM Conference- COGIC in St. Louis, MO
  • July 11-14, 2024: National Black Nazarene Conference in Atlanta, GA
  • July 24-28, 2024: General Conference- Ame Zion Church in Greensboro, NC

You can register for one of Dr. Thurman’s classes by emailing [email protected].  In 2024-2025, he will teach the following at Nazarene Theological Seminary:

  • THE510: Intro to Black Theology
  • THE610: African American Biblical Interpretation
  • DMN901: Understanding Racial Trauma in the Black Context*
  • DMN903: Transformational Practices for Addressing Racial Trauma*

*DMin courses can only be taken by someone enrolled full-time in the DMin program. To learn more about our programs in Black Leadership and Ministry, please visit https:www.nts.edu/black-leadership-and-ministry.

About Nazarene Theological Seminary
Located in Kansas City, Missouri, Nazarene Theological Seminary is a graduate school of theology rooted in the Wesleyan-holiness tradition. www.nts.edu

Note: Questions about this press release may be directed to [email protected].

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