Dean Richard Hays announced today that Dr. Craig Dykstra will join Duke Divinity School’s faculty as research professor of practical theology and senior fellow at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dykstra earned his master of divinity degree from Princeton Seminary, where he also received a Ph.D., magna cum laude, in moral theology and Christian education. He served as Thomas W. Synnott Professor of Christian Education at Princeton Theological Seminary, editor of Theology Today, associate professor of Christian education at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and assistant minister of Westminster Church of Detroit.
Since 1989, Dykstra has served as senior vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment. In late January, he announced that he would retire from that position at the end of July. During the 23 years Dykstra has been at the Endowment, it has given more than $1.5 billion in grants for religious purposes. Under his leadership, the Endowment’s efforts have focused primarily on congregational renewal and fostering excellence in pastoral ministry across a wide range of denominations and theological traditions. To this end, it launched major initiatives to support programs for the theological exploration of vocation on church-related college campuses and to encourage a new generation of pastoral leaders for congregations and the larger church; to strengthen seminaries in their efforts to provide robust theological education for ministry; to mentor and support new pastors in their early years of ministry; to create peer communities of practice and mutual encouragement among ministers nationwide; to support excellent scholarship in a variety of theological disciplines and in the study of American religious life; and to support creative efforts in religion news reporting through various media.
“Craig Dyksta has played a significant leadership role in helping us all think more clearly about the role of Christian institutions,” said Hays. “His work has impacted theological education by focusing attention on the distinctive Christian practices that characterize healthy congregations. We are delighted that he will be joining us at Duke; he will offer outstanding contributions to our programs in practical theology.”
In Durham, Dykstra will conduct research, and he will write and teach about Christian institutions and their leadership requirements. He will teach and consult with current and future leaders of the institutions that provide resources and services for congregations. Dykstra’s efforts will strengthen the work with these institutions begun by the Divinity School in 2008, which includes non-degree courses for denominational executives, conferences on major issues facing Christian religious institutions, and the publication of the web magazine Faith & Leadership. His first day at Duke Divinity School will be August 1, 2012.