Joel Mayward, PhD

Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, Theology and the Arts

Teaching and research interests

  • Theological aesthetics
  • Theology and philosophy in film
  • Christian ethics
  • Liberation theologies
  • Continental philosophical theology
Joel Mayward

Portland Seminary alumnus Joel Mayward joined the university in 2021 as an assistant professor of Christian ministries, theology and the arts. He arrived from the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts (ITIA) in the School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, where he earned a PhD in divinity (theology, philosophy and film studies) in 2021.

Joel's areas of academic expertise include theological aesthetics, theology and film, film-philosophy, Christian ethics, liberation theologies, and continental philosophical theology, as well as interests in Christian ministry leadership and the spiritual formation of youth and young adults.

He’s currently the theology editor for The Other Journal, an interdisciplinary journal produced by the Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, and for several years has been a professional freelance film critic as a member of the Online Film Critics Society and a “Tomatometer-approved critic” for Rotten Tomatoes. He also runs a film criticism website,

The author of three church ministry books, Joel has published articles in refereed academic journals such as Pro Ecclesia, Horizons, Theology, ARTS, Journal of Youth and Theology, Journal of Religion and Film, and Journal for Religion, Film and Media. While at St Andrews, he was a postgraduate tutor (2018-20), and he also served as chaplain and faculty at George Fox’s Theologia summer institute in 2017 and 2019, as well as an adjunct professor for Portland Seminary in 2019.

Previously, Joel served as director of high school ministry at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church in Lake Oswego (2015-17), pastor of youth and young adult ministries at North Langley Community Church in Langley, British Columbia (2012-14), and as a junior high and high school pastor at Red Mountain Community Church in Mesa, Arizona (2007-12).

Joel, his wife Katie, and their three children currently live in Newberg.

Academic Background

PhD, Theology, Philosophy and Film Studies, School of Divinity, University of St. Andrews, UK 
MA, Theological Studies, Portland Seminary
BS, Biblical Studies, Multnomah University