About DTS

Tommy Nelson

Tommy NelsonIn his childhood Tommy Nelson never used an alarm clock—he was up with the sun every morning. He determined that by the time he was 50 he would always be able to run 10 miles and bench press 300 lbs.—and he can.

God has used this discipline for His glory.

He decided to play football with the University of North Texas, and later was offered a contract with the Cincinnati Reds—which he refused.

“I probably had less ability than most of the guys on our team, I just worked harder.”

Tommy started to disciple a younger Christian after his football career at UNT. Eventually they ran out of material to work through, so they started looking through common material together.

“I remember he and I jogging on a bridge over I-35, and I can tell you right where I was on that bridge when it hit me that I needed to be taught,” he said.

The minute he returned from jogging he drove from Denton to Dallas, and applied to Dallas Seminary.

As he worked on his undergraduate degree, he also learned from his involvement with Campus Crusade for Christ. Within Campus Crusade he met Theresa, his wife. She stood out as the leading servant in the ministry. They were friends for 5 months, went out on “one token date,” so people wouldn’t gossip, and then he proposed. Now they have 2 boys—one who plays for the St. Louis Cardinals, and the other who lives in Lewisville and works for a corporate gift provider.

Through Campus Crusade Tommy became passionate about discipleship and so he became a college pastor. Although he loved the position, the Lord soon led him out of that job, and he started his pastoral position at Denton Bible Church. He has been there for 23 years.

“I knew when I entered DTS that I would be a teacher, an evangelist, and a disciple-maker, but I didn’t ever see myself as a pastor. I know I enjoy teaching—I try to make complex things simple, but I still don’t know if I’m a pastor. What I do is I surround myself with guys who are good at it.”

Dr. John Hannah’s church history class at the Seminary changed Tommy’s life.

“Church history let me see the outworking of theology. The ultimate test of all theology is history, and history is the sowing and reaping of theology.”

During his 23 years at Denton Bible Church Tommy has started a men’s discipleship program and written books on the Song of Solomon, the “decree of God,” and Ecclesiastes.

He calls his men’s program “steroids for the committed guy.”

“My program started in 1990 with four guys living with me, and we just expanded from that, and now we take about 30 men a year. They do about 500 hours of study, plus evangelism and discipleship. About a third of them go on to Dallas Seminary.”