Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Church and Society
My passion for theological education arises from my ministry experiences in local churches and para-church organizations. The urban and global contexts of those ministries have shaped my interest in the interconnection 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. In my teaching, 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.
I love to be in the outdoors, exploring and discovering new places. This passion is shared by my spouse, Nell, and our two boys who demonstrate a strong curiosity for nature. While this passion often takes us to the mountains, we are pleased to have discovered quality mountain biking and trail running around KC.
Current Project: Practical Wisdom for Everyday Life: John Wesley’s Vision of Faithfulness in the Ordinary. Examines John Wesley’s perspective on “mundane” topics—time, work, food, conversation, diversions, money—and the import of his contextual theological and social concerns today.
Calling and Clarity: Discovering What God Wants for Your Life by Douglas Koskela, 2015. In Wesleyan Theological Journal, 2017, Volume 52, Number 2.
“What is the Church’s Mission?” co-authored with Nell Becker Sweeden. In Essential Beliefs: A Wesleyan Primer. Edited by Diane Leclerc and Mark Maddix. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 2016.
“Churches of Christ in Christian Union;” “Churches of God (Anderson, IN);” “Church of the Nazarene;” “Free Methodist Church;” “Holiness;” “Parachurch.” In Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, edited by George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.
Fieldwork in Theology: Exploring the Social Context of God’s Work in the World by Christian Scharen, 2015. In Christian Scholar’s Review, 2017, Volume 46, Number 2.
Covering Up Luther: How Barth’s Christology Challenged the Deus Absconditus that Haunts Modernity by Rustin E. Brian, 2013. In Studies in Christian Ethics, 2016, Volume 29, Number 2.
“Everyday Practice as Ecclesial Holiness: Intersections of Everyday Work, Sacrament, and Liturgy.” Wesleyan Theological Journal, Spring 2014, Volume 49, Number 1.
The Church and Work: The Ecclesiological Grounding of Good Work. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2014.
PhD, Boston University
MDiv, Nazarene Theological Seminary
BA, Point Loma Nazarene University
American Academy of Religion
Association of Practical Theology
Wesleyan Theological Society
Ecclesiology, Ethics, Practical Theology, Contemporary Theology, Wesleyan Theology, Theologies of Work and Vocation, Faith and Culture
Christian Witness in Contemporary Contexts
Church and Empire
Spiritual Formation: Service and Community
Elder, Church of the Nazarene
Local Church Involvement
Overland Park Church of the Nazarene