Perkins Announces Rev. Dr. Elias Lopez as New Intern Program Associate Director


DALLAS (SMU) – Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University is pleased to announce that the Rev. Dr. Elias H. Lopez has joined the faculty and staff as Associate Director of the Intern Program.

Dr. Lopez, a Perkins alum, brings a strong background in pastoral care and theology to this position.

Since 2014, he has served as Director of Pastoral Care at Methodist Health System in Dallas, leading a team of 36 chaplains in providing spiritual support to the entire healthcare system. From 2012 to 2014, he was Manager of Pastoral Care and Bereavement at Always Better Care Hospice in Sherman, Texas. He also has 15 years of corporate experience in retail operations and logistics. 

Dr. Lopez has served as pastor of Iglesia De Dios Filadelfia in Grand Prairie, Texas, since 2012 and as a district director of Instituto Biblico Dallas since 2013. He will continue in both roles after joining Perkins.

Dr. Lopez is ordained in the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.), a Pentecostal denomination. At Perkins, he earned a Doctor of Ministry in 2018 and a Master of Divinity in 2010.  He also earned a Certificate in Biblical Studies from the Hispanic Institute of Ministry in Dallas in 2006.

The Perkins Intern Program is widely recognized as an exemplary program in preparing persons for effective Christian ministry.  Required as part of the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) and Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) degree programs, students participate in internships in a wide variety of ministry settings.

“My internship as an M. Div. student was a formative experience in my career as a pastor,” said Dr. Lopez. “Students engage in an outstanding program that maximizes learning opportunities within a hands-on ministerial experience, with opportunities to reflect on their experiences and with excellent guidance and support from the Intern Faculty, a mental health consultant, and their Mentor Pastors. I look forward to contributing to this important program as it prepares our future leaders.”

In his new position, Dr. Lopez joins Intern Program Director Dr. Charles L. Aaron, Jr., in serving students as well as the wider Perkins community.

“Elias has many years of experience as a pastor in the Pentecostal tradition,” said Dr. Aaron, who is also Associate Professor of Supervised Ministry. “He brings a wealth of experience in pastoral care, supervision of clinical pastoral education (CPE) students, church growth, and work in the Latinx community to the Intern Program. I am thrilled to welcome him back to Perkins.”

Dr. Lopez will begin on July 1, filling a position left open by Dr. Ángel J. Gallardo, who becomes Assistant Professor of Church History at Austin Seminary effective July 1.  He can be contacted at or 214-768-4092 and his office will be Kirby Hall 301.



Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry, and Doctor of Pastoral Music as well as the Ph.D., in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Scie