Rebecca Laird, M.Div., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Theology

Dr. Rebecca Laird teaches Christian formation and pastoral ministry courses. She had a first career in publishing while she was actively involved in urban church planting in San Francisco. An ordained minister, she has served churches in New Jersey and California and led more than 40 spiritual retreats. She has written or co-written seven books including Ordained Women in the Church of the Nazarene: The First Generation and four books on the writings of Henri Nouwen: Spiritual Formation, Spiritual Direction, Discernment, and The Heart of Henri Nouwen. She has traveled the world working on relief and development projects from Belarus to Uganda. She grew up in Idaho and is married to Michael Christensen (77). Together they have two adult daughters, Rachel (12) and Megan (15). All four of their family members are proud alumni of Point Loma Nazarene University. Rebecca and Michael were jointly given the Distinguished Achievement alumni of PLNU award in 2008 for their years of ministry service.

Education

  • D.Min., Spirituality, Worship & Preaching, Drew University 
  • M.A., Religion, Pacific School of Religion 
  • B.A., Literature/Speech Communications, Point Loma College 

Courses Taught

  • Christian Formation and Ministry – CMI 155
  • Christian Care of the Soul – CMI 325
  • The Christian Gathering--Scripture, Baptism and Eucharist – CMI 400 
  • Internship – CMI 400 
  • Leading in Ministry – CMI 410 
  • Christian Formation – CMI 612
  • Life of Holiness – THE 306 

Experience in Field

  • Director of Pastoral Formation, Drew Theological School 
  • Pastor for Spiritual Development, Central Presbyterian Church 
  • Editor, Sacred Journey: The Journal of Fellowship in Prayer
  • Program Specialist, Vision to Reality, World Vision U.S. Programs 
  • Religious Books Editor, Harper Collins Publishers
  • Director of Discipleship Ministries, Golden Gate Community Church of the Nazarene 

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Elder, Church of the Nazarene, Southern California District 
  • Member, San Diego Spiritual Directors Association 
  • Member, Spiritual Directors International 
  • Member, Wesleyan Theological Society 
  • Wish Granter and Speaker's Bureau, Make-a-Wish of San Diego 

Awards and Honors

  • PLNU Distinguished Achievement Alumni Award and Alumni of the Year Award
  • Jarvie Sermon Competition Award 
  • Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern Univeristy, Certificate in Religion and Spirituality Journalism 
  • Stoody-West Scholarship in Religious Journalism 

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • DMin. Dissertation: Sacred Space, Sacred Stories.  Drew University  
  • Spiritual Formation:  The Movements of the Spirit. Co-written with Michael Christensen and Henri Nouwen, Harper, 2010.
  • Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith. Co-written with Michael Christensen and Henri Nouwen.  Harper, 2008.
  • Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life. Co-written with Michael Christensen and Henri Nouwen, Harper, 2013. 
  • “Mary Bosanquet Fletcher’s Communal Catechism”, presented as a work in progress at the Summer Wesley Scholars Seminar, Asbury Seminary, Lexington, KY, June 20, 2015
  • “What Shall We Tell the Children about the ‘Great’ and Not-So Great Atonement? Susanna Annesley Wesley and Rita Nakashima Brock in Conversation,” Wesleyan Theological Society, March 7, 2014
  • “‘Dividing what Cannot Be Destroyed’: Susanna Wesley’s ‘Remarks’ on the Public Failures of Friendship Between Mr. Whitefield and Her Sons,” The International Tercentenary Conference on George Whitefield, Pembroke College in Oxford, June 26, 2014
  • “Rev. Dr. Olive Winchester: A Gentlewoman and a Scholar, A Biographical Look on the 100th Anniversary of her Ordination to the Ministry” Women in Ministry conference, University of Glasgow, May 12, 2012