Josh Sweeden was unanimously approved by the Board of Trustees to be the new dean of the faculty at Nazarene Theological Seminary. Sweeden comes to NTS from George Fox Evangelical Seminary/George Fox University, where he has been assistant professor of theology and also served with his wife, Nell, as the Richard B. Parker Co-Chair in Wesleyan Theology.
Sweeden and his family will be moving to Kansas City in September. Nell was recently announced as the new director of Nazarene Compassionate Ministries. Josh will begin teaching at NTS in January 2017 as associate professor of church and society, and will fully assume the role of dean July 1, 2017, when Roger Hahn steps aside as dean of the faculty.
Sweeden is a graduate of the Boston University School of Theology (Doctor of Philosophy in practical theology, Concentration in Church and Society, 2012); Nazarene Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity, 2007); Point Loma Nazarene University (Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Christian ministries, 2003). Sweeden is an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene and has served in various ministerial capacities in local churches, Nazarene higher education, as well as through Global Mission and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.
“Dr. Sweeden brings a deep understanding of theological education and experience in curriculum development and educational systems to NTS," said Carla Sunberg, NTS president. "He is a dedicated churchman with a passion for connecting the academy with the life of the church. He has had a rich experience at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, where he chaired the Academic Committee and served as the faculty chair of seminary admissions review. He also played a key role in the seminary's self-study for the Association of Theological Schools and spearheaded the organization and design of an innovative and comprehensive program and curriculum revision. We look forward to having Dr. Sweeden here at NTS as we continue to partner with the church for mission.”
Sweeden shared his thoughts the challenges of seminary education.
“These are challenging times for many ATS schools," he said. "Over the last 10 years, NTS has demonstrated its resiliency and ability to innovate, embracing the dual posture of continuity and change. For the foreseeable future, the strength of ATS schools will depend, in part, on their nimbleness — their ability to adapt and respond to rapidly changing contexts in creative and innovative ways. But mere nimbleness is insufficient, especially in the long-term. Needed is the kind of strategic thinking that continually evaluates systems and structures for integrity and efficiency. These strategic skills are best coupled with a collaborative and discerning spirit. The pastoral qualities of humility, honesty, and patience are indelible to seminary administrative leadership. Ultimately, I am committed to seeing NTS flourish and excited about the opportunity to be part of building the future of NTS as it continues to serve the church in God’s mission.”