Dr. Jesse L. Nelson is a senior pastor in Panama City, FL and adjunct professor at The Baptist College of Florida and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a missionary and certified as a missions consultant for the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention.


Dr. Nelson graduated from Selma University (BA) and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv and DMin). He completed additional studies at Regent’s Park College of Oxford University. Dr. Nelson also studied leadership at Auburn University, African American history at Alabama State University, and interned for the National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture at Alabama State University.


Dr. Nelson is a spiritual son of Dr. Robert Smith Jr., author of award winning book Doctrine That Dances and Dr. John Henry Williams, Jr., author of Three Days Journey. Dr. Nelson reviews books for the Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society, writes articles for blackpast.org and Preaching Magazine, contributes sermons to sermoncentral.com, and blogs at jessenelson.org. Dr. Nelson has published several books: The Authenticity of Christianity, My Prayer Book, Spiritual Victory, and Count It All Joy. According to Dr. Robert Smith, Pastor Nelson is the first African American with a doctorate in preaching to publish a book focused on expository preaching in the past ten years. 

Dr. Nelson speaks locally and nationally. He presents papers at the Annual Scholars’ Conference of the Evangelical Homiletics Society. He delivers messages for black history, Christian education, college, leadership, marriage, men, missions, preaching, racial reconciliation, women, and youth events. He facilitates events for the Bay County Racial Reconciliation Project. He has led the opening prayer for the Alabama State House of Representatives and City Commission Meetings (Dothan, AL and Panama City, FL). He has spoken at the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education and National Day of Prayer for Bay County, Florida. Dr. Nelson has shared platforms with numerous prominent speakers and musicians: A. Louis Patterson, Jr., Fred Luter, Jr., Robert Smith Jr., Julius Scruggs, Marcus Davidson, James Earl Massey, David Nasser, Mac Powell of Third Day, and Paul Colman and Peter Furler of the Newsboys.


With more than twenty years of ministry experience, Dr. Nelson received two resolutions for effective pastoral ministry from the Alabama State House of Representatives. He received the Key to the City from the Panama City Commissioners, and he was awarded the Community Leadership Award by the Panama City chapter of Zeta Phi Beta.


Dr. Nelson is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society, Anchorage Children’s Home board of directors, Evangelical Homiletics Society board of directors, Advisory Committee for local aids awareness program, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, the Education and Government Committee for Bay County Chamber of Commerce, the National Baptist Convention, and the Southern Baptist Convention.


Dr. Nelson’s life mission is to equip Christians to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. He enjoys running, martial arts, golf, and going to the beach with his family. He is married to his high school sweetheart, the former Catesha Rogers of Montgomery, AL. They have two children, Jacey and Carey, and a dog, “Jumping Jack.”


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