Dustin D. Benac, Th.D.
EducationThD, Duke University Divinity School
MDiv, Duke University Divinity School
BA, Theology, Whitworth University
Research InterestsPractical Theology
The Formation and Exercise of Imagination
Qualitative Approaches to Theological Research
Religious Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship
Philanthropy, Fundraising, and Local Economics
Ecclesiology in the Works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Christian Higher Education and Theological Education
Religion in the Pacific Northwest
Courses TaughtLeadership for Ministry
Leading in the Kingdom (D.Min. Seminar)
A Digital Rule of Life
Theology in the Contemporary Church
- "Adaptive Church: Building Collaboration and Community for a Changing World." Waco: Baylor University Press, forthcoming, 2022.
- "Philanthropic Imagination: The Space Between Crisis and Care," Insights (July 2021), co-authored with Erin Weber-Johnson.
- Crisis and Care: Meditations on Faith and Philanthropy. Co-editor with Erin Weber-Johnson. Eugene: Cascade, 2021.
- “Ecclesial Imagination for Organizational Transformation: Hospice Care, Midwifery, and the Ordering of a Common Life.” Co-authored with Erin Weber-Johnson. Practical Theology 12.2 (2019): 158-174.
- “A Bonhoefferian Approach to Social Analysis: Life Together as Communio, Relation, and Possibility.” The Bonhoeffer Legacy: An International Journal 5.2 (2019): 63-82.
- “Opposability: Unearthing Christianity’s Opposable Inner Logic and its Capacity to Form Leaders for Adaptive Leadership in Contemporary Society.” Journal of Religious Leadership 15.1 (Spring 2016): 101-32.
- “A Seat at the Table: Affective Formation and United Methodist Higher Education.” Christian Higher Education 14.3 (2015): 127-41.
- “How to Find Hope in an Ice Age.” Sympara (September 16, 2020).
- “Theological Education for a New Age.” The Presbyterian Outlook (September 25, 2018).
- “Marilynne Robinson’s Home and the Stories We Tell in Ordinary Time.” The Cresset 80.1 (Michaelmas 2016): 4-8.
- “It’s Always Better to Fish Together (and Other Leadership Lessons from the River).” Faith & Leadership (April 2017).
About Dr. Benac
Dr. Dustin Davis Benac joined Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary in fall 2020 as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow. He also serves as Co-Director of the Program for the Future Church with Dr. Angela Gorrell. Prior to coming to Baylor, he was a Postdoctoral Associate at Duke Divinity School, working with Kate Bowler and the Everything Happens Project. Dr. Benac works at the intersection of practical theology and organizational theory to understand and explore the organizational ecology that supports communities of faith during times of transition and uncertainty. He completed his Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) at Duke University Divinity School under Craig Dykstra.
Dr. Benac has studied and served communities of faith across the United States. As a Wesleyan Practical Theologian, he works within the Wesleyan tradition to discern the practices that can renew knowledge and vital piety. He recently completed an extended study of collaborative approaches to religious organization, education, and leadership in the Pacific Northwest, a region researchers describe as “the American religious future.” He served on the research team for the National Study of Congregations’ Economic Practices, which explored how congregations’ theological, cultural, and practical orientations toward money may relate to their finances and economic practices. He also supported a grant-funded pilot study, “Dis/Connection: Equipping Pastors for the Digital Church,” that examined the promise and limits of digital community in the wake of COVID-19.
Dr. Benac is passionate about coming alongside leaders and communities of faith as they discern their next step in ministry and witness. He regularly works with student and faith leaders to release new imagination about how they resource, organize, and sustain their vision for ministry and community. A regular writer for academic and popular audience, his co-edited volume, Crisis and Care: Meditations on Faith and Philanthropy, will appear in 2021. He is currently finalizing a book with Baylor University press that explores how people of faith adapt to uncertainty and shifting organizational environments.
Dr. Benac was raised in Central Texas and lives in Waco with his wife, Casey, and their two children.
* Curriculum Vitae