CHICAGO (January 30, 2012) – North Park University has named Daniel White Hodge director of its Center for Youth Ministry Studies (CYMS). He will assume his new role on February 15.
“His work and commitment to serve in the field of youth ministry studies will be a great asset in our vision to engage students, youth workers and pastors in the growth and development of youth throughout this country,” said Joseph Jones, university provost.
The 38-year-old Hodge brings 18 years of urban youth experience with organizations such as Young Life and World Vision. He also is a popular speaker and author.
“I believe this is a natural fit with the work I’ve been doing,” Hodge said in an interview. “I’ve always heard great things about North Park University. I’m excited because it really fulfills what I’ve been doing most of my life. I’m looking forward to making this a national center for resources and for people wanting to do youth ministry.”
The university’s emphasis on diversity and justice was a major factor in his decision to come to North Park. The university’s Christian environment and its urban emphasis because of its location in Chicago were other influential factors, Hodge said.
Hodge, who will also have teaching responsibilities at the university, hopes his work will enhance what students already care about, he said. “A lot of students are taking up social justice, and I’m excited to engage in those conversations. Students are willing to wrestle with how to put a theology around how we live godly and justly at the same time.”
Hodge is a native of Menard, Texas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral science from California State University-Monterey Bay, Seaside, plus a master’s degree in intercultural studies and a doctoral degree in philosophy of intercultural studies, both from Fuller Graduate Schools in Pasadena, California.
He has taught subjects such as urban youth culture, Black popular culture, Hip/Hop discourse, race, ethnicity, religion, and sociology at several colleges and universities including the University of California at Los Angeles, California State University-Northridge; Vanguard University of Southern California in Costa Mesa, Asuza Pacific University and Fuller Graduate Schools.
Hodge has lectured at other higher education institutions, such as Stanford University, the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and Union Theological Seminary in New York.
Hodge is fluent in English and Spanish and is an ordained pastor of the Evangelical Ministerial Association. He has written two books, Heaven Has a Ghetto: The Missiological Gospel & Theology of Tupac Amaru Shakur, published in 2009, and The Soul of Hip Hop: Rims, Timbs & a Cultural Theology, published in 2010. His third book, The Hostile Gospel: Finding Religion in the Post Soul Theology of Hip Hop is expected to be published this year.
Hodge also has worked in the music industry. In 1997, he produced a compilation album of West Coast Hip Hop recording artists, worked as a recording engineer, and wrote musical scores in the early 1990s for the first season of “New York Undercover” on Fox Television.
Hodge, his wife, Emily, and their five-year-old daughter, Mahalia Joy, currently live in Minneapolis.
The Center for Youth Ministry Studies serves Christian leaders dedicated to holistic ministry with adolescents. It provides resources and training through workshops, webinars and other resources; consulting services; and networking and connections through partnerships throughout the United States. The center is a partnership of the North Park University, North Park Theological Seminary, and the Department of Christian Formation of the Evangelical Covenant Church.