Nell Becker Sweeden
Associate Professor of Christian Theology
I teach because I love to learn and walking alongside others in the learning process. I am continually challenged by new material and new perspectives from students in the classroom. My research and teaching lies at the intersection between theology and culture. Drawing from scholars of color as well as two-third world perspectives, I focus on how the life of the church and theological praxis take shape and are re-appropriated anew in different cultures, times, and spaces.
One of research passions explores social consciousness and activism among postdenominational Christians and how Wesleyan theology and Wesleyan-Holiness traditions can speak into this phenomenon through social responsibility and social holiness. Another project focuses on the complexities of race, class, and gender in Wesleyan-holiness historical identity narratives. I am working on a congregational resource for exploring hospitality and otherness.
I am an ordained elder in the Church of the Nazarene and currently serve as Director for Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Intl. I have had the privilege to teach in over ten countries, and I presently serve as Intercultural Studies section chair for the Wesleyan Theological Society. My husband Josh and I love exploring the outdoors with our two boys in our spare time.
Book: Church on the Way: Hospitality and Migration.Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2015.
“Holiness Mission: A Wesleyan Take on the Missional Church.” In Basic Beliefs: A Wesleyan Paradigm.Edited by Diane Leclerc and Mark Maddix. Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 2016.
“Wesleyanism After Religion: An Exercise in Christian Ethics Amidst the Social Conscious Turn of the Post-Christian Nones.” In Embracing the Past – Forging the Future. Edited by John Bechtold and Wm. Andrew Schwartz. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2015.
“Reaching the Least of These: Hospitality as the Heart of Wesleyan Identity.” In Pastoral Practices: A Wesleyan Paradigm. Edited by Diane Leclerc and Mark Maddix. Kansas City, MO: Nazarene Publishing House, 2013.
“Postdenominationals and Activism: Re-forming Denominations toward Spaces of Collaboration.” Wesleyan Theological Journal 50, no. 2. (Fall 2015): 209-220.
PhD, Boston University
MDiv, Nazarene Theological Seminary
BA, Point Loma Nazarene University
Wesleyan Theological Society
American Academy of Religion
Compassionate Ministries, Contemporary Theology, Contextual Theology, Ecclesiology, Liberation Theologies, Practical Theology, Social Justice, Two-Thirds World Theologies
Compassionate Ministries—The Church and Social Transformation
Women in Church History,
Theology in the Wesleyan Tradition,
Essentials of Christian Theology,
Church History and Theology II: Reformation and Its Ramifications,
Images of God,
Dynamics of Leadership and Ministry Organizations (DMin),
Spirituality and the Writing of the Mystics,
History of Spirituality and Renewal.
Elder, Church of the Nazarene
Local Church Involvement
Member – Overland Park Church of the Nazarene