Jeren L. Rowell was inaugurated as the 11th president of Nazarene Theological Seminary 3 April in an evening service held in the seminary's J. B. Chapman Memorial Chapel. A host of guests, including three former NTS presidents, ecclesial officers from the Church of the Nazarene's Global Ministry Center, and academic representatives from nine other colleges, universities, and theological schools, attended the inauguration.
In his inaugural address, 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," he said. "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."
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," said David Goodwin, NTS Student Leadership Team president. "Through his pastoral compassion, wisdom, and humility, countless clergy-disciples have been and will be shaped by his life."
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 shortly before his election as president in October 2017.
He is an alumnus of NTS and Trinity Evangelical Seminary. 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. Rowell has authored several books and numerous articles on pastoral theology and practice.
NTS Alumni Association President Steve Estep testified to the theological leadership and pastoral wisdom Rowell's ministry has exhibited.
"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," Estep said. "His theological, pastoral, and practical leadership will be of great value to NTS."
General Superintendent and former NTS President Carla Sunberg expressed her confidence in Rowell's leadership moving into the future.
"It has been my pleasure to work with Jeren Rowell for a number of years," Sunberg 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, 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 Jeren Rowell as president. Together with the seminary community, we have sought God's guidance and our prayers have been graciously answered."
David Downs, chair of the Board of Trustees at NTS, shared his appreciation for Rowell and his ministry.
"On behalf of the NTS Board of Trustees, I want to congratulate Dr. Rowell and thank him for his service to the church as a pastor, district superintendent, and now as seminary president," Downs said. "He is a man of great integrity."