David Jenkins

David O. Jenkins

Associate Professor Emeritus in the Practice of Practical Theology


PhD, Duke University, 1994
MDiv, Yale University, 1980
BA, Duke University, 1974


The Rev. Dr. David O. Jenkins taught at Candler from 2000-2018, integrating classroom theories with practical experience, training students for roles in community leadership, international development, non-profit management, immigration policy and racial reconciliation.

Jenkins’ academic and personal interest in immigration policy, liberation theology, base communities and Hispanic ministries stems from growing up on the border. His commitment to marginalized populations and international development inspired him to design Candler’s MDiv/Master in Social Work dual degree with the University of Georgia and the school’s dual MDiv/Master in Development Practices degree with Emory’s Laney Graduate School.

As the founding director of international initiatives, Jenkins expanded Candler’s international relationships with schools of theology from three to 22. As the director of Contextual Education I and Clinical Pastoral Education from 2005 to 2014, Jenkins oversaw the placement of first-year MDiv students in social service or clinical settings. He has also designed short-term missions and social justice ministries abroad, including “The Church on the Border” in 2014, which gave students firsthand experience with people and places affected by U.S. immigration policies.

Jenkins is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and has served as a pastor in Oriental, North Carolina, a Wesley Fellowship campus minister and president of L’Arche USA.

In 2005, Candler students named him “Faculty Person of the Year.”


Co-author and Co-editor,Equipping the Saints: Best Practices in Contextual Theological Education. Pilgrim Press, 2010

Hospitality: Risking Welcome (Living the Good Life Together). Abingdon Press, 2007

You Must Be Born: A Lenten Pilgrimage into Life. The United Methodist Publishing House, 1996


“Sanctifying Grace in the Integrating Work of Contextual Education.” Integrating Work in Theological Education, Wipf and Stock, March 09, 2017

“A Travel Seminar and the Unfamiliar Self.” Integrating Work in Theological Education, Wipf and Stock, March 09, 2017

“International and Cross-Cultural Courses: Changing the Context.” Contextualizing Theological EducationPilgrim Press, April 30, 2008

“Epiphany on Brokeback Mountain.” Catholic New Times, vol. 30, no. 4, March 01, 2006

“Caring at the Epicenter.” Candler Connection, Candler School of Theology, January 01, 2005

“Simple Lives, Rich Gifts Caring Communities.” Journal of Midwest Medical Ethics, January 01, 1990

Outstanding Faculty Person, Candler School of Theology, 2004-2005.

Recognized by Leadership Atlanta

Lowenstein Fellow in Public Leadership

Albright Fellow in Archeology, 1974, 1977, 1980.

Methods of Social Analysis for Congregations and Communities

Nonprofit Leadership and Management

Short-Term Missions and International Development

The Church and Community Development

The Church and Disabilities

The Church on the Border

Understanding Community