Josh Sweeden

Josh Sweeden

Assistant Professor of Theology
Richard B. Parker Co-chair of Wesleyan Theology


I am deeply interested in the interconnections of church and context. In my research I seek to uncover how particular contexts shape and challenge ecclesial identity, and in turn nurture and inform Christian ethics and practice. Recently, I have been exploring the significance of the “ordinary” and “everyday” in Christian thought and practice, and am especially interested in how daily practices can be expressions of ecclesial life and witness. My recent book, The Church and Work: The Ecclesiological Grounding of Good Work (Eugene: Pickwick Publications, 2014) echoes these emphases through the exploration of everyday work and ecclesial ethics. Currently, I am working on a project that explores the significance of John Wesley’s ethical and social teachings in relation to ordinary practices and contemporary social and economic concerns.

I enjoy helping students discover the invariable relationship between Christian thought and practice. Spurred by my own practical theological concerns, critical reflection on praxis is my guiding pedagogical approach. In all my classes, I seek to foster an atmosphere of collaborative learning, where each student is encouraged to bring to the table her or his theological tradition, perspective, and life experience. Coupled with a diversity of theological voices and perspectives, I believe classrooms can become incubators of transformative proposals for Christian life and ministry.

Academic Background

Ph.D., Practical Theology (Concentration: Church and Society), Boston University School of Theology (2012); M.Div., Nazarene Theological Seminary (2007); B.A., Bible and Christian Ministries, Point Loma Nazarene University (2003)

Expertise and Research Interests

Primary Teaching Areas: Wesleyan Theology, Practical Theology, Ecclesiology, Church History
Research Interests: Contextual ecclesial movements, Theologies of work and vocation, Theological economics, Faith and culture, Church/congregational development

Research Bibliography and Select Presentations

Publications and Presentations

Course Information

MLDR 510 – Missional Ecclesiology
CHTH 546 – Contemporary Theological Trends
CHTH 550 - Christian Ethics
CHTH 560 – History of the Holiness and Pentecostal Movements
CHTH 566 – Theology in the Wesleyan Tradition
SFAD 585 - Spirituality and Work

Outside the Classroom

I love to be in the outdoors, exploring and discovering new places. I take every opportunity to backpack, ski, kayak, bike, etc. The deeper I can get into the backcountry, the better. This passion is shared by my family, Nell (also a professor at GFES), and our son, who inevitably is demonstrating a strong curiosity for nature. I also deeply enjoy working with my hands and have found construction, gardening, and yard work to be a suitable balance to my scholarly work. At times, in fact, I find Matthew Crawford’s statement that manual work is “more engaging intellectually” than knowledge work to be a fair assessment (Shop Class as SoulCraft, 5). Though I do not find “manual work” and “knowledge work” to be in any way opposed, on the contrary, I enjoy discovering how they are interdependent and complementary.


Wesleyan Theological Society
Practical Theology
Ekklesia Project
Colorado Trail

Follow @gfes