Inauguration of Dr. Rowell

Rev. Dr. Jeren L. Rowell was inaugurated as the eleventh president of Nazarene Theological Seminary on April 3 in an evening service held in the J.B. Chapman Memorial Chapel. The inauguration was attended by a host of esteemed guests including three former NTS presidents, ecclesial officers from the Global Ministry Center of the Church of the Nazarene, and academic representatives from nine other colleges, universities and theological schools.

Dr. David Busic, Dr. David Downs, Dr. Carla Sunberg and Dr. Ron Benefiel surround Dr. Rowell in prayer

In his inaugural address, Dr. Rowell spoke of his intention to nurture the relationship between the church and the academy: “I can promise the Church of the Nazarene that under my leadership, Nazarene Theological Seminary will always have the local church clearly in view. My vision for NTS is that what happens here every week will have a positive impact on what happens in the local church every week.”

Dr. Rowell has long been an advocate for students and young clergy, mentoring and investing in them throughout his ministry. “Jeren is a champion for developing ministers,” noted NTS Student Leadership Team president, Rev. David Goodwin. “Through his pastoral compassion, wisdom and humility, countless clergy-disciples have been and will be shaped by his life.”

Dr. Rowell previously served 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 served on the NTS board since 2005 and as chair from 2009 until his election as president in October 2017.

He is an alumnus of Nazarene Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Seminary. 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.

NTS Alumni Association president Dr. Steve Estep testified to the theological leadership and pastoral wisdom Dr. Rowell’s ministry has exhibited: “Dr. Jeren Rowell brings an uncompromising commitment to strong pastoral theology and a deeply ingrained passion to equip next generation leaders in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition. His theological, pastoral and practical leadership will be of great value to NTS.”

General Superintendent and former NTS president Dr. Carla Sunberg expressed her confidence in Dr. Rowell’s leadership moving into the future. “It has been my pleasure to work with Rev. Dr. Jeren Rowell for a number of years,” she said. “His relationship to NTS as board chair has equipped him well for this new task. Jeren’s love for the Lord and passion for pastoral ministry are reflected in all that he does and will bode well for NTS in the days ahead.”

In his charge to the president, Dr. David Busic, General Superintendent and former NTS president said, “The Global Church of the Nazarene celebrates the leadership of the Holy Spirit in the election of Rev. Dr. Jeren Rowell as president. Together with the seminary community, we have sought God’s guidance and our prayers have been graciously answered.”

Rev. Dr. Rowell and his wife, Starla, reside in the Kansas City area. A video of the inauguration can be watched here.

NTS is a graduate school of theology in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition located in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information on NTS and its flexible Masters programs, post-Master’s level studies, and ministry certificate programs, visit

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