Nelson attended Salem School of the Bible in Brooklyn, NY for a year after graduating from high school. He then attended Cornell University and joined Covenant Love Community (then Love Inn) in 1977. A year after graduating from Cornell, he and Kathy were married in 1982. In 2004 he was ordained an elder of Covenant Love Community. Kathy and Nelson have 3 grown children. Vocationally, Nelson is the Chief Investment Officer of Cornell Pochily Investment Advisors and is a volunteer with the Freeville Fire Department.