Wabash College President Patrick White has announced the appointment of Derek Nelson as the new director of the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program. Nelson, who is a member of the Wabash College Religion Department, succeeds the founding director and his appointment is effective January 1.
Founded in 2007 and funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program develops mid-career Indiana pastors by engaging them in substantive theological reflection on many complex social issues facing contemporary Christian congregations.
Nelson earned his bachelor’s degree from Wabash College, his Master of Divinity degree from Yale, and his Ph.D. in Systematic and Philosophical Theology from the Graduate Theological Union in 2006. He returned to teach religion at Wabash in 2012 after serving on the faculty of Thiel College for six years.
“This is a special opportunity for me,” Nelson said. “Raymond Williams, who founded this program, was my teacher when I was a student here. So it means a lot to me that he entrusts me to lead this program, which prepares pastors to be useful, engaged leaders in their communities.”
Nelson is an historical and systematic theologian with wide-ranging interests in the study of religion and theology. His first two books deal with the doctrine of sin and a third concerns the relationship of religion and narrative theory, particularly in the genre of theological autobiography. He teaches courses in medieval and Reformation Christianity, religion and film, religion and literature, theological ethics, and various topics in Christian theology. Nelson is an ordained Lutheran pastor, and is presently at work on an intellectual biography of the 16th century theologian Martin Luther.
While at Thiel, he guided the Religion Department and the wider community in developing international immersion learning opportunities to prepare people to engage the world.
Adapted from “Nelson, Manning to Lead Pastor Program”