michael christensen

Director of Shalom Initiative
for Prophetic Leadership and Community Development
Drew University


Brief Bio

Michael J. Christensen (M.A., Yale, Ph.D., Drew), is the Director the Shalom Initiative for Prophetic Leadership and Community Development at Drew University; and International Director of Communities of Shalom for The United Methodist Church.  

Trained, equipped and promoted by Drew Theological School, Communities of Shalom is a global network of over 100 “shalom zones” engaged in social justice, community organizing, and community development.

As Affiliate Professor of Spirituality in the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew, Dr. Christensen he teaches spirituality and religious studies.  From 1995-2007, he was Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Drew in which he oversaw six doctoral program concentrations, including the “Global/Online Ministerial Leadership Development,” “Congregational Growth and Development,” and “Pastoral Care and Counseling.”  

His Ph.D. dissertation is on “Apocalyptic Interpretations of the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster” and continues to teach a course on Apocalyptic Eschatology.  The author of nine books and many articles on practical theology, spirituality and social justice, the Reverend Dr. Christensen is an ordained United Methodist minister in the California-Nevada Annual Conference.

He was “graduated with distinction” from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, with a B.A. in Literature with a minor in Psychology.   He has an M.A. in Religion from Yale Divinity School and a Ph.D. in Theological and Religious Studies from Drew University.  Currently, his research and writing interests include:  apocalyptic eschatology, comparative spirituality, practical theology, and community development.

As a public policy activist for the children of Chernobyl since 1990, Dr. Christensen served as Senior Consultant and Program Manager of the psychosocial component of the Chernobyl Childhood Illness Program--a 4-million dollar USAID cooperative agreement to support medical treatment and mental health training in Ukraine.  As a certified field traumatologist and trainer, his has trained several hundred community mental health workers, organizational volunteers, and indigenous leaders in Belarus, Ukraine, Macedonia, and New York City (After 9/11).  As a community development consultant-trainer, he continues to train and equip community –based coalitions in the USA, Haiti, Malawi, Uganda and other strategic locations through Communities of Shalom.

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