Speak - Preach - Teach

The faculty and staff at Mercer's McAfee School of Theology is available to serve your congregation or organization through preaching, speaking, teaching, and retreat leading. Read below to discover the individual ways each one can support the ministry you are doing. The example topics are not exhaustive, but will give you an idea of the gifts and interests of each person. Click on a person's name in orange to read a fuller bio. Click the orange "Invite" link to communicate directly with the person whom you want to connect.

Edwina Cowgill's headshot
Edwina Cowgill

Administrative Secretary

Edwina is a counselor, teacher, speaker and author. She graduated from Logos University with a BA in Christian Counseling and has served as a counselor in the church setting since graduation. She is a Licensed Liturgical Minister and a Commissioned Minister for Congregational Care. Edwina has served in music ministry as a vocalist, keyboardist and choir director, taught numerous Sunday school classes and spoken at women’s meetings and special events. Her book, Abandoned into the Heart of God was published in 2017 under a pen name.   

Example Topics
The King is Enthralled with Your Beauty: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You
Journaling into the Presence of God
Laughing without Fear of the Future

Invite Mrs. Cowgill to speak at your church or organization.

Greg Deloach Head Shot
C. Greg DeLoach
Interim Dean

Greg is preacher, motivator, and organizational leader. With more than thirty years of experience leading local congregations, Greg now focuses his energy in working with the School of Theology to support students, staff and faculty. He loves discovering how ancient Biblical text can speak with a fresh voice to contemporary challenges. His most recent book, Wanderings: A Pilgrim’s Walk on This Good Earth, is a collection of short essays reflecting on faith, nature, and pilgrimage. Greg also keeps a blog called, The Prilgrim's Walk.

Example Topics
Canonical Studies                   Faith and Art
Wrestling with the Bible           Leadership Development
Retreats                                    Old Testament Wilderness Narratives

Invite Dean DeLoach to speak at your church or organization.

Nancy Declaisse-Walford
Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford
Carolyn Ward Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages and Director of the Masters of Theological Studies degree program at McAfee

Nancy is a professor, a preacher, and a linguist. One of her greatest joys is teaching students in the seminary classroom. This joy is matched only by the deep sense of responsiblity with which she approaches the task. She knows that seminary students are practitioners who are likely to use what she teaches as they prepare to lead a Bible study or preach a sermon. Because of this deep sense of responsibility, Nancy takes great care when she prepare lectures, designs discussions, or prepares to debrief a reading assignment, to consider how her students will use the course content in their various ministry settings.

Example Topics
The Book of Job                               Seder Meal

     History of the Bible                     Psalms
     Wisdom Literature                     Genesis 1-11
     Psalm 108: Singing the Old Songs
     Psalm 139: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
     Genesis 2: It is Not Good for the Human to Be Alone

Invite Dr. deClaissé-Walford to speak at your church or organization.

David Garber
David G. Garber

Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew

An ordained minister, Dave recognizes his scholarship as a service to the Church and its future leaders. His study revolves around making biblical interpretation relevant to the lives of individuals and their communities. Dave frequently teaches on biblical literature as a response to traumatic events and the biblical prophets and their messages for our world. Dave also has developed interests in how popular culture (movies, music, art, and literature) continues to turn to the Bible while also shaping how our culture views the sacred texts. Finally, Dave has discovered a passion for helping students discover their connection with creation by exploring biblical interpretation in nature and expressing themselves through various artistic media.  

Example Topics

Creation Theology, Spirituality, and the Arts (series or retreat)
Superheroes, Moses, and Jesus: The Bible and Popular Culture (series or retreat)
An Introduction to Prophetic Literature (series)
The Book of Ezekiel (series)
The Book of Jeremiah (series)
Prophets of Social Justice (series)

Invite Dr. Garber to speak at your church or organization.

Nikki Hardeman
Nikki Carroll Hardeman
Director of Outreach and Alumni Relations

Nikki wants to live in a world where people wait their turn, vulnerability is considered to be brave, and people cheer more than they criticize. She is a preacher, a Christian educator, a connector, and a collector of hobbies. She has served local congregations as minister to youth, young adults, and homebound seniors. She writes and films small group curriculum for Faithelement, and co-hosts a podcast called Glass Half Full. She has led retreats for women and for families and enjoys supply preaching. When she’s not pursuing her vocational goals through ministry, Nikki can be found chasing after her children, bing watching something on Netflix, or on the hunt for her next hobby. 

Example Topics
The Journey of Grief and Its Unexpected Gifts
The Invitation to Connection

Heffalumps and Woozles: Not Welcome Here!
     Embracing Vulnerability 

     I Love to Tell the Story
    Prayer Retreats

Invite Rev. Hardeman to speak at your church or organization.

Denise Massey
Denise McLain Massey

Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling

Denise Massey is a student and teacher of relationship skills, spirituality, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and self-management. In other words her ministry focus is loving God with all that we are and loving our neighbors while also loving ourselves. Denise is a pastoral educator with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education in which she supervises pastors and other ministers to become more effective in their care for their congregants. She is a life coach, helping people to become more effective in their activities and life choices. She is a spiritual director, guiding people to listen to God and to discern God’s presence with them and God’s love for them. Author of the forthcoming book, CARING: Six Steps to Effective Pastoral Conversations, Denise is available to speak, teach, preach, or lead retreats about topics related to this book or her next project, Emotional Intelligence for Followers of Christ.

Example Topics

The CARING process:  Guiding other people to solve their problems while listening to God (Suitable for groups of ministers, lay leaders, ministry teams, and church members who want to help others)
CARING for yourself:  Guiding yourself to solve your problems while listening to God.
A Spirituality of Connecting with God, yourself, and other people
Dreams as a way to listen to God, your own wisdom, and your life
Emotional Intelligence for Christians (Note: emotional intelligence includes self-awareness, self-management, awareness of other people, and helping other people)
Emotions as a Gift from God
What do Cain and Abel teach us about emotions?
Emotions Tell us that Something Needs Changing: Learning to Listen and Act with Love

Invite Dr. Denise Massey to speak at your church or organization.

Karen Massey's Headshot
Karen Gwynn Massey
Associate Dean for Masters Degree Programs and Associate Professor of Christian Education and Faith Development and Holder of Watkins Christian Foundation Chair

Karen Massey is a professor, administrator, preacher, and ordained Baptist minister.  Prior to joining the faculty at McAfee in 1998, Karen served as a minister in the local church.  Her years in ministry prepared her for her multi-layered job as Associate Dean, which includes teaching, administrating, counseling, leading, and fellowshipping with amazing students.   One of her greatest joys is traveling the “seminary journey” with students from the first day they enter to the day they graduate.  Karen says, “Watching how students grow, learn, mature, and change over the course of three years brings me such fulfillment and joy.  It is an honor to play a role in their transformation, and it is exciting to know that the Church will be in such good hands in the future.”  

Example Topics
Series of sermons for Lent                     Good Friday sermons on the seven last words of Christ.
Lectures on Women in the Bible            Lectures on forming faith in the lives of children
Advent lectures on Christmas carols

Invite Dr. Massey to speak at your church or organization.

Rob Nash
Rob N. Nash, Jr.
Associate Dean for the Doctor of Ministry program and Arnall-Mann-Thomasson Professor of Missions and World Religions

Rob is pastor, scholar, professor, and global mission expert. He has pastored congregations in Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia and has served on the faculty at Judson College in Alabama, Shorter University in Georgia and now serves on the faculty at Mercer’s McAfee School of Theology. He has also served as the Global Missions Coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.  

Example Topics
Moving the Equator: The Church and Mission Now 
Five Faiths We Need to Know Better: Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Chinese Traditions 
Diaspora Mission: The Global Church Comes to Us

Invite Dr. Nash to speak at your church or organization.

Karen Parey Headshot
Karen A. Parey
Admissions Counselor

Karen is a facilitator, lay counselor, teacher, and a marriage officiant. She graduated from Wake Forest University with a BA in Religion and Psychology and has served in many different ministry capacities since high school. She earned her Master of Divinity at Candler School of Theology with a certificate in Episcopal Studies. She is a proud lay person in the Episcopal Church and enjoys leading Sunday school classes in any subject. Karen has preached, taught Sunday school classes, trained lay chaplains, officiated weddings, and lead multiple prayer practices. She enjoys helping students and people in all stages of life discern what their vocation is and the necessary steps needed to get there.

Example Topics

Vocational Discernment
Scripture and Today

Prayer Practices
Mental Health and the Church

Invite Mrs. Parey to speak at your church or organization.

Tom Slater headshot
Thomas B. Slater
Professor of New Testament

Thomas is a minister and that comes through whether he is working in a seminary or serving in a local parish. As a teacher, he enjoys seeing his students make new discoveries and helping them to find their best selves as ministers of the gospel. As a pastor, he sees himself as a servant who puts the needs of his congregation first.  He loves the New Testament and he wants to bring that love to both his students and his parishioners.

Example Topics
The Sermon on the Mount                         The Church in Matthew
The Holy Spirit in Luke-Acts                       Problems in 1 Corinthians
The Church in Ephesians                            John's Apocalypse as Protest Literature

Invite Dr. Slater to speak at your church or organization.

Jeff Willetts Headshot
Jeffrey G. Willetts

Professor of the Philosophy of Religion

Rev. Dr. Jeffrey G. Willetts, PhD is the professor for the Philosophy of Religion and former Dean of Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology. From 1998 -2016, Dr. Willetts served as the founding Dean, Vice-President, and Professor of Divinity at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies, Arlington, VA. Dr. Willetts academic interests include the philosophy of religious language, philosophical theology, ethics, and philosophy and culture.  Dr. Willetts is also an experienced Baptist minister with more than 25 years of experience, as a church planter and senior pastor. Dr. Willetts earned his BA in Religion and Philosophy at Campbell University, his Master of Arts in Religion at Yale University Divinity School, and his PhD in Philosophy at Swansea University, Wales, UK. He is an avid sportsman and golfer.

Example Topics

The Future of Theological Education
Soren Kierkegaard and the Church
Postmodernism and Christianity
A Study of 1Corinthians and the Life of the Church
Introduction to Theological Studies

Invite Dr. Willetts to speak at your church or organization.