Brett was born and raised in Arizona. He completed an MDiv from Phoenix Seminary and a ThM from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. His academic interests include biblical theology and ethics. He and his wife of 17 years, Audra, have three boys. He enjoys coaching their football and baseball teams.
Tell us a little about your background.
I grew up the son of a high school baseball coach. So, most of my childhood was spent at a field of some kind whether it was my game, my brother’s or my father’s. We were a sports-centered family if you are measuring sheer time and energy. (We didn’t and still don’t watch very much sports.)
I played baseball and football through high school. In college at ASU, I experienced a bout of depression, which is something I still battle today. This caused me to think much more deeply about the meaning of life, where I found my significance and where my life was going. This crisis of faith became the catalyst for growth. A spiritual mentor of mine had me read through “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer with him. In it, I was confronted with the question of whether I knew God or whether I simply knew about God. This changed everything for me. I approached the Christian life in a completely different way from that moment forward.
Eventually, by the end of my undergraduate program, I began to discern a call to ministry. Once I graduated from ASU, I enrolled at Phoenix Seminary. During this time, I was married and eventually became the director of college ministry at Scottsdale Bible Church. Fast forward over a decade, I have now been married 17 years, have three boys, have ministered and taught in a variety of contexts, completed a ThM at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and have been on faculty here at GCU for 6 years. For the last year, I have been an oversight role as faculty manager.
What do you enjoy most about your ministry in the College of Theology?
I believe that most of those who get into teaching do so with the desire that you can see the light bulb turn on in others as it did for you. In other words, teachers generally seek to understand and enjoy helping others understand. So, the joy of teaching for me comes in the classroom when students are engaged in deep and meaningful dialogue wrestling with big questions. I love it when students come to my office or approach me after class with big questions. That being said, there are so many things going on at GCU and in the College of Theology, with the development and revisions of programs and courses. It is exciting and exhausting to be a part of that development, hopefully leaving a positive mark on the shape that it takes.
If you could offer a word of advice to theology students, what would you say?
Do not treat theology as an end in itself. To put that differently, theology is the process whereby you will, as Paul puts it, transform by the renewing of your mind. You will be tempted to be content with thinking true thoughts, but the telos of theology is to conform one’s life to the truth. So, think holistically. There should be congruence between your theology and your character.
Be engaged in ministry – to whatever degree it is possible for you – during your program of study. Work out your theology in the context of ministry. Don’t see your academic work and your life’s work as different spheres. Interestingly, Jesus invited his disciples to live with him, follow him and do work with him. His teaching was often an explanation of what he was doing and why. It will not do you, or the world, any good to be a great theologian but an awful human being.