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.

 

Wm. Loyd AllenWilliam Loyd Allen

Sylvan Hills Professor of Baptist Heritage, Church History, and Spiritual Formation

Loyd is an ordained minister, Sunday School teacher, professor, retreat leader, spiritual director, and pilgrimage guide. He is a founding faculty member at McAfee. His interests have focused on the Baptist heritage, the history of spirituality, and faith development. His connections are ecumenical and interfaith, having taught spirituality for the Academy of Spiritual Formation for decades and served as visiting faculty to Muslim clergy in training at the Aligarh Muslim University in India. He teaches with humor and passion for his subjects, whether in the classroom, at retreat centers such as Ring Lake Ranch, or leading pilgrimages to Celtic sites in Ireland and Scotland as well as the Holy Land.

Example Topics:

  • Celtic Spirituality
  • Thomas Merton and the True Self
  • Spiritual Guides, Friends, and Directors
  • Baptist Heritage
  • Faith Stages
  • The Myers-Briggs Inventory (MBTI) and Spirituality
  • The Spirituality of Howard Thurman
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C. Greg DeLoachGreg DeLoach

Interim Dean

Greg is preacher, motivator, and organizational leader. With more than 30 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 Pilgrim’s Walk.

Example Topics:

  • Canonical Studies
  • Faith and Art
  • Wrestling with the Bible
  • Leadership Development
  • Retreats
  • Old Testament Wilderness Narratives
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Nancy L. deClaissé-WalfordNancy DeClaisse 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 responsibility 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
  • Series:
    • History of the Bible
    • Psalms
    • Wisdom Literature
    • Genesis 1-11
  • Sermons:
    • Psalm 108: Singing the Old Songs
    • Psalm 139: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
    • Genesis 2: It is Not Good for the Human to Be Alone
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David G. GarberDavid 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)
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David P. GusheeDavid Gushee

Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life

Dr. David P. Gushee (PhD, Union Theological Seminary, New York) is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University.

Dr. Gushee is the elected Past-President of both the American Academy of Religion and Society of Christian Ethics. He is author and/or editor of 25 books and over 150 book chapters, journal articles, and reviews. His most notable previous books include Righteous Gentiles of the HolocaustKingdom EthicsThe Sacredness of Human LifeChanging Our Mind, and Still Christian.

An award-winning teacher, Professor Gushee offers courses both to seminarians and college students at Mercer. Over a busy 25-year career, he has written hundreds of opinion pieces, lectured around the world, given interviews to scores of media outlets, and led several significant social-ethical activist efforts.

Dr. Gushee and his beloved wife Jeanie live in Atlanta, where they are surrounded by four generations of family members. He is a classic novel reader, world traveler, and tennis player, and awaits a call from his beloved Atlanta Braves to resume the baseball career he abandoned in college.

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Nikki Carroll HardemanNikki 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, binge 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!
  • Retreats
  • Embracing Vulnerability
  • I Love to Tell the Story
  • Prayer Retreats
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Denise McLain MasseyDenise Massey

Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling

Denise 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
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Karen Gwynn MasseyKaren 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, youth, and adults
  • Advent lectures on Christmas carols
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Robert N. Nash Jr.Robert Nash

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
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Angela ParkerAngela Parker

Assistant Professor of New Testament and Greek

An ordained Baptist minister, Angela desires the work that she does in the academy to inform the education and growth within ecclesial settings. As a Womanist New Testament scholar, Angela’s reads biblical texts while engaging the real lived experiences of marginalized people in ancient contexts with the real lived experiences of marginalized people in contemporary contexts. Bodies matter to Angela. In her forthcoming book entitled Bodies, Violence, & Emotions: A Womanist Study of the Gospel of Mark, Angela thinks through the issue of imperial violence and its effects on the bodies of Jesus, John the Baptizer, and the woman suffering in a flow of blood in Mark 5. Stemming from her work on Womanist thought and postcolonial theory, Angela also lectures and presents on Mary Magdalene in the Gospel of John and the issue of slavery in the Pauline epistles.

Example Topics:

  • Paul, Slavery, and 1619
  • Jesus in the Gospel of Mark
  • What does Postcolonial Thought Say to Contemporary Christianity?
  • Womanism and Biblical Interpretation
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Thomas B. SlaterThomas Slater

Professor Emeritus

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
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Graham B. Walker Jr.

John and Julia Zellars Professor of Theology and Philosophy

Graham loves to be engaged with anyone who asks questions about faith and the contemporary world.  For more than ten years he has directed the Ginn Lectures on Science and Faith at the McAfee School of Theology and he has worked with the Center For Theology and Natural Sciences (Berkley), the Ian Ramsey Centre at Oxford, and the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (AAAS). He will be happy to introduce a dialogue on where science and faith meet. Graham also leads churches and study groups to examine the way different Christian stories shape our lives.  He will lead your community to reflect on their “spiritual worlds” and discover the richness these diverse stories bring to your community of faith.  Currently, Graham is writing on the significance of the “Death of Christ for Today.”  The Passion stories are central to the four Gospels, what impact do they have on our interpretation of God’s activity in the world today?  “Politics and Theology” is a popular course that Graham teaches at the McAfee School of Theology. He will be happy to help your community navigate what often seems like troubled waters!

Example Topics:

  • Frontiers of Faith and Science
  • Our Five Spiritual Worlds
  • These Things We Believe
  • The Death of Christ (I can also do a sermon series on the “Seven Last Words”)
  • Apocalypse? It’s the End of the World as We Know it
  • Our Righteous Mind: Where Faith and Politics Meet

Reference Links:

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Chanequa Walker-Barnes

Associate Professor of Practical Theology

Chanequa Walker-Barnes is a womanist pastoral theologian, clinical psychologist, and ecumenical minister whose work focuses upon healing the legacies of racial and gender oppression. She is the author of I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation and Too Heavy a Yoke: Black Women and the Burden of Strength, as well as two dozen peer-reviewed journal articles in pastoral theology, clinical psychology, and child development. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and retreats for clergy, faith-based justice activists, and mental health professionals.

Example Topics:

  • The myth of the StrongBlackWoman
  • Mental health, stress, and coping among African Americans and other marginalized populations
  • Clergy and professional self-care
  • Racism and cultural trauma
  • Christian racial reconciliation
  • Multicultural congregations and race relations within Christian churches
  • Womanist theology
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Jeffrey G. WillettsJeffrey Willetts

Professor of the Philosophy of Religion

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