Rev. Nelson Cowan, Ph.D.

About Me

Rev. Nelson Cowan, Ph.D., is a United Methodist elder (pastor), worship leader, and liturgical theologian. He earned a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies from Boston University School of Theology in 2019, and currently serves as the director of the Center for Worship and the Arts at Samford University

Dr. Cowan teaches worship, church history, and preaching adjunctly for Candler School of Theology at Emory University (Course of Study Program), Drew University (M.Div students), and Wesley Theological Seminary (D.Min students). He carries six years of lead pastor experience and twelve years in worship ministry.

Available NOW from Abingdon Press: 

Worship Any Time or Place

This book equips the Methodist pastor, worship leader, or layperson to create meaningful worship moments for any group of people, any time, any place. It includes liturgies and prayers suitable for traditional settings such as worship services, funeral services, and administration of the sacraments. It includes words to use during hospital visits, retreats, church meetings, and other conventional settings. It provides words of blessing for departing members.

It also provides language for other spaces and places, like home blessings, blessings for foster care families, words for times of transition, liturgies for fresh expressions of the church, prayers before the beginning of work, language for protests and vigils, ritual moments for difficult conversations, and prayers for interreligious and ecumenical events. It offers words of lament to use after violent events and natural disasters. From pulpits to pews, from altar tables to dinner tables, from sanctuaries to streets, the Compact Guide can be used by all ministers—clergy and laity—to employ worshipful words as the Spirit leads.

Current Projects

The oikonomia of Song Reporting in Contemporary Worship Music (journal article)

Teaching Competencies

Christian Worship (ecumenically-oriented or United Methodist-specific), Liturgical Theology, Sacramental Theology, Preaching, The History of Christianity, United Methodist History, Doctrine, and Polity.

Research Interests

Liturgical Theology and Hermeneutics, Pentecostal-Evangelical-Charismatic Movements, Contemporary Congregational Song & Hymnology, Intersectional Theology

Curriculum Vitae

Updated September 2023

NCowan CV - September 2023.pdf