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He has been the senior pastor of Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University since 1983. Before coming to Andrews he served as a pastor in Oregon for ten years. He was the preacher for the Adventist satellite evangelistic series The NeXt Millennium Seminar in 1998. In 2004 he, along with former BBC News presenter Gillian Joseph presented a discussion-style series called Evidence: Through My Experience held at Newbold College, Berkshire. Later that same year he hosted another discussion series at Newbold College called Mind The Gap. He currently hosts the television program The Evidence Nelson serves as adjunct professor of homiletics at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.
Born in Tokyo, Japan, of missionary parents, Nelson converses in Japanese. He attended Far Eastern Academy in Singapore and graduated from Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee, where he received a bachelor's degree in 1973. He attended Andrews University where he received a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree in 1976 and a doctor of ministry degree in 1986 from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. His books include Outrageous Grace, Countdown to the Showdown and Built to Last. In 1994, the Pioneer Memorial Church hosted ABC Television's National Christmas Eve service. He is the speaker for a weekly radio and television program, New Perceptions. He is married to Karen Oswald Nelson, a registered nurse. They have a son Kirk, and a daughter Kristin. In 2010, Kirk graduated from Andrews with a BA in Communication.
Dr. Nelson was the speaker for the Adventist church's Net '98 evangelistic series. It was broadcast live October 9 to November 14, 1998, from Pioneer Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University. To date, it was the Adventist church's biggest global satellite campaign, broadcast in 38 languages and reached people in more than 100 countries at 7,600 sites, 2000 of which were in North America. He began preparing for the series nearly two years in advance. On opening night officials estimated that attendance around the world totalled 161,000 people. While Nelson preached upstairs in the main sanctuary of the church, downstairs in 38 cubicles, translators repeated his message in the various languages broadcast live around the world.
Adventists usually present last day events and the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation in their evangelistic campaigns. Nelson says he intentionally chose to shift the focus from the apocalyptic to the relational because so many people lead lives of broken relationships. He chose the theme "Finding a forever friendship with God."
- Pursuing the Passion of Jesus: How "Loving the Least" Helps You Fulfill God's Purpose for Your Life, Pacific Press, 2005
- The Eleventh Commandment: A Fresh Look at Loving Your Neighbor As Yourself, Pacific Press, 2001
- Outrageous Grace: Finding a Forever Friendship With God, Pacific Press, 1998
- Built to Last: Creation and Evolution : A Thoughtful Look at the Evidence That a Master Designer Created Our Planet, Pacific Press, 1998
- The Claim: Nine Radical Claims of Jesus That Can Revolutionize Your Life, Pacific Press, 1996
- "The Jesus Generation: Shaping Up for the Showdown," Hart Research Center, 1993
- "Countdown to the Showdown," Hart Research Center, 1992
- Pioneer Memorial Church
- The Evidence
- Zoominfo.com profile
- Articles by Nelson listed in the Seventh-day Adventist Periodical Index (SDAPI)
- Faith for Today, Executive Bios: Dwight Nelson
-  "Seventh-day Adventists holding seminar," The Oak Ridger, October 9, 1998.
- Watch Us, KTBN, The Evidence with: Dr. Dwight K. Nelson
- View List of Graduates by Name or by Term. Enter "Nelson".
- Jack Stenger. The NeXt Level. Columbia Union Visitor, December 1, 1998 pp. 16-20
- Columbia Union Visitor. December 15, 1998, p. 5-7
- Andy Nash. Net '98: Getting Relational. Review and Herald, April 2, 1998 pp. 8-13