Ron Benefiel, Ph.D.

Lead Consultant for Mission Resources & Pastoral Relations
Professor of Sociology & Theology, Point Loma Nazarene University

Dr. Benefiel is President Emeritus of Nazarene Theological Seminary, currently serving in several capacities at PLNU. With a passion for serving his community and success in founding and pastoring multi-congregational churches, Ron’s name is highly respected within the Church of the Nazarene.

Over the past 40 years, he has served the denomination on numerous councils and boards related to education, research, and youth ministry. His work in the community has included serving on the board of directors of the Kansas City Urban Youth Center and rescue missions in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Kansas City. He earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from USC.



Jamie Gates, Ph.D.

Professor of Sociology, Point Loma Nazarene University
Director, Center for Justice & Reconciliation
Co-Chair, Research and Data, San Diego Regional Human Trafficking & CSEC Advisory Council

Dr. Gates co-leads the National Institute of Justice research project “Measuring the Extent and Nature of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in the San Diego/Tijuana Border Region” and co-chairs the Research and Data Committee of the San Diego County Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and SCEC.

Additionally, Jamie mentors campus organizers against human trafficking and serves as faith-based organizer with the following national and local organizations: Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking, Churches Against Trafficking, Interfaith Center for Worker Justice, and the Wesleyan-Holiness Consortium Freedom Network. He is an ordained minister and lead consultant to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, USA/Canada on human trafficking.

Jamie is co-author of Living Justice: Revolutionary Compassion in a Broken World (2007) and co-author/editor of Nurturing the Prophetic Imagination (2012).

Dr. Rich Houseal

Senior Program Manager, Research Services
Nazarene Global Ministry Center

While most of his research and writing is about the Church of the Nazarene, Rich is also involved in several interfaith studies and organizations. He was a co-editor of the 2010 U.S. Religion Census and 2000 Religious Congregations and Membership studies. He serves on the executive committee of Faith Communities Today (an interfaith, congregational research group), and is a past president of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies

Dale E. Jones, Ph.D.

Director of Research Services
Church of the Nazarene Global Ministry Center

Dr. Jones has provided demographic studies for the Church of the Nazarene since joining its Global Ministry Center in 1977. In addition to his work for his own denomination, he has helped automate demographic reports for three other religious groups and has served as a consultant to several others.

His work on the U.S. Religion Census since the late 1980s has helped to give him a strong understanding of U.S. metropolitan areas, and he recently extended that work by compiling a list of urban centers globally.

Kevin Modesto, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Sociology & Social Work
Professor of Social Work
Point Loma Nazarene University

Dr. Modesto was founder and former Executive Director of Neighbor to Neighbor Ministries and founding pastor of an inner city church, in Raleigh, NC.

Previously, he served in leadership roles at the Bresee Institute and P.F. Bresee Foundation. He is an Ordained Elder in the Church of the Nazarene and earned a Ph.D. and MSW from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He holds additional degrees from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Eastern Nazarene College.